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3/4 Front Glamour 2013 Volkswagen Touareg

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Expert's Rating

4.5Excellent

MPG 19 City / 26 Highway
Pros
  • High-quality interior
  • Many standard safety features
  • Good towing capacity
  • All trim levels come well-equipped
Cons
  • Just average fuel economy
  • No third row seat
The crossover luxury SUV is a curious beast. Being part luxury sedan, part sportscar and part family carrier, it's difficult to know how best to judge them and draw a worthwhile conclusion. Plainly no vehicle can be all three, and whereas a sporty DNA might appeal to one owner, the family-friendly capabilities may be preferable to another. Best way to assess any crossover luxury SUV is to methodically analyze its facets and not try to label it as any one kind of vehicle.

Introduction

Firstly the question of luxury. The Touareg is certainly a well-equipped and nicely appointed vehicle. From the base model – the Sport – to the flagship Executive model, each level of Touareg comes with a pleasing list of trim coming as standard. The interior is certainly built to a luxury level; a roomy cabin (both front and back) that’s nicely laid out, comfortable upright seating position, and a quality appearance and feel.

VW have worked hard on the Touareg’s sports-like credentials and it has to be said their toil has been successful. The original Touareg was labeled as unwieldy at best, agricultural at worst, however a diet and makeover gave the second generation Touareg a much prettier look and a considerably reduced curb weight. The lightness coupled with VW’s potent VR6 FSI gasoline or V6 TDI diesel engines running through the 4Motion all-wheel drive system allow the Touareg to all but match a Porsche Cayenne’s 0-60mph times.

As well as working on establishing a sporty side to the Touareg, VW have not lost sight of its reputation for being rugged. Ground clearance is higher than many in its class, towing ability is impressive and – although it’s unlikely many Touaregs will ever face this – it is a worthy workhorse when taken off-road.

Lastly, the Touareg can seat five adults in relative ease (four in great comfort) and has plenty of room for cargo. As far as family transporters go, the Touareg certainly fits the bill.

So the Touareg checks all the crossover luxury SUV boxes: it has luxury refinements, it’s sporty, and it can easily accommodate the whole family.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 Volkswagen Touareg
Starting price
$27,473

2013 Volkswagen Touareg TDI Executive

Recommended for: Despite an excellent engine and levels of trim, will struggle against Range Rover and Porsche in the luxury SUV market.

As you’d expect of VW’s flagship vehicle, the Touareg TDI Executive is not short on its list of trim. Mated to the 3.6 liter, V6 TDI Clean Diesel engine, 8-speed automatic transmission and VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system, the TDI Executive’s 240hp is more than enough for everyday driving as well as transporting family and plenty of cargo on longer journeys. The executive model makes long journeys a thing of comfort thanks to heated seating all around with leather surfaces, 12-way power adjusting and lumbar supporting front seats, premium Dynaudio sound system, power tilting/sliding panoramic sunroof, and a heated, multi-function steering wheel. Vavona wood interior inlays and wood center console make the interior a pleasant environment, and externally the TDI Executive’s pleasing lines are given a touch of finesse with 20” Pikes Peak alloy wheels.

2013 Volkswagen Touareg
Starting price
$27,473

2013 Volkswagen Touareg TDI Lux

Recommended for: Well equipped and appointed throughout; the weakest link is the VW badge that may not stand up to the kudos of a Porsche or BMW badge on rival vehicles.

Middle of the Touareg TDI range but by no means middling in levels of trim as standard. From top (power tilting/sliding panoramic sunroof) to bottom (19” Everest alloy wheels) the TDI Lux is packed with accessories and features. On the inside there is burr walnut interior inlays, a wood center console and Vienna leather seating surfaces. The 12-way power adjustable heated front seats have power lumbar support, the driver’s seat comes with memory, and the rear seats feature an electric release system. Power comes from the V6 TDI Clean Diesel engine, putting out 240hp but managing a frugal 29mpg thanks in part to VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system and 8-speed gearbox that feeds the power to a set of 19” Everest alloy wheels.

