2012 Volkswagen Touareg Review

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Volkswagen Touareg model years
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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Confident driving dynamics
  • high-class interior
  • impressive equipment roster
  • powerful and fuel-efficient engine options
  • high towing capacity.
  • No third-row seat
  • spongy brake pedal feel
  • upper trims get costly.

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

Vehicle overview

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.

2012 Volkswagen Touareg models

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).

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2012 Highlights

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

Performance & mpg

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.

Safety

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.

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2012 Volkswagen Touareg.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

5 out of 5 stars
I like mine!
Scot61,10/08/2015
VR6 Sport 4dr SUV AWD w/Navigation (3.6L 6cyl 8A)
I own the Sport with Nav, and I think the car is great. Very good handling for an SUV, outstanding exterior and interior although there are some shiny, glaring surfaces in the cockpit. Entrance and exit can be challenging for tall people. Gas mileage was a pleasant surprise; I get about 2 mpg more than the EPA estimate. The Bluetooth can be confusing, but Nav is great. Overall, a very solid, great-handling, good looking and reasonably economical SUV to drive, with outstanding towing ability. 4/13/16 Update: I still like mine! I would add that it's best to have VW do oil changes; my local Jiffy Lube did not have the correct oil filter. Also, a word on towing: I have towed up to 5,200 pounds with the V6 with no problem. (My understanding is that towing capacity is 7,700 pounds with any of the offered engines.) Although I was generally able to manage 50-55 in the right lane up small mountains in New Hampshire with 5,200 pounds, I imagine you might be going closer to 40-45, or slower, anywhere near the 7,700 pound limit with the V6 up a steep grade. The Hybrid, and especially the diesel, would be much better choices for that kind of towing. 4/13/17 Update: Nothing new to add. No mechanical or other issues. My Touareg continues to perform well, and is the best car I have owned so far. i hope to buy another one in a few years, so I hope they continue to make them. If not, I will probably switch to the Audi version or take a look at the new Atlas.
5 out of 5 stars
Incredible value!
Tamas Kovacs,12/08/2015
TDI Sport 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 8A)
I bought this car new and put 92k miles in it in about 4 years with absolutely no issues. I have done all scheduled maintenance but nothing else. It still looks, feels and drives like a brand new car. Still on my first set of brakes, and absolutely no complains about anything. Though not cheap, the quality and design inside and out is of cars twice this cost. It is extremely comfortable, fast and fun to drive. Very quite and smooth even at high speeds. Incredibly good in snow and bad driving conditions. I have nothing but good to say about this and will more likely buy the same car when ready to part with this one.
4.88 out of 5 stars
2012 VW Touareg Sport w/ Navigation
bandit66,01/03/2012
VR6 Sport 4dr SUV AWD w/Navigation (3.6L 6cyl 8A)
I visited my dealer in early December to look at a 2011 left over. After driving a Midnight Blue 2012 I decided to trade-in my 2009 Tiguan for the 2012 Touareg. I have previously owned other "high line" vehicles from Acura, Lexus, and Infinity ... but none come close to the new Touareg - yes it IS a "high line" vehicle (and I bought the Sport version!). Build quality is amazing, design is amazing, materials are amazing, ride is amazing. This is one well built vehicle.
5 out of 5 stars
Safe in a crash
Lori,11/21/2017
VR6 Lux 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 8A)
This is a high quality vehicle. It is luxurious as well as being solidly built. It is fun to drive and very comfortable. I fell in love with this car shortly after I purchased it. I was in an accident yesterday, involving 4 other cars. I received 4 total impacts but walked away requiring only 2 bandaids. The safety features were amazing. The front airbag deployed, then the side curtain airbag. The vehicle automatically shut the engine off, activated the hazard lights, and cracked the windows for my ventilation. I am very thankful for the engineers at VW that designed this car to be so safe. I have owned the car over 4 years with only minor issues that the dealership has always repaired under warranty. I called the dealership to find me another Touareg. I am sold on this vehicle.

More about the 2012 Volkswagen Touareg

Used 2012 Volkswagen Touareg Overview

The Used 2012 Volkswagen Touareg is offered in the following submodels: Touareg SUV, Touareg Hybrid, Touareg Diesel. Available styles include TDI Lux 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 8A), VR6 Sport 4dr SUV AWD w/Navigation (3.6L 6cyl 8A), VR6 Lux 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 8A), TDI Sport 4dr SUV AWD w/Navigation (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 8A), VR6 Executive 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 8A), VR6 Sport 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 8A), TDI Executive 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 8A), TDI Sport 4dr SUV AWD w/Navigation, Prod. End 10/11 (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 8A), VR6 Sport 4dr SUV AWD w/Navigation, Prod. End 10/11 (3.6L 6cyl 8A), TDI Lux 4dr SUV AWD w/Prod. End 10/11 (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 8A), VR6 Lux 4dr SUV AWD w/Prod. End 10/11 (3.6L 6cyl 8A), Hybrid 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl S/C gas/electric hybrid 8A), VR6 Executive 4dr SUV AWD w/Prod. End 10/11 (3.6L 6cyl 8A), Hybrid 4dr SUV AWD w/Prod. End 10/11 (3.0L 6cyl S/C gas/electric hybrid 8A), TDI Sport 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 8A), and TDI Executive 4dr SUV AWD w/Prod. End 10/11 (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 8A). Pre-owned Volkswagen Touareg models are available with a 3.0 L-liter diesel engine or a 3.6 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 280 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2012 Volkswagen Touareg comes with all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 8-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2012 Volkswagen Touareg comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 10 yr./ 100000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2012 Volkswagen Touareg?

Price comparisons for Used 2012 Volkswagen Touareg trim styles:

  • The Used 2012 Volkswagen Touareg VR6 Lux is priced between $14,495 and$15,995 with odometer readings between 89540 and110891 miles.
  • The Used 2012 Volkswagen Touareg TDI Executive is priced between $19,000 and$19,000 with odometer readings between 86502 and86502 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2012 Volkswagen Touaregs are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2012 Volkswagen Touareg for sale near. There are currently 3 used and CPO 2012 Touaregs listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $14,495 and mileage as low as 86502 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2012 Volkswagen Touareg.

Can't find a used 2012 Volkswagen Touaregs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volkswagen Touareg for sale - 4 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $22,194.

Find a used Volkswagen for sale - 10 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $10,804.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen Touareg for sale - 1 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $8,042.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen for sale - 2 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $12,796.

Should I lease or buy a 2012 Volkswagen Touareg?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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