2011 Volkswagen Touareg Review

Impressive new Touareg almost a luxury SUV, and priced like one too

2011 Volkswagen Touareg Review

We’ll get this out of the way first: The second-gen Volkswagen Touareg is very impressive. With the benefit of 400 less pounds to haul around, a standard eight-speed automatic transmission, and more passenger room. But, with a near $4,000 price increase, is the Touareg really that good?


1. A 280-hp gas V6 delivers 16/23-mpg and costs $44,450.

2. TDI model offers 224-hp and 406 lb-ft with 19/28-mpg and priced from $51,800.

3. A 380-hp Hybrid model brings 21/25-mpg for $60,565.

4. Cargo room has increased to 32 cu-ft behind the 2nd row, with a 71 cu-ft total.

5. All Touareg models can tow up to 7,700 lbs.


Like its Cayenne cousin, the latest Touareg is sleeker and more modern in its design. The wide front grille takes its cues from the latest Golf and Jetta, but in a bulkier suit. The standard LED running lights are pretty fresh, moving away from the much-copied Audi streak in the lower air intakes. Like other modern Vee-Dubs, the Touareg is destined to grown on you. Initial impressions are of a conservative shape, but details like the stylized dual exhaust tips are there to discover.

Inside, there are fewer surprises. Tastefully designed, but less showy than its competitors. The new three-spoke steering wheel is comfortably sized, with steering wheel mounted controls for the audio system and onboard computer. The gauges are bright and legible, and like most Volkswagens, the ergonomics with major controls are spot-on. Standard power seats are supportive enough, and the rear row really benefits from a big stretch in wheelbase that translates directly into more legroom. That can be further augmented by the standard sliding and reclining rear bench, leaving a truly luxurious interior. The optional full-length glass moon-roof really brightens the cabin too.

Cargo space is improved, with 32 cu-ft that expands to nearly 71 with the 60/40 split-folding rear seats down. Access is aided by the reasonably low load floor and power hatch.


Power comes from the same 3.6-liter narrow-angle VR6 engine as before, boasting 280 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque. The 0-60 mph run of 7.4 seconds is assisted by the new eight-speed automatic transmission – shared with the Porsche Cayenne – that works very well at keeping the engine on the boil when needed. And, when not on a charge, delivers half-decent fuel economy for something that weighs over 4,700 lb. Even with the standard 4Motion four-wheel drive, the Touareg is rated at 16-mpg in the city and 23-mpg on the highway, which nearly equals the outgoing turbo-diesel. The large 26-gallon fuel tank gives a theoretical range of 600 miles, but will be expensive to fill since the Volkswagen requires premium fuel.

With the optional trailer hitch, the Touareg can also tow up to 7,700 lbs regardless of engine, although with the diesel’s torque you’re certain to make an easier go of it.

The Touareg’s ride is controlled and ‘European’ – read: well-damped – on the standard 18-inch wheels. Things get more interesting with larger ones that are included in a couple different option packages. Although not the corner-carver that the Cayenne can be, the VW is one of the better-handling luxo SUVs thanks to double-wishbone suspension at all four corners. Not a lot of feel through the steering wheel, but the nose goes pretty much where you point it. Fuss free. And quiet too – very easy to hit extra-legal speeds without noticing. A good long-distance cruiser in that very German way.

All Touaregs get convenience features like dual climate control, an iPod adapter, cruise control, Bluetooth hands-free, heated seats, rain-sensing wipers, a rear-view camera, ABS and stability control, which makes it a true foul-weather friend.


Those looking for a few more toys have only two real choices: expensive, and even more expensive. Like most German automakers, the Touareg doesn’t have standalone options – just two big packages to choose from. The Lux adds 19-inch wheels, a panoramic power sunroof, heated and power-adjustable side mirrors, walnut interior trim, metallic center console trim, and 12-way power leather seats for $3,850. The top-line Executive trim includes the Lux’ features and adds Audi-esque 20-inch wheels, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, keyless access with push-button start, parking sensors and a rocking Dynaudio sound system for the not insignificant price of $9,550. Add those to the $44,450 VR6 FSI Sport, and you won’t get much change back from $55K.


Those with more to tow and looking for better mileage would do well to order the V6 TDI, which uses the same 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V6 with 225 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. It’s only a half-second slower to 60 mph but gets significantly improved fuel efficiency at 19/28-mpg. The price difference of $3,500 isn’t that large a jump, in relative terms, and resale value will probably be stronger.

The upcoming 380-horsepower Hybrid model will use the same supercharged 3.0-liter V6 and electric motor found in the Porsche Cayenne Hybrid and Panamera Hybrid, and its starting price of over $60,000 starts to look scary until you realize it’s already fully loaded. But talk about unproven and expensive technology. A 21/25-mpg is solid, but averages out to about the same and the diesel. Best to stay with the TDI unless it somehow offends you.


While the difference in ability, comfort and appeal over the original Touareg is impressive, the $10/pound premium is not. Scarily, that means that there is no appreciable difference between the base models of the Touareg, Audi Q7 ($46,250), BMW X5 ($46,300) and the Porsche Cayenne ($46,700). As much as Volkswagen would like to assume it has the panache to hang with these more established luxury brands, it doesn’t.


