2012 Volkswagen Touareg SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Volkswagen Touareg SUV

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Volkswagen Touareg Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.0 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 8-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 380 hp @ 5500 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/24 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation Yes
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2012 Volkswagen Touareg

  • Delivering a surprising level of luxury, the 2012 Volkswagen Touareg is a serious competitor among more established high-end marques.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Confident driving dynamics; high-class interior; impressive equipment roster; powerful and fuel-efficient engine options; high towing capacity.

  • Cons

    No third-row seat; spongy brake pedal feel; upper trims get costly.

  • What's New for 2012

    After a redesign last year, the 2012 Volkswagen Touareg returns with only minor changes to trim level content.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

4 of 10 people found this review helpful

2011 touareg lux white/saddle brown

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Vehicle: 2011 Volkswagen Touareg

This is my first VW and I am somewhat satisfied, but feel like the car is constantly down shifting when you are driving at a slower speed. It kind of feels like when you down shift too quickly in a five speed. It kind of jerks when it does it. Not sure if its just an issue with the individual car or something I need to get use to. The other very annoying and disappointing feature is for a $49,000 suv, I am shocked that keyless entry and push button start are not a standard feature. Very disappointing to say the least. Otherwise, it's a beautiful, sleek, comfortable, sturdy and reliable suv.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

A best kept secret

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Vehicle: 2011 Volkswagen Touareg

I've had my 2011 T-Reg Lux for several months now and I am blown away by this vehicle. It meets all the expectations of a luxury SUV. I traded in my 2004 T-Reg V8 for the V6 and had some concerns with the power and some of the previous glitches, however this is one amazing SUV. Well worth the high 40's one pays in comparison. The Nav/Media system is smart and easy to use; The comforts are endless.The back seating is far better than most comps. For those that take it off road and on the beach it eases through the sand beautifully. (Always air down to about 20lbs) A simply knob turn to off road. So much easier than the 2004.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

Our first veedub

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Vehicle: 2011 Volkswagen Touareg

Our Touareg was our first VW, but not our first SUV. Previously we had a Ford Explorer and a Toyota Highlander. When looking for our new car, we looked and drove several, including the 4runner, Q5 and X5. The Touareg, hands-down trounced our previous suv's when it came to handling, performance and comfort. Our '06 Highlander drove like a minivan compared to the tight feel and zippy performance from the T-reg. When it came time to choose, the VW experience, and price/feature ratio won out over our other options. 4runner - too much like a truck, and the price point when compared to Audi/BMW was perfect. Overall, this vehicle is fun to drive and gets good mpg for its class.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Treg - 2 months review

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Vehicle: 2011 Volkswagen Touareg

vehicle is good. looked at x5, x3, q7, q5, cayenne, highlander, f150, explorer, mdx.... chose these because of the mix of very good quality, features, comfort at a relatively decent value (most vehicles we looked at were $50k+ with either less features, less quality, or both. too bad not all the european options are available on the models here. perhaps vw afraid its getting too close to q7 or cayenne. power is more than adequate brakes are superb avg mpg 21 with 50/50 hwy/city (not going over 70) turn ratio is phenomenal

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

6 months in, very happy

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Vehicle: 2011 Volkswagen Touareg

I got the Touareg for my wife however I drive it a good amount. We held off for a while on buying a SUV because we just couldn't seem to find the right fit. We're glad we waited because the Touareg is a great vehicle (looked at RX350, ML350, Q5). We do short trips and not a ton of mileage but are still averaging almost 18 mpg w/ the VR6. There's a good amount of room without being too large of a vehicle. The driving feel and quality of vehicle is great. There's enough power and it's a great looking SUV. VW did a great job - definitely recommend it.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

The best suv for your

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Vehicle: 2011 Volkswagen Touareg

I was a Lexus RX owner for the past 10 year. Drove 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008 & 2009 models and HATED them for as long as I had them all. I wanted a change.... When passing by VW dealer I saw this Beauty on the front lot I took if for a test drive that moment. It was Sport V6. It was OH MY... after just 5 minutes of driving I test drove MDX, RX350, X5, Mazda9 and 2011 Grand Cherokee. Non of these came close (money vs what you get) I picked up my Touareg Sport V6 for more then 6K off MSRP ($39200) on 12/22/10 For all folks on the market for 5 pass. SUV MAKE YOURSELF A HUGE FAVOR PLEASE CHECK IT OUT AND TAKE IT FOR A DRIVE!!!! THATS ALL :-))) Good Luck & All The BEST!!!!

Gas Mileage


  • 20
  • cty
  • 24
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Full 2012 Volkswagen Touareg Review

What's New for 2012

After a redesign last year, the 2012 Volkswagen Touareg returns with only minor changes to trim level content.


When you think of luxury brands, Volkswagen probably doesn't produce much of a blip on your radar. The 2012 Volkswagen Touareg, however, might change your mind. With a range of powerful engines, a driving feel that instills confidence and an interior that rivals those of its German brethren, the Touareg might just have you saying, "This is a Volkswagen?" Considering that the Touareg shares some of its underbody structure with the more upmarket Porsche Cayenne, perhaps its ability to fight above its weight class should come as no surprise.

