The largest offering in VW's line-up, the 2016 Touareg offers luxury combined with off-road ability -- flexing VW's craftsmanship muscles with great lines, tons of amenities and tech-savvy hardware.
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2016 Volkswagen Touareg Overview
What's New for 2016
After a more significant revamp last year, the Touareg enters 2016 with some minor interior changes.
Choosing Your Volkswagen Touareg
With a premium price backed by the same level of style, the 2016 Touareg is VW’s attempt to throw its hat into the luxury SUV market.
The first thing you’ll notice when you get behind the wheel of this SUV is the power it offers. The standard 280-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 gives the relatively lightweight SUV an excellent 7,716-pound towing capacity, and the smooth 4Motion all-wheel drive system maintains easy drivability.
We're fans of performance and economy from the optional diesel engine, but as we go to press there may be some issues with the availability of the TDI. Although the Touareg's 3-liter diesel engine was not involved in the initial stages of Volkswagen's emissions scandal, Californian and Federal authorities have added it to their naughty list. Check with a dealer to determine availability.
Cargo space is modest but still provides 64 cubic feet with rear seats folded -- it should be plenty of room to handle the hauling needs of most buyers. The amenities on this vehicle are numerous depending on what trim package you select. With the V6 Sport (order only) you get the 4MOTION all-wheel drive, sharp bi-xenon headlights, and a touchscreen sound system. The V6 w/Technology offers rearview camera, touchscreen navigation, and a hands-free liftgate. The top trim package, the V6 Lux, includes panoramic sunroof, park distance control, and premium leather upholstery.
We'd normally recommend the TDI for its greater efficiency and torque. With an uncertain future in the United States, however, it's probably wise to stick to a gas-powered Touareg. You'll probably find the best value in the lower-end trim levels -- at the top of the range prices become competitive with premium brands.
2016 Volkswagen Touareg Review
The Volkswagen Touareg may not be the most popular crossover on the market, but it shares some pretty special DNA. Specifically, this German crossover is built on the same platform as the Porsche Cayenne and the Audi Q7. It's not as sporty as those cars, but it still has plenty to offer.
Pricing and Equipment
The Volkswagen Touareg is surprisingly pricey for a crossover from a mainstream brand. Its base V6 Sport starts out at a whopping $42,705. What’s more, it's an “Order Only” model, meaning the chances of seeing it on a dealer’s lot are slim to none.
Standard equipment on the V6 Sport includes:
- Bi-xenon headlights and LED taillights
- A 6.5-inch touchscreen for the sound system
- Dual-zone climate control
- Heated front seats
Also available are four more-upscale models, including the Sport w/Technology, Lux, Executive, and Executive with 21-inch Mallory Wheels.
The base V6 engine delivers plenty of might, while the optional TDI engine has massive torque for towing. Additionally, a recent reduction of weight has led to the Touareg being a nimbler handler than before.
- 280-horsepower V6 comes standard
- A massive 407 pound-feet of torque from the diesel TDI engine.
- Terrain Tech option adds to the crossover's off-road capabilities.
- Tows up to 7,700 pounds.
Though its handling is better, the Touareg is still not as nimble as some of its competitors. We do know that this chassis is capable of more, but VW focused more on the model’s luxury than its performance.
The VW Touareg’s cabin is downright luxurious, unusual since it is not part of a luxury brand, per se. It also has lots of rear-seat room and plenty of cargo room.
- Up to 64 cubic feet of cargo room.
- Very quiet, even on bumpy roads.
An SUV of this size should have a third row, but it's not even an option on the Touareg. Additionally, the oversized center console eats up front-seat space and cramps the driver and passenger.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
While its luxurious amenities are unexpected, the Touareg's safety features are an even nicer surprise. Nine airbags create a cocoon of safety in the event of a crash. What’s more, optional features like blind spot assist, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise, and forward collision warning are all welcome.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
For a crossover that shares its platform with the Cayenne and Q7, the Touareg is a painfully average performer. We expected livelier handling.
The Bottom Line
The Volkswagen Touareg is a good option for buyers who want something different than the typical crossovers on the market. However, its starting price encroaches on the Audi Q7’s $48,300 base price, which leads us to question whether we would be willing to shell out that kind of cash for a VW.