Used 2015 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid Review

Changes to the 2015 Volkswagen Touareg are subtle, but help keep this midsize crossover SUV competitive. The Touareg retains its satisfying performance and luxury in an unpretentious package.




what's new

For 2015, the entire Volkswagen Touareg lineup enjoys mild styling changes and gains xenon headlights and LED taillights. A new suite of standard and available driver-assistance safety features debut as well, including blind-spot and lane-keeping warnings and adaptive cruise control with forward-collision warning and brake intervention.

vehicle overview

Outside of the automotive industry, it's a little-known fact that the Volkswagen Touareg is the product of a joint venture with Audi and Porsche, so it has a more regal pedigree than just about anything else in this price range. In fact, it shares two of its three available powertrains with the highly regarded (and highly priced) Porsche Cayenne. In a way, you could view this midsize Touareg as a real bargain.

The Touareg seats only five, but does so in quiet and classy comfort. This year's exterior and interior freshening do improve the impression of luxury, while the utility it already had is enhanced with more standard features for 2015. The addition of a suite of available electronic safety systems brings the Touareg in line with others in this aspirational segment.

In terms of performance, the all-wheel-drive Touareg is amply powered by a standard and stout V6, an optional and very efficient diesel engine or a high-performance hybrid power plant that blends a supercharged V6 engine and an electric motor for a total of almost 400 horsepower; the latter two are identical to those found in the Porsche. The Touareg's responsive steering, supple ride and flawless high-speed composure make it a perfect companion for road trips.

If you're shopping for a crossover SUV in this price range, there are some great choices. If it's something family-friendly that you're after, the similarly priced but much roomier three-row 2015 Acura MDX would be a better way to go. The 2015 BMW X5 bests the Touareg in curb appeal and performance, though it is more expensive. On the opposite end of the price spectrum, we'd recommend the sharp-looking 2015 Ford Edge and the multitalented 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Still, if you're looking for equal parts performance and luxury in an unpretentious package, there aren't many midsize luxury SUVs that put it all together as well as the 2015 Volkswagen Touareg does.

trim levels & features

The 2015 Volkswagen Touareg is a midsize five-passenger luxury SUV offered in base Sport, Sport with Technology, Lux, Executive and Hybrid trim levels. All but the base Sport and Hybrid offer either a gasoline (VR6) or diesel (TDI) V6 engine.

The Sport starts with 18-inch wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, automatic wipers, foglights, roof rails, heated mirrors, a power liftgate, a manual tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats (with manual lumbar adjustment), heated front seats, leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and an eight-speaker sound system with 6.5-inch color touchscreen control, a six-CD changer, HD and satellite radio with iPod integration.

The Sport with Technology trim, which comes standard with the TDI engine, adds keyless entry and ignition, a navigation system with an 8-inch color touchscreen, blind-spot monitoring, a rearview camera, a trailer hitch and a hands-free power liftgate that you can open by waving your foot under the rear bumper.

The Lux starts with the Sport with Technology equipment and adds 19-inch wheels, front and rear parking sensors, a panoramic sunroof, power-folding exterior mirrors (auto-dimming on the driver's side), leather upholstery, wood trim, front-seat power lumbar adjustment, driver memory functions and power rear-seat releases in the cargo area.

The Executive has all of the Lux's features, and adds distinctive 20-inch wheels, a top-view parking display with four cameras, upgraded trim, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, rear sunshades and a premium 10-speaker Dynaudio sound system.

A Driver Assistance package is available on the Lux and Executive trims. This includes lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and front-collision warning with brake intervention.

Although the Hybrid is the most expensive Touareg, it downgrades to 19-inch wheels and the midlevel audio/navigation system (versus the Dynaudio setup). Otherwise, the Hybrid is equipped similarly to the Executive, and it also adds the Driver Assistance package, a power-adjustable steering column and passenger-seat memory settings.

performance & mpg

The 2015 Volkswagen Touareg's engine lineup starts with a 3.6-liter gasoline V6 that generates 280 hp and 265 pound-feet of torque. The TDI models boast a turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V6 rated at 240 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard either way. During Edmunds testing, a Touareg TDI ran from zero to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds, which is about the same as a gas-powered V6 midsize SUV and pretty quick for a diesel.

