By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 7.0
The Volkswagen Touareg for 2016 is either a bargain-priced luxury SUV or a really expensive midsize family- crossover SUV. Actually, it’s both, which is why it can be so difficult to classify the darn thing. Size-wise, the 2016 Touareg competes with less expensive 5-passenger crossover SUVs such as the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano. But, its luxury accommodations and sophisticated all-wheel-drive system place it in the same league as the Land Rover Discovery Sport, Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited and BMW X5. The Touareg features an impressive list of standard and available safety features, including recently added adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist. Regrettably, although you can still choose between a gasoline or diesel engine, last year’s powerful hybrid model has been dropped.
If you’re looking for a substantial midsize SUV that can deliver luxury, capability and power, the 2016 VW Touareg tops a very short list. Sure, its nearly $45,000 starting price puts it close to BMW and Lexus territory, but this is one VW worth the extra cost.
If you need seating for seven, ample cargo space or to tow more than 7,700 pounds, it sounds like a full-size Chevrolet Tahoe may be a better choice. The Jeep Grand Cherokee has a lower base price, but is equally adept in the areas of performance, comfort and off-road ability.
KBB Expert Ratings
Changes to the 2016 VW Touareg crossover SUV are limited to some added features. Lux and Executive models gain 14-way-power ventilated front seats, while the Executive gains as standard a power tilt wheel and the Driver Assist package. The hybrid model is dropped.
The 2016 Touareg from Volkswagen offers two different powertrain choices, each with its own pluses and minuses. The standard engine is the 3.6-liter VR6, a gasoline-powered workhorse whose narrow-angle cylinder...
... design first came to prominence in the GTI and Corrado coupes of the 1990s. While we find this powerplant smooth and efficient, it quickly feels underpowered when compared with the torque-happy TDI diesel. Although VW has temporarily halted sales of cars with the 2.0-liter diesel engine, as of yet sales of the 3.0-liter TDI in the Touareg do not seem affected. The Touareg’s Audi/Porsche roots serve it well, delivering a smooth and stable ride, excellent cornering and firm brakes. Regardless of engine, the Touareg uses an 8-speed automatic transmission connected to VW’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive (AWD) system. This combination delivers impressive grip in all conditions, but somewhat poor fuel-economy figures as VW does not offer a 2-wheel-drive option.
AREA VIEW MONITOR
If large SUVs have a common issue it is the lack of outward visibility below the window line. VW remedies this situation by strategically mounting four cameras outside the Touareg, projecting for the driver a 360-degree view onto a color view screen.
10-YEAR/100,000-MILE POWERTRAIN WARRANTY
In an effort to turn the tide on years of perceived VW reliability issues, the company now offers a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty on every 2016 VW Touareg, although the comprehensive bumper-to-bumper warranty still only covers three years/36,000 miles.
VW’s new Touareg offers up a tastefully appointed interior, with a clean and restrained design that's carefully assembled with excellent materials. While it lacks the intricate details of a luxury brand like Audi or BMW, it feels far higher-end than a typical family hauler. Sport models get V-Tex Leatherette, while Lux and Executive levels use real leather and wood trim. There are supportive seats in front, and the 60/40-folding rear bench seat slides fore-aft and reclines. Regardless of trim level, the 2016 Volkswagen Touareg is a pleasing mix of comfort, visibility and upscale appointments.
The subtle changes made to last year’s Volkswagen Touareg SUV carry over for 2016. A 4-bar grille surrounds a prominently placed VW badge, and the lower bumper houses large air intakes and small inset fog lights. The headlights feature standard xenon high and low beams, and adaptive lighting that points the headlights in the direction the car is turning. In the rear are LED taillights across the board, and chrome accents that run across the bumper and around the entire vehicle. The profile remains unmistakably Touareg though, and that's a good thing.
Every 2016 Volkswagen Touareg crossover SUV comes standard with VW's 4Motion AWD system with its adaptive front/rear torque distribution. Base models also come standard with features like dual-zone automatic climate control, 8-way-power and heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, Bluetooth with audio streaming, SiriusXM satellite radio and power outlets, including the same kind of 115-volt outlet you have in your house. So are six airbags, traction control, stability control, hill-descent assist and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
The standard engine is fine, but if you're looking for added efficiency plus more power, the 3.0-liter TDI diesel deserves your attention. Other options include a navigation system, an Area View monitor that gives a birds-eye view of the Touareg during parking maneuvers, and a hands-free power liftgate that works by waving your foot under the rear bumper when the key is in your pocket. The higher trim packages – Lux and Executive – include a panoramic sunroof, leather seating, 14-way-adjustable ventilated front seats with memory, 19-inch alloy wheels and wood interior accents. The Executive has a 620-watt 10-speaker Dynaudio sound system.
The standard engine in the 2016 VW Touareg is all Volkswagen: a 3.6-liter narrow-angle V6 engine known as the VR6. It offers up smooth operation and acceptable fuel economy, but its 280 horsepower provides only adequate thrust against the Touareg's 4,700 pounds. If you're looking for more grunt in your SUV, the TDI turbodiesel V6 puts out nearly as much horsepower and far more low-end torque, all while managing nearly 30 mpg on the highway. Regardless of engine, all Touaregs use an 8-speed automatic transmission and VW’s 4Motion full-time AWD.
280 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
266 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23 mpg
3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6
240 horsepower @ 3,400 rpm
406 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/29 mpg
The Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for a 2016 Volkswagen Touareg with the standard V6 starts at about $43,600 for the Sport model, including the $910 destination charge, and ranges all the way up to $60,700 for the Executive trim. Starting at $54,000, the TDI Sport w/Technology gets you more power and better fuel economy than the standard V6. A fully loaded TDI Executive tops out around $65,000. The Touareg is price competitive at the higher end of the mainstream spectrum against SUVs such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland, and is less costly than a BMW X5, Porsche Cayenne or Lexus GX. Whatever model you prefer, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid for the Touareg. Over time, the Touareg TDI should hold its own in resale value, while the V6 model is a bit below average.