Though likely overlooked by most SUV shoppers, the 2017 Volkswagen Touareg could be worth paying attention to if you're searching for a comfortable and well-trimmed crossover SUV with some luxury leanings. The Touareg has always been pretty well equipped, but this year's model goes even further as VW has added some previously optional features as standard. Every 2017 Touareg now has adaptive cruise control, a rearview camera, a trailer hitch and an 8-inch touchscreen, and that's on top of last year's already quite extensive feature roster.
Big-league towing capacity and a classy interior are part of the deal, too. Volkswagen says the Touareg can tow up to 7,716 pounds when properly equipped, which is considerably more than most rivals. Inside, the cabin design is pretty conservative, but it's assembled and finished in a way that's evocative of what you'll find in a luxury-branded model. The Touareg also impresses with its quiet and smooth ride on the highway and composed stability when you're going around turns. A sophisticated all-wheel-drive system and respectable off-road ability round out the Touareg's credentials.
The 2017 Volkswagen Touareg is pricier than the average crossover, though, and that puts it between two classes when you consider the competition. On the high end are models such as the Acura MDX, BMW X5 and Lexus RX 350. These luxury-branded vehicles are arguably more prestigious, though likely not as well-equipped with features as the Touareg for similar money. On the other end are mainstream crossovers such as the Ford Edge, Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Toyota 4Runner. These start out less expensive but have fully loaded versions with pricing similar to the Touareg's.
It's these top trim levels, such as the Ford Explorer Platinum and Grand Cherokee Summit, that you should pay the most attention to. They are just as well-equipped as the Touareg, and you can get them with more powerful or fuel-efficient engines, too. Overall, though, the 2017 Volkswagen Touareg is a crossover SUV that might have just the right amount of refinement to suit your taste.
Standard safety equipment on the 2017 Volkswagen Touareg includes antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags and post-collision automatic braking to ensure it remains in place after a crash. Other standard safety equipment includes a rearview camera, a forward collision warning system with automatic emergency braking, a blind-spot monitoring system and a lane departure warning system. A 360-degree camera is standard on the top-level Executive trim.
In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests, the Touareg earned the best possible rating of Good in the moderate-overlap front-impact and side-impact tests, as well as a Good rating in the roof strength and seat/head restraint (whiplash protection) tests.
In Edmunds performance testing, during a simulated panic stop from 60 mph, a Touareg stopped in just 114 feet, which is excellent for its class.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Volkswagen Touareg is a midsize, five-passenger SUV available in Sport w/Technology, Wolfsburg Edition and Executive trim levels.
The base Sport w/Technology comes standard with 18-inch wheels, automatic and adaptive bi-xenon headlights, foglights, LED running lights and taillights, automatic wipers, a hands-free power liftgate, heated mirrors, a trailer hitch, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, a blind-spot monitoring system, a forward collision warning system and automatic emergency braking, a lane departure warning system, keyless ignition and entry, and adaptive cruise control. Inside, you'll find dual-zone automatic climate control, heated eight-way power front seats, a heated tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, V-Tex premium vinyl upholstery, 60/40-split folding rear seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, an 8-inch touchscreen interface, a navigation system, and an eight-speaker sound system with HD and satellite radio, a CD player, and a proprietary digital media interface.
The Wolfsburg Edition trim includes adds 20-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats with additional adjustments, second-row air vents, leather upholstery and a power-folding rear seat.
The Executive trim adds 21-inch wheels, power-folding and driver-side auto-dimming mirrors, a power-adjustable steering wheel, driver-seat memory settings, heated rear seats, manual rear side sunshades, an overhead-view parking camera system and a 10-speaker Dynaudio sound system.
No major options or packages are additionally offered for the Touareg.
Every 2017 Volkswagen Touareg comes with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 280 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard. EPA-estimated fuel economy is19 mpg combined (17 city/23 highway), which is an average figure for this class of vehicle.
In Edmunds testing, a Touareg accelerated to 60 mph in an unremarkable 7.7 seconds. Most luxury crossovers or mainstream models with upgraded engines are quicker. VW says the Touareg can tow up to 7,716 pounds when properly equipped, however, which is exceptional for this type of vehicle.
The 2017 Volkswagen Touareg's V6 engine can feel strained during hard acceleration, and many rival crossovers are notably quicker. On the bright side, the eight-speed automatic transmission provides almost imperceptible upshifts along with responsive downshifts on demand. In general, the 2017 Volkswagen Touareg is pretty enjoyable to drive. It has responsive steering with plenty of road feel, and it stays stable and secure when you're going around turns. Luckily, none of this means it's uncomfortable on the highway. It's also quiet, smooth and confident over bumpy roads, all of which contribute to its luxury feel.
The Touareg is similarly competent off-road thanks to a sophisticated all-wheel-drive system. That system makes up for most of the capability gap with competitors that have traditional low-range gearing. With a respectable amount of ground clearance and a compliant suspension, the Touareg powers over washboard roads and light-duty trails without breaking a sweat.
The 2017 Volkswagen Touareg's interior stakes out territory between top-level ordinary and entry-level luxury. A few luxury SUVs might look fancier inside, but the Touareg has high-quality materials and excellent build quality that's bolstered by tasteful wood and chrome accents along with simple, easy-to-use interfaces.
Compared to what you'll find in other Volkswagens, the Touareg's infotainment system is a bit outdated, but it still functions well. You get a standard touchscreen interface with a large screen and sharp graphics. Even better, it's easy to use. The Executive model's high-powered Dynaudio sound system is one of our favorites. Unfortunately, all Touaregs have Volkswagen's older proprietary media player interface plug, which isn't nearly as versatile as a regular USB port. The Touareg also comes without the latest smartphone integration systems such as Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
The Touareg is strictly a two-row, five-passenger SUV, but its rear seat is roomy, with reclining seatbacks and a useful amount of sliding 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.
Behind the Tiguan's rear seats, there's 32.1 cubic feet of cargo space. Fold the second row flat and you get 64 cubic feet of space. Though that's a few feet fewer than many rival crossovers, the Volkswagen's relatively boxy roof line makes the most of it.
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.