Like other luxury SUVs, the 2012 Volkswagen Touareg provides a variety of choices for prospective buyers. Under the hood, you can choose between a plenty-capable gasoline V6 engine, a burly yet economical TDI diesel or a Hybrid model that delivers on its promise of V8-like performance with V6 fuel economy.

On the inside, even base-model VW Touaregs have cabins that are on par with those from established luxury makes like BMW and Lexus. There's an abundance of rich wood, metallic accents and high-quality materials; you'll also find lots of up-to-date electronics and entertainment features. However, there's no third-row seating, and cargo capacity is middling at best.

To the Touareg's credit, it holds its ground, despite competing with a very impressive group of rivals. Of course, if you must have a vehicle with a luxury badge, you'll probably want to check out the BMW X5 and the redesigned Mercedes-Benz M-Class. Both offer diesel engine options, just like the Touareg. On the hybrid front, the Lexus RX450h is a notable bargain when you consider the Touareg Hybrid's $60,000 price tag. Thankfully for anyone shopping this segment, there's really no loser in the bunch.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Volkswagen Touareg is a five-passenger midsize SUV that's available in four main trim levels: Sport, Lux, Executive and Hybrid. All but the Hybrid can be had with either gasoline V6 ("VR6") or turbodiesel ("TDI") V6 power.

The Sport comes well-equipped with 18-inch wheels, bi-xenon headlights, foglights, roof rails, a power liftgate, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power/heated front seats, leatherette upholstery, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker sound system with touchscreen control, a six-CD changer, satellite radio and iPod integration. Adding the optional navigation system also includes a rearview camera.

The Lux has all of the above equipment plus 19-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, heated sideview mirrors, walnut cabin accents, leather upholstery, 12-way power front seats (with power lumbar support for the driver), driver memory presets and power rear seat releases in the trunk. Moving up to the Executive adds 20-inch wheels, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, keyless ignition/entry and a Dynaudio premium sound system.

The Hybrid comes loaded with all the aforementioned along with a power-adjustable steering column, rear parking sensors, passenger-seat memory presets, passenger power lumbar seat support and metal door-sill plates.

Options are few and include a Towing package, carpeted floor mats and the Protection package (which consists of rubber floor mats, a rubber cargo area mat and mud guards).

Powertrains and Performance

An eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard on every 2012 Volkswagen Touareg. The VR6 versions have a 3.6-liter gasoline V6 that makes 280 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. The TDI versions feature a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 good for 225 hp and a prodigious 406 lb-ft of torque. The Hybrid features a supercharged, direct-injection 3.0-liter V6 gasoline engine paired with an electric motor. The two combine to generate an impressive 380 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque, enough to catapult this Touareg from a standstill to 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds, according to Edmunds testing.

EPA fuel economy estimates for the VR6 stand at 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined, while the TDI is rated at an impressive 19/28/22 mpg. The Hybrid, which is tuned more for performance than maximum economy, rates only slightly lower than the TDI at 20/24/21.

Properly equipped, the Touareg (any trim level) can tow 7,700 pounds, which is more than most competitors.


All 2012 Volkswagen Touaregs come standard with antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, hill-hold assist, front-seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags.

In recent Edmunds brake testing, the Touareg Hybrid came to a stop from 60 mph in an admirable 121 feet. In crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Touareg earned a top score of "Good" in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

While Volkswagen is rarely considered a player in the luxury market, the 2012 Touareg's interior transcends its badge to compare favorably to pricier SUVs. Most surfaces in the Touareg's interior are soft-touch, and the hard surfaces feel smooth and substantial. The navigation system boasts crisp graphics and an intuitive touchscreen interface. At higher trim levels the Touareg further impresses with the powerful Dynaudio stereo, upgraded styling cues and interior materials.

While some other midsize SUVs offer a third-row seat, the Touareg does not, limiting passenger capacity to only five. However, the second row is roomy enough, with a higher seat cushion than you'll find in the BMW X5. Cargo capacity is 32 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 71 cubic feet with them stowed.

Driving Impressions

Despite lacking a low-range transmission for off-road excursions, the 2012 Volkswagen Touareg provides a fair amount of trail prowess thanks to its minimal front/rear overhangs, decent ground clearance and compliant suspension. But even if you never venture off the beaten path, it is still quite satisfying to drive. Steering response is particularly sharp, though the effort level is perhaps too light for some tastes.

The VR6 engine is refined and adequately powerful, but the V6 TDI diesel is well worth the extra cash, providing superior torque and fuel economy. The Hybrid is impressively quick while returning good fuel economy, though its $60K price tag will likely scare some off. Regardless of engine choice, the eight-speed automatic transmission's shifts are barely noticeable. At highway speeds, the Touareg feels planted and confident, while cosseting its passengers in a cocoon of quiet luxury.

The Touareg's handling and ride dynamics are similarly refined, with a solid, composed feel in the corners and over the bumps. Though the brake pedal feels somewhat mushy with its long stroke, under hard braking, the brakes themselves are powerful enough.

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