Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good The second generation Volkswagen Touareg arrived Down Under in July 2011. Looking better than ever with more standard equipment, roomier interior, competitively priced and better fuel economy. The new Touareg offers up high levels of comfort, excellent quality and sports ‘like’ driving performance. At first glance it isn’t hard to see that the Touareg features Volkswagen's Design DNA, taking design cues from the successful Golf and Polo range. The Touareg is noticeably lower than before giving the appearance of a sleeker design, despite this the Touareg has actually grown in size yet shed almost 90 kg from its total mass.
Not so good We welcome the new look as it's much better than the bulky design of the previous generation. However, Volkswagen has played it safe by giving the Touareg a Conservative look.
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good We would go as far as to say that this is a class leading interior. The cabin looks fantastic, build quality is excellent and all the controls are logically laid out. As soon as you jump in you are greeted with a clearly laid-out instrument cluster the features all the key information - including the tachometer, speedometer, engine temperature and fuel gauge. These instruments have a layered three-dimensional look showing a real attention to detail and high quality. The driving position is commanding and comfortable thanks to wide yet supportive seats and the electrically adjustable steering wheel that adjusts for both rake (up and down) and reach (in and out) guarantees you'll find optimal position for you. The front seats are also heated and electrically adjustable on all grades; the leather upholstery fitted as standard (i.e. steering wheel, gear shift knob and hand brake lever) is typical Volkswagen quality. The second row bench seat is wide enough for three adults, and the split folding backrest folds down to increase the already decent sized boot.
Not so good While all controls are logically laid out they take a bit of getting use to. the technology isn't as intuitive as some.
Performance

Performance

Good There are three engines on offer with the Touareg. Kicking things off is the 150TDI featuring a 3.0-litre V6 Turbocharged Diesel TDI engine producing 150kW of power and 400Nm of torque. Next up is the V6TDI and V6TDI 4XMOTION both variants feature a 3.0-litre V6 Turbocharged Diesel TDI engine producing 180kW of power and 550Nm of torque. Rounding out the range is the V6FSI featuring a 3.6-litre V6 FSI petrol engine producing 206kW of power and 360Nm of torque. The 150TDI, V6TDI and V6FSI variants come with Volkswagen's 4MOTION permanent all-wheel drive while the V6TDI 4XMOTION features full time all wheel drive with adjustable off-road dynamics. The V6TDI is an awesome engine, it's responsive and powerful with plenty of torque and acceleration on tap. The exhaust note has a meaty growl to it similar to what you would hear from some V6 petrol engines. The diesel engine is also refined, sitting at idle you'll notice minimal to no vibration.
Not so good The petrol powered 3.6 FSI is a good engine, however as it has to move over 2 tonnes, you spend too much time working it hard – so no surprise that fuel economy is that great especially when compared to its diesel brothers.
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good Overall the Touareg handles quite well with a refined ride quality. All grades come standard with steel springs however there is the option of air suspension priced at $5,900, but we think the coil sprung suspension is comfortable enough. All Touareg’s are fitted with a permanent 4WD system. The transfer gearbox with low range off-road ratio = real off-road ability, the Touareg can handle off road rises and descents with amazing ease.
Not so good Lacks true driver involvement and can’t match a Porsche Cayenne, BMW X5 or X6 for handling prowess.
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good With the introduction of the entry-level 150TDI variant starting at $62,990 Volkswagen has made the Touareg more accessible to buyers. All Touareg variants tick the safety box with a full range of electronic safety aids, including a rollover sensor, nine airbags, comprising outer rear-seat passenger side protectors, front, side, and curtain airbags plus a driver’s knee-bag. In addition all Touaregs also come equipped as standard with leather upholstery, alloy wheels, dual-zone climate-control, air quality detection with automatic air recirculation, multi-function colour touch-screen display, Bluetooth, MP3/WMA, USB, auxiliary and SD-card inputs, steering-wheel audio and telephone controls, auto-dimming mirror, heated electrically adjusting and folding door mirrors with automatic kerb view when reversing, split-fold rear bench with recline function, centre arm-rest, auto wipers, front and rear parking sensors, auto headlights and front foglights.
Not so good The good thing about buying and owning a Volkswagen is the name and the badge that comes with it. Higher resales value and reliable cars that are jam packed with high levels of technology. The not so good is that you pay for this every time you go to get a service or parts break down.