2013 Volkswagen Touareg Consumer Review: Mixed Bag (II)

2013 Volkswagen Touareg - Consumer Review

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TDI Lux 4dr SUV (3.0L V6 Turbo Diesel AWD 8-speed Automatic)

6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Mixed Bag (II)
By cpmariner on


2013 Volkswagen Touareg TDI Lux 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Turbodiesel 8A)


Overall, this excellent car is very comfortable (plenty of room for a 6' 4" man), amazingly powerful, highly maneuverable, great fuel economy, and really fun to drive. My wife fell in love with it, and her Lexus 350 GS is rapidly gathering dust in the garage.

However, at 3,000 miles I'm beginning to worry about reliability. The first to go was the power seat memory -recently fixed. More serious, though, is an intermittent "roaring" noise from under the hood. To me, it seems to be the engine cooling fan running at 100% for no apparent reason. But the dealer's techies are sure that it's power steering-related and requires no "fix". Sounds like code for "we don't know" to me. We'll see.

(Later, after 10,000 miles)

Obviously, the thing most on my mind is the resolution of VW's emissions cheat. Apparently settlements are in progress for the 2.0 liter diesel models, but for the 3.0 liters - like mine - the jury's still out. I hate this, because the more I drive the car, the more I like it. But I fear that any "fix" VW might come up with will affect performance, mileage, or both. (If not to improve performance/mileage, why else would they have done it?) Likewise, I can't reasonably imagine that any cash compensation will really cover the loss of value, no matter what VW says. In any event, I'd hate to give up the car... unless a "fix" results in a poor performance, low mileage Panzer.

Otherwise, that roaring noise I previously reported turned out to be exactly what a commenter on my previous review pointed out: a normal and necessary filter cleaning apparatus. I'm just surprised that none of those "VW Certified" technicians at the dealership were ignorant of it.

Minor electronic glitches persist. The most annoying - although it sometimes makes me laugh when it happens - is that the automatic driver's seat retraction (the seat's supposed to move backward automatically when the engine is shut down and the driver's door opened, to allow for easier exit) sometimes gets "confused", and moves forward instead of backward. It's comical, really... like the car is annoyed with me and wants to crush me up against the steering wheel. (It's easily stopped by hitting #1 setting on the pre-set seat positions panel.)

I've also come to be less pleased with steering performance. It's not quite as stable as I'd originally thought, particularly during long, sweeping curves at medium speeds. I do have to "saw" the steering wheel a little bit during such curves to stay on track. Some have said that the Touareg is a "Cayenne in drag", and that's true in many respects. But I recently had occasion to drive a Cayenne, and the better steering performance was noticeable. However, I don't think an extra $5K to $10K for better steering through sweeping curves would be approved by my wallet. In city driving, the Touareg's steering is fine, with an especially tight steering radius for getting in and out of parking spots.

(All that said, my wife recently bought a 2016 Mercedes GLC but still "steals" my Touareg whenever she can :-)

So overall, I still enjoy the Touareg enormously and look forward to driving it. The highway gas mileage is "as advertised" (close to 30mpg, as measured) and it's a very, very comfortable vehicle for long distance driving, particularly if you're tall. Occasional back seat passengers often comment about the extra leg room as opposed to the competition. The passenger seat back goes down almost to a sleeping position (almost flat), and that's a bonus for shared long distance driving. All-around visibility is very good. Stability in windy conditions is very good. Pick-up is very, VERY good... particularly helpful for passing, highway entrance ramps, and for a short burst to escape those "awkward" high speed traffic situations created by the crazy zoomies we all know about.

If I were the "protestor" sort, I might put on a sandwich board saying "Please Don't Take My Touareg Away!" and march outside the EPA headquarters.

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Comments (2) Post a Comment
By minghi
on 02/24/14 17:44 PM (PST)

I'm surprised that no one else commented on the "roaring" sound and the dealers were clueless. It is 100% normal and it means your turbocharger is doing its thing aka "DPF regen". the wiki on the website myturbodiesel has lots of good info on this.

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By cpmariner
on 07/31/14 15:06 PM (PDT)

Thank you minghi! Now that you've given me the correct terminology, everyone suddenly "understands" that it is indeed normal for this vehicle. Many, many thanks!

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