If you're shopping for a five-seat luxury SUV, the 2017 Volkswagen Touareg might not be on your short list, but it should be. The Touareg offers a luxury-leaning cabin and a long list of features, plus it's capable and very enjoyable to drive, attributes we'd expect from a premium-brand SUV. That said, its price reflects its stature. Though less expensive than premium-branded SUVs, the Touareg costs more than most mainstream players.
The Touareg's interior reflects its "tweener" status. The cabin may not look quite as fancy as some luxury-branded SUVs, but the Touareg matches them for build quality and material choices. Its easy-to-use control layout is tastefully trimmed with wood and chrome. The infotainment system also is easy to use, though it's not as good as the more modern system found in other Volkswagens. It lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, for example, and it uses a proprietary phone plug instead of a regular USB port, which means you have to purchase connectors from the dealer. The Touareg offers a roomy reclining backseat, and while cargo volume trails the competition, the boxy roofline makes the most out of what space it has. The Touareg offers plenty of active safety features, including blind-spot and lane-departure warning and a collision detection system with automatic braking.
All Touaregs are powered by a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 280 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive are standard. The EPA estimates the Touareg's fuel economy at 19 mpg combined (17 city/23 highway), which is about average for this class of vehicle. The Edmunds-timed zero-to-60-mph run of 7.7 seconds is unremarkable; many of the Touareg's rivals offer optional engines that provide quicker acceleration. But the Touareg's towing capacity, which is 7,716 pounds when properly equipped, is significantly better than the competition. Though the engine can feel strained under hard acceleration, the transmission shifts smoothly and the chassis is great, with steering that gives plenty of road feel and a smooth-riding suspension that feels stable and secure in the turns. Though the Touareg's all-wheel-drive system lacks a low range, its sophisticated programming gives it plenty of grip on non-paved surfaces, making the Touareg a surprisingly capable off-roader.
The Touareg is available in three trim levels: Sport (which now includes last year's Technology Package as standard), Wolfsburg Edition (formerly known as Lux) and Executive. All come with features we've come to expect from luxury-themed SUVs. Which one is best for you? Edmunds can help you find the 2017 Volkswagen Touareg that's a perfect fit.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.