As the popularity of SUVs grows, it seems that much of the original rugged off-road personality these models were known for has been bred out of the segment in favor of on-pavement comfort and drivability. Among luxury SUVs, that shift seems even more evident. The Volkswagen Touareg was one of the sport-utilities to cling to those off-road roots, but it's recently made the shift toward the everyday.
It's hard to argue with the results, though. The first-generation Touareg was a capable model known for its high-class interior, off-road ability and respectable towing capacity. But it was also heavy and earned subpar fuel economy. The new Touareg lacks off-road chops but is otherwise a superior vehicle that's more in line with what consumers want from their modern SUV.
Current Volkswagen Touareg
The 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 base engine is a 3.6-liter V6 that makes 280 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque, while the turbodiesel V6 TDI generates 225 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. The hybrid variant features a supercharged, direct-injection 3.0-liter V6 gasoline engine paired with an electric motor that combine to produce 380 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic and all-wheel drive are standard on all models.
Even the base Sport trim comes loaded with bi-xenon headlights, a power tailgate, a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated power front seats and a navigation system. Stepping up to the Lux trim gets you a panoramic sunroof and leather upholstery. The Executive adds a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, keyless ignition/entry and a premium sound system. These trim levels are available with either the gasoline or diesel engines. Opting for the Hybrid adds a power-adjustable steering column and additional front seat functions.
In our reviews, we've found that the Volkswagen Touareg is a well-designed crossover SUV that offers commendable driving dynamics. The Touareg's base V6 is a solid pick, but we've found the V6 TDI diesel more to our liking and well worth the sticker premium. On the other hand, the Hybrid model boasts the type of power and performance of a V8 engine, but its less-than-frugal fuel economy may fall short of some expectations. In essence, it consumes about as much as a V6 engine would. A major highlight for any Touareg is the cabin, which scores points for its upscale design and high-quality materials.
Read the most recent 2014 Volkswagen Touareg review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Volkswagen Touareg page.