By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 2/29/2012
If a buyer can move beyond this SUV's moniker (derived from the North African Tuareg tribe) he or she is 90 percent of the way there. Behind the 2012 Volkswagen Touareg's badging is one of the more compelling packages in today's 5-door, all-wheel-drive menu. With its rigid body structure, supple suspension, careful assembly and tasteful appointments, VW's Touareg provides an offering similar to that provided by Porsche's Cayenne, but in (perhaps) a 911 vs. 911 Turbo context. VW's package emphasizes competence and (relative) affordability, without diminishing quality or efficiency.You'll Like This Car If...
If an on-road dynamic is more important than off-road capability, today's Volkswagen Touareg is one of the better choices in the marketplace. A rigid structure and all-independent suspension provide the composure, while a trio of available drivetrains provides both fun and functionality.You May Not Like This Car If...
If, in selecting an SUV or crossover, your emphasis is on cubic volume or the ability to clear fallen timber, this isn't your cup of SUV. For you, there's a Jeep Grand Cherokee or 4WD Chevy Tahoe. The Touareg takes proper care of passengers and cargo, but not excessive care.What's New for 2012
When introduced to the U.S. for the 2004 model year, the VW Touareg aspired to be a do-everything SUV. In its newest iteration, the Touareg has shed 300+ pounds (which included dumping a lo-range transfer case) and is now tailored for on-road, all-season comfort and composure. Rarely will you find a better balance of virtues in something characterized as an SUV.Driving It Driving Impressions
With three responsive powertrains connected to Volkswagen's 4Motion all-wheel drive and 8-speed automatic transmissions, all variants of the 2012 Touareg provide a level of driving engagement rare in the SUV/crossover category. Given that the Touareg platform was developed in partnership with Audi and Porsche that shouldn't come as a surprise, but there's no evidence of dumbing down the Touareg to reflect its more modest window sticker. We enjoyed the light, more "flickable" feel of the standard 3.6-liter VR6. With the 3.6 as a baseline, the flexibility offered by the diesel, and the "rush" (there's no other descriptive) of the hybrid are truly addictive. All Touareg variants enjoy communicative steering, a supple (albeit controlled) ride and positive braking response. With the possible exception of Porsche's Cayenne we can't remember a more positive driving experience in a vehicle marketed under the SUV descriptive.Favorite Features
PANORAMIC POWER SUNROOF
North Africa's Tuareg tribesmen must enjoy expansive skies and vistas. Why else would Volkswagen equip their vehicular namesake with a "sky window" allowing roughly triple the amount of light found in more pedestrian sunroofs? The sunroof (standard on both Lux and Executive trims, as well as the Hybrid) provides driver and passengers with an almost fishbowl environment. The light show would be difficult to duplicate in any vehicle save (perhaps) Volkswagen's Deluxe Microbus or a Greyhound Scenicruiser.
10-YEAR/100,000 MILE POWERTRAIN WARRANTY
Volkswagen has considerable ground to make up in the area of quality, reliability and customer satisfaction. It appears – based on consumer-satisfaction surveys – the company is making significant headway in all three, and nothing injects more confidence into consideration than a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. As Volkswagen's literature puts it (in the large print), if "something goes wrong with the engine, the transmission or the 4Motion all-wheel drive system, VW has you covered."