Volkswagen's premium crossover, the five-passenger Touareg competes head-to-head with established luxury brands in terms of engineering and refinement, if not prestige.

Pricing and Equipment

The Touareg lineup starts with the Sport with Technology model ($50,405 with destination), which carries popular features like:

  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Navigation
  • HD and satellite radio

The Wolfsburg Edition ($53,705) gets a panoramic sunroof, 20-inch wheels, and leather seats with additional adjustments. The Executive ($61,105) features a surround-view camera system and a 10-speaker Dynaudio sound system. There are no option packages for the Touareg

Performance Pros

Volkswagen Touareg

Every Touareg comes equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that makes 280 horsepower, matched to an eight-speed automatic transmission. VW's 4Motion permanent all-wheel drive system is also standard.

  • We found the Touareg's handling to be a cut above most vehicles of this size. Steering is precise around curves, and yet relaxed enough for smooth cruising.
  • The Touareg's relative athleticism doesn't come at the expense of comfort. Ride quality is fully up to our expectations of a luxury vehicle.
  • The Touareg offers 7.9 inches of ground clearance, enough for light off-roading and navigating deep snow.

Performance Cons

  • We would've appreciated more power when taking the 4,700-pound Touareg up hills and freeway ramps. Acceleration is closer to an everyday crossover than a luxury model.
  • The Touareg isn't particularly efficient, delivering an EPA-estimate 19 mpg in combined city and highway driving. There's no hybrid or turbodiesel option anymore to help in that department.

Interior Pros

  • The Touareg will never be mistaken for an ordinary VW on the inside. Materials and assembly meet the high standards set by the luxury brands.
  • High seating positions and plenty of glass make the Touareg ideal for long-distance touring.
  • The rear seat folds completely flat at the touch of button on the Wolfsburg and Executive trims.

Interior Cons

Volkswagen Touareg
  • The wide center console sometimes interfered with our knee room while driving. Front passengers are likely to have the same complaint.
  • The Touareg's infotainment system lacks many of the connectivity features offered by competitors.
  • Cargo space tops out at a below-average 64 cubic feet. Even some small crossovers can haul more stuff.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

The VW Touareg can tow up to 7,700 pounds. That's the kind of brute capability we only expect to see in truck-based vehicles, let alone a V6-powered crossover.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

The cost of a mid-level Touraeg is at or only slightly below that of the competitors from more established premium brands, like Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

The Bottom Line

The VW Touareg is a highly capable crossover that fills the niche just below the best of the breed, offering conservative styling and some brute towing ability. However, it's starting to show its age, making it difficult to recommend.