- Powerful engines
- Good quality interior
- Impressive standard kit
- Not as classy as some rivals
- High levels of C02 emissions
- Poor resale values from new
VW’s luxury SUV is a good all-rounder
The Volkswagen Touareg was Volkswagen’s first foray into the luxury SUV market way back in 2002. Built to compete with cars from more luxurious manufacturers, such as the BMW X5, and Volvo XC90, the Touareg is a 4x4 that displays an off-road ability that few in the class can match. It may lack the finesse of a BMW, a Mercedes, or a Porsche, and it certainly lacks in brand prestige, but it’s still a very solid car. Whilst the Touareg isn’t the best value car from new because of this, high first-year depreciation means that it’s a bargain after a year or two.
Since it’s most recent update in 2011, the Touareg has an improved interior, and features a minor facelift.
Good quality, but not as polished as rivals
Volkswagen is a brand that is widely associated with high-class interior design. Whilst it is certainly the case for less expensive cars in the VW range, the high-purchase cost of the Touareg means that it isn’t quite as polished as a lot of its rivals. There is however a fair amount of space, and spec levels are impressive.
The standard of the cabin in the Touareg is very competitive, without being class-leading. Materials are soft-touch, and the chrome detailing is attractive, but it can’t match up to an Audi Q7 or a Mercedes M-Class when it comes to the fine details. The dash is well-designed however, and controls are well damped. It’s certainly not a poor cabin, but at this price level, you might hope for something a little bit more luxurious.
When it comes to space, there's no doubting that the Touareg delivers. The lack of a seven seat option is a little disappointing, but there’s plenty of room in the boot for just about everything you can think of. It also has a decent square shape, making awkward shaped cargo easier to lug in and out. It’ll easily take a full family's holiday luggage. There’s not as much room as in an X5, but most people aren’t going to be disappointed.
Equipment levels in the Touareg are a pleasant surprise. Even the entry-level SE trim comes with cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control, leather trim, Sat Nav, heated front seats, xenon headlights, a DAB radio, and 19” alloy wheels. It’s a lot of kit for the money, and there’s very little need to consider the options list whichever trim you go for.
The interior of the Touareg is solid if unspectacular. There’s high quality materials used throughout, but it lacks the finesse of some rivals. Space is in abundance, which is ideal for family buyers, and equipment levels are impressive. It really is a solid cabin, but people expect pizzazz in this price range.
Solid ride, but falls short in some areas
Like its interior, the Touareg is impressive in it’s on-the-road capability, but doesn’t quite match quite a few of its rivals. It does possess impressive off-road ability however, which could be a key factor for some buyers.
Suspension and Chassis
For such a big car, the Touareg handles surprisingly well. Some reviewers have compared the driving experience to that of a big Golf. That’s surely no bad thing, but handling isn’t as sharp as in a BMW X5. Steering is, however, accurate, and it performs well even on winding B roads. It also has excellent off-road capability, and is much more impressive than most cars in its class. For those who live off the beaten track, it’s a great advantage to have.
Refinement is also pretty solid in the Touareg. It handles motorways, and pothole ridden city streets with aplomb. There’s very little out there that troubles the Touareg’s excellent chassis and suspension set up. Road noise, however, is noticeably louder than in some rivals, especially at high speed, though it’s far from intrusive.
Transmission options in the Touareg comes in one guise only. The 8-speed automatic gearbox supplied throughout the range is pretty impressive, it’s smooth around town, and shifts easily through twisty country lanes, making day-to-day living a breeze.
V6 diesel engine has plenty of power
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your Touareg, you’ve got one option: diesel. Whilst this may disappoint some, it doesn’t make sense in a car this big to have a petrol-powered motor, fuel-efficiency would inevitably be incredibly poor.
There are two power options in the range, with the most powerful being the 258bhp 3.0 V6 TDI 262, which packs an incredible 428 lb/ft of torque. There’s tons of low-end power, which makes this engine perfect for towing, and off-roading. It’s also pretty rapid on the road as well, taking you from 0-62mph in just over seven seconds.
The Touareg isn’t a car for environmentalists. Whilst the engines on offer pack power, they also churn out a fair whack of C02 emissions. The most eco-friendly engine is the lower powered 3.0 V6 diesel, but this still produces 173g/km of C02. If it’s eco-credentials you’re looking for, the Touareg isn’t the car for you.
For those who want to save a bit of money, there’s also no stand-out option. That’s not because the engines are overly thirsty, it’s just that both have the same fuel efficiency. Both achieve up to 42.8mpg, which is pretty decent for such a big, powerful car. So you won’t be spending too much on fuel.
Both diesel engines in the range offer enough power and drive to get you through just about any situation. Neither however are environmentally friendly, so you’ll be paying a fair bit in road tax, but there’s decent fuel efficiency at least.
No NCAP results, decent standard kit
Unfortunately the latest Touareg hasn’t been put through safety tests at this moment in time, but it’s safe to assume from VW’s impeccable safety record, that if it were to, it’s quite likely it would score well. There’s also a fair amount of standard safety kit, that’ll put doubting minds to rest. All Touaregs come with six airbags, stability control, and an automatic post-collision braking system as standard.
On a par with rivals, insurance is a bit cheaper
The Volkswagen Touareg sits roughly around the same levels as its key rivals when it comes to running costs. Fuel efficiency is pretty decent, with both engines in the range providing healthy numbers. C02 emissions are quite high however, so road tax won’t be cheap.
You can maybe offset this with insurance costs, as the Touareg is a little cheaper than some competitors. The cheapest model in the range is the lower powered 3.0 V6 TDI SE, which finds itself in group 36, whilst the most expensive model to insure is the 3.0 V6 TDI BlueMotion Tech (262bhp) R Line, which is group 43. These groups are pretty reasonable when you compare it to rivals from more prestigious brands.
Depreciation is one area that particularly affects the Volkswagen Touareg. With excessive first year depreciation, you’re far better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Volkswagen Touareg is a fairly well rounded luxury SUV. It may lack the finesse of rivals from more premium marques, but there’s enough going on to make most buyers happy. There’s a good quality interior, good levels of standard kit, and powerful engines. It’s quite an expensive car to buy from new, but high levels of depreciation, there are some nearly-new bargains to be found on the market.
Buying a used Volkswagen Touareg Tourer online with Carspring
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*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st year depreciation cost of 40%.