The Volkswagen Touareg (pronounced Tour-regg) is a midsize SUV designed to provide rugged off-road ability as well as a refined everyday driving experience. At this mission it succeeds, as very few SUVs in the Touareg’s price range can match its go-anywhere ability or luxurious five-passenger interior.
Engineered to offer the same type of on-road driving dynamics that VW drivers have come to expect, the Touareg was co-developed with Porsche and shares the same basic architecture with the Cayenne. In 2007 there have been a host of engine upgrades that I’m sure will assist VW in improving its sales record.
The Touareg is now available in Australia in four engine types, the 2.5L five-cylinder, 3.0L V6 and 5L V10 diesels and the 3.6L FSI petrol engine. Prices start at a competitive $64,990, but bow out to a hefty $121,990 for the V10. Each engine is connected to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Getting to less treacherous destinations such as Woolworths, the dog park or a night out is made enjoyable by the Touareg’s smooth on-road ride and a luxurious interior that includes standard and optional features such as leather seats with memory, multi-zone climate control, navigation, premium audio entertainment and adaptive xenon headlights.
I have found that fuel economy continues to be a significant weakness. In VW’s effort to offer Range Rover levels of off-road ability and luxury at the same time, the Touareg is both heavier and thirstier than most of its segment competition, particularly the lighter-duty crossover SUVs. Only the diesel models are able to offer 10.9L/ 100km in real world driving.
With the third generation common rail direct injection 24 valve engine, you will simply not know you are driving a diesel-propelled vehicle. In fact, so petrol-like are the characteristics of this engine, you will need to pay careful attention not to put the wrong fuel in the tank in the first month or so of ownership.
Volkswagen Touareg combines luxury, sophistication and good road manners with impressive off-road capability. It’ll deliver you anywhere you desire in smooth, luxurious comfort. The engineering that has gone into it is impressive. The new V6 FSI Touareg gets more power than the previous, while the new V10 TDI brings a lot more power to the party but for a hefty premium. For any of its engine variants and with its size and weight, it is still a fun vehicle to drive.
Engines: 2.5L R5, 3.0L V6, 5.0L V10 diesel, 3.6L V6 FSI petrol
Transmission: six-speed automatic