The Hybrid model has its own thing going on, and it's the most powerful Touareg you can get. Featuring a supercharged 3.0-liter gasoline V6 paired with an electric motor, the combination cranks out a whopping 380 hp and 428 lb-ft of torque. At the Edmunds test track, the Hybrid sprinted from zero to 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds, making it one of the quickest SUVs in its class regardless of powertrain. Also, in certain conditions at cruising speeds, the gasoline engine shuts off and the transmission disengages, allowing the Touareg to essentially coast. Finally, the Touareg Hybrid can cruise at speeds up to 31 mph on electric power alone. The eight-speed auto and all-wheel drive are also standard here, as is automatic engine stop-start to help save fuel at stoplights.

EPA fuel economy estimates for the base gasoline V6 version stand at 19 mpg combined (17 city/23 highway), while the TDI V6 rates a remarkable 23 mpg combined (20/29). The Hybrid splits the two, checking in at 21 mpg combined (20/24).

Regardless of powertrain and when properly equipped, the Touareg can tow up to 7,700 pounds, which is more than many competitors.

safety

The 2015 Volkswagen Touareg comes standard with traction and stability control, antilock disc brakes, hill hold assist, front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and post-collision automatic braking to ensure the vehicle remains in place.

Sport with Technology (and above trims) also comes with blind-spot monitoring and a rearview camera, while an upgraded top-view camera is standard on Executive and Hybrid models. On Lux and Executive, lane-keeping assist, frontal collision warning and frontal collision mitigation with automatic braking is optional, but they're standard on the Hybrid.

Note that VW's Car-Net telematics system is not offered on the 2015 Touareg.

In Edmunds brake testing, the Touareg Hybrid stopped from 60 mph in an impressive 121 feet, while a TDI, at 123 feet, nearly matched that effort.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the 2015 Touareg its top rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset impact test and the side-impact and roof-strength tests. The Touareg's seat and head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.

driving

There's a sense of substance and purpose in the way the 2015 Volkswagen Touareg goes down the road, but it's not so large that it ever feels unwieldy. In fact, thanks to its exceptionally responsive hydraulic-assisted steering (the Hybrid has electric-assisted power steering), the Touareg can be genuinely fun to drive, and it offers more road feel than some others in its class. It also excels on the highway, where low noise levels and exemplary stability at speed give it a cool, confident demeanor that's instantly likable.

Thanks to a permanent, mechanical center differential dictating front/rear power delivery and adaptive side-to-side torque distribution, the all-wheel-drive Touareg remains composed on loose off-road surfaces despite its lack of low-range gearing. With a respectable amount of ground clearance and a compliant suspension, it powers over washboard roads, and through light snow and light-duty trails without breaking a sweat.

The Touareg's regular V6 engine is smooth and powerful, and the eight-speed automatic transmission provides almost imperceptible upshifts along with responsive downshifts on demand. But the torque-rich TDI V6 is the one to get if you want both performance and fuel efficiency, not to mention superior driving range. From inside the quiet cabin, most people would never know there's a diesel engine powering the SUV, and it's just as quick as a typical gasoline engine.

The Hybrid, however, is the head-scratcher: Yes, it's quick, but it's well off the TDI's fuel efficiency, and its eye-watering price makes it a questionable value. If you think of the Hybrid as a performance-enhanced variant (rather than a fuel-saving one), then both of these aspects make perfect sense.

interior

The Touareg's interior lacks the glitz and glamour of traditional luxury-brand SUVs, but there's a strong vibe of quality and craftsmanship nonetheless. The materials are rich-feeling and pleasing to the eye, especially the new chrome and wood accents. The restyled knobs and buttons move with robust precision, and white LED ambient lighting bathes the cabin. Its handsome and highly legible gauge cluster is supplemented with a crisp graphic display that allows customization and illustration of the Driver Assistance package, if so equipped.

Although the Touareg doesn't have a fancy infotainment system with a fancy name, it does give you a standard touchscreen interface with a large screen and sharp graphics. Even better, it's easy to use. The Executive model's punchy Dynaudio sound system is one of our favorites; it's a shame you can't get it on lower trim levels.

The Touareg is strictly a two-row, five-passenger SUV, but its rear seat is quite versatile, offering reclining seatbacks and 6.3 inches of fore/aft seat travel. Rear-seat legroom is competitive for a midsize SUV, while the seat bottom is high enough to give rear passengers both solid thigh support and a nice view out.

Cargo capacity measures 32.1 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 64 cubic feet with the 60/40-split rear seatbacks stowed. The Hybrid model's battery pack is located in such a way that cargo capacity is unaffected, which isn't always the case with a hybrid.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.