2013 Volkswagen Touareg
Starting price
$27,473

2013 Volkswagen Touareg TDI Sport

Recommended for: Long list of equipment as standard is appealing, although lack of a luxury brand badge counts against.

As its name implies, the TDI Sport is centered around VW’s V6 TDI Clean Diesel engine. At 3.0 liters it’s smaller than VW’s gas powerplant but still delivers 240hp. However, the biggest difference with the V6 TDI is the fuel economy, which at 29 mpg is considerably better than the gasoline powered models. Is this alone enough to justify the $3,500 increase in price over the regular V6 Sport? Maybe, maybe not, but factor in the environmental issues (and the Touareg range’s prime demographic are families with young children) and opting for a fuel efficient, clean burning diesel engine is a very tempting prospect. Elsewhere the TDI Sport shares an exact specification list as the regular V6 Sport – 8-speed auto transmission, 4Motion all-wheel drive system, bi-xenon high intensity headlights, adaptive front lighting, halogen reflector lens foglights, 18” Karakum alloy wheels and remote operated tailgate with additional closing assist.

2013 Volkswagen Touareg
Starting price
$27,473

2013 Volkswagen Touareg VR6 Executive

Recommended for: Elegant throughout, although at $55K why not opt for the cachet of the TDI models?

At the top of the V6-engined range is the V6 Executive model. Costing over $10,000 more than the regular V6 Sport, the Executive is awash with creature comforts and elegant touches to let the driver and passengers know they are travelling in style. Vavona wood interior inlays, leather seat surfaces and a wood center console all cocoon the occupants in regal surroundings, and heated seating all-around adds to the sense of occasion. 12-way power adjustment and lumbar support feature on the front seats, and the driver is also treated to a heated, multi-function steering wheel. A premium Dynaudio sound system fills the interior with rich sound quality and the power tilting/sliding panoramic sunroof opens up to the freedom of the great outdoors. The keyless access with push-button start is a nice touch, and the 20” Pikes Peak alloy wheels add a dash of panache to the already graceful lines

2013 Volkswagen Touareg
Starting price
$27,473

2013 Volkswagen Touareg VR6 Lux

Recommended for: Impressive list of trim but may struggle to fend off competition from equally priced rival brands BMW and Mercedes.

Taking the V6 Sport’s already burgeoning package of standard specifications and equipment and adding to it was always going to be a tall order, and much of the V6 Lux’s refinements are cosmetic as opposed to engineering-driven. A touch screen navigation system and rearview camera do aid the drivability of the V6 Lux, although it retains the 280hp, 3.6 liter VR6 FSI engine and 8-speed auto gearbox with 4Motion all-wheel drive system. The 19” Everest alloy wheels also improve the aesthetics and equally pleasing on the eye are the wood center console, burr walnut interior inlays and Vienna leather seating surfaces. The front seats themselves are 12-way power adjustable and feature power lumbar support and heating (the driver seat also has memory). The visual coup d’état is the addition of a power tilting/sliding panoramic sunroof.

2013 Volkswagen Touareg
Starting price
$27,473

2013 Volkswagen Touareg VR6 Sport

Recommended for: Superbly equipped base model at a competitive price in the midsize SUV market.

For a range’s base model, the Touareg V6 Sport comes very well equipped, although with a price tag of $43,500 it needs to. VW’s meaty 3.6 liter, VR6 FSI engine pumps out 280hp, which is around 20hp less than several of its closest rivals (300hp is common amongst SUV’s of a similar spec and price). However the power is run through an 8-speed automatic transmission and VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system, so there’s plenty of power on tap and the 0-60 time of 7.5 seconds is up there with the Porsche Cayenne. Adaptive front lighting and bi-xenon high intensity headlights illuminate the road perfectly, and halogen reflector lens foglights that feature low-speed corner-illumination keep the V6 Sports’ safety specs at a premium. 18” Karakum alloy wheels add a touch of elegance to the exterior and the interior features leatherette surfaces and 8-way power adjustable front seats. The tailgate can be opened and closed remotely and the ‘manual’ close function also has an assist.

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