Volkswagen’s Touareg is a midsize AWD crossover that is sized between the company’s slightly smaller VW Tiguan and larger Atlas that is new to the lineup and sports a third row seat.
Touareg exemplifies precise German build and quality, offering a host of safety and technology features all for one price.
Touareg has an overall length of 188.8 inches compared to the Tiguan at 185 and Atlas at 198. Even shorter is VW’s Golf Alltrack at 180 inches. All capable crossovers with a commendable full-time AWD system.
As for the Touareg, its 4Motion limited slip differential AWD system has a 60/40 torque split with 40 percent going to the front and 60 percent to the rear in Off-Road mode, selectable by a simple rotary dial on the console. With 7.9-inches of ground clearance (shy of some others like the Jeep Cherokee with 8.7), Touareg can handle modest snow depths and mild off roads.
Touareg is offered in trim levels of V6 Sport w/Technology that was tested, V6 Wolfburg, top shelf Executive V6 and recently debuted sporty R-Line. Each includes upgrades on technology and safety features.
Touareg lacks nothing in the latter department as it comes standard with keyless ignition, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, emergency braking, lane change assist, lane departure warning, front/rear park distance control, intelligent crash response system, tire pressure monitoring and more. Add to this an 8-inch touchscreen that serves the navigation, audio, rearview camera with bird’s eye view, Bluetooth and apps that includes a digital compass, altitude gauge and a gauge that shows the degree the front wheels are turned when off-roading. Despite all these, it lacks a true infotainment system found on many new vehicles today.
Step-in into the cabin is an easy 18.5 inches. Once in you’re treated to perforated, heated/cooled, leatherette with leather-edged front seats offering ample amounts of lateral support. HVAC controls are easy to use and the gauge set has a driver’s information display nestled between the speedo and tach. Get this. Even the glove box can be cooled.
The 60/40 rear seat offers gobs of leg and headroom with easy ingress/egress. The split seat also slides fore/aft 6.5 inches to either increase forward cargo space or rearward for added legroom.
Back in the cargo area, that has a low 29-inch load height, and with the rear seatbacks up, there’s 32 cubic feet of space. Inch-wise, it measures 38.5 inches deep, 45 wide and 31 high. Flip the seatbacks and cargo space increases to 64 cubic feet or 67 inches of loading depth.
Touareg Sport comes standard with a 3.6-liter, 280-hp V6 with 266 lb/ft of torque (the same engine in Porsche’s Cayenne SUV but with less power and torque). Coupling to the standard Tiptronic 8-speed automatic transmission, the combination gets EPA mileage estimates of 17 city, 23-highway mpg and carries an impressive 7,716-pound tow rating. Performance wise, the 3.6L exudes linear acceleration from a standing stop. The engine pushes hard when moving this heavy 4,696 pound 5-passenger crossover. It was, however, independently timed at 7.7 seconds for 0-60, and can be a bit quicker when switching to the Sport mode that also tightens things up for more zip.
Touareg rides smoothly and quietly on Continental 18-inch tires. It also maintains a planted posture when taking sharp turns taken in excess of the speed limit. It’s true Autobahn worthy.
Now here comes the bad news. Being loaded with most every desired safety feature and amenity, Touareg had no extra cost options as everything is embedded in the base price of $49,495. The bottom line slides to (ouch) $50,405 with delivery. In this crowded field of crossovers, some offering more interior space, Touareg is priced above many popular competitors. If it would come in around the high 30s or low 40s, Touareg could be more competitive.
To its credit, the vehicle received “Good” ratings in the governments’ overall safety rating. The company also increased their warranty periods with coverage extending to 3/36K limited powertrain warranty; 10/100K corrosion protection; and 12/120K 24-hour roadside assistance. A good move considering its sticker price. An alternative compromise would be our favorite, VWs Alltrack, a sporty, compact crossover.