2010 Lexus RX350 Review

2010 Acura MDX Review 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Review: First Drive

2011 Lincoln MKX Review – First Drive 2010 Cadillac SRX Luxury AWD Review

« Back

AutoGuide.com’s Monthly Overlay Newsletter Signup – By subscribing to our email newsletter, Entrants are eligible to win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card (value of $100.00 USD). One (1) winner will be chosen every month at random and contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. *Amazon.com is not a sponsor of this promotion. Except as required by law, Amazon.com Gift Cards ("GCs") cannot be transferred for value or redeemed for cash. GCs may be used only for purchases of eligible goods at Amazon.com or certain of its affiliated websites. For complete terms and conditions, see www.amazon.com/gc-legal. GCs are issued by ACI Gift Cards, Inc., a Washington corporation. All Amazon ®, ™ & © are IP of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates. No expiration date or service fees.


2. PRIZE: One (1) Winner will be randomly selected every month to each receive: one (1) $100.00 Amazon.com Gift Card (the “Prize Supplier”). Total approximate retail value of all prizes is approximately $100.00 USD. Prizes are not transferable and no cash or prize substitution is allowed. Prize package is awarded "as is" with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied.

3. ELIGIBILITY: From the time of entry through the final date of prize fulfillment, each contest entrant and selected entrant must be a permanent lawful citizen and resident residing in the 50 United States or the District of Columbia or in Canada, and be twenty one (21) years of age or older. VOID IN PUERTO RICO, THE U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS, IN ALL FOREIGN COUNTRIES OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES, AND ALL OTHER U.S. TERRITORIES OR CANADA AND POSSESSIONS AND WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. Employees, officers, directors, agents and representatives, of the Sponsor and the Prize Supplier and each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising and promotion agencies, promotion partners and any entity involved in the development, production, implementation, administration or fulfillment of this Sweepstakes, and the immediate family members (e.g., spouse, mother, father, sister, brother, uncle, aunt, nephew, niece, grandparent, in-law, daughter and son, regardless of where they live) and persons living in the same household (whether or not related) of such individuals are not eligible to participate or win. Only one selected entrant per household. All decisions of the Sponsor with respect to this sweepstakes are final. The Sponsor shall have the right at any time to require proof of identity and failure to provide such proof may result in disqualification from the Sweepstakes.

4. ENTER BY INTERNET: You may enter this sweepstakes via the Internet by logging onto AutoGuide.com and subscribing to our email newsletter via the pop-up overlay.

5. SELECTION OF WINNER: One (1) Entrant will be selected by random selection who have subscribed to our email newsletter. The winner may be announced publicly on AutoGuide.com and will be contacted by VerticalScope Inc.’s staff. The winner will be required to provide a mailing address (that is not a P.O. box) to receive the prize which will be shipped free of charge.

6. ODDS OF WINNING: Odds of winning a prize are determined by the total number of eligible entries received.

7. RESTRICTIONS: The prize package consists of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card with an approximate value of $100.00 USD. If prize cannot be awarded due to circumstances beyond the control of the Sponsor or Prize Supplier, no substitute prize will be awarded due to the unique nature of the prize. Sponsor and Prize Supplier shall not be liable to the winner or any person claiming through winner for failure to supply the prize or any part thereof, by reason of any acts of God, any action(s), regulation(s), order(s) or request(s) by any governmental or quasi-governmental entity (whether or not the action(s), regulations(s), order(s) or request(s) prove(s) to be invalid), equipment failure, utility failure, internet failure, terrorist acts, threatened terrorist acts, air raid, blackout, act of public enemy, earthquake, war (declared or undeclared), fire, flood, epidemic, explosion, unusually severe weather, hurricane, embargo, labor dispute or strike (whether legal or illegal) labor or material shortage, transportation interruption of any kind, work slow-down, civil disturbance, insurrection, riot, or any other cause beyond Sponsor's or Prize Supplier's control (collectively, "Force Majeure Event"). Sponsor shall not be responsible for any cancellations, delays, diversions or substitutions or any act or omissions whatsoever by the performers/events, other transportation companies or any other persons providing any of these services and accommodations to passengers including any results thereof such as changes in services or accommodations necessitated by same.

8. CONDITIONS: By entering the Sweepstakes, entrants agree to be bound by the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions and that Sponsor has the irrevocable right to use in perpetuity entrants' names, user names, likenesses, photographs, voices, home mailing address, biographical and prize information, and entry materials, without notice to entrants and without compensation or obligation, in any and all media now or hereafter known throughout the world, in any manner whatsoever, to advertise and promote Sponsor, its products and services, the Sweepstakes, and for any other purpose except where prohibited by law. Entrant waives the right to assert as a cost of winning a prize any and all costs of verification and redemption or travel to redeem said prize and any liability which might arise from redeeming or seeking to redeem said prize. Sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent calls or emails made to entrants not by the Sponsor. If the Sweepstakes is not capable of running as planned by reason of damage by computer viruses, worms or bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical limitations or failures, any Force Majeure Event or any other cause which, in the sole opinion of Sponsor, could corrupt, compromise, undermine or otherwise affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, viability or proper conduct of the Sweepstakes, Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend all or any part of the Sweepstakes, and to select a winner from among all eligible entries received by Sponsor up until the time of such cancellation, termination, modification or suspension, as applicable. Sponsor reserves the right in its sole discretion to disqualify any individual that (i) tampers or attempts to tamper with the entry process or the operations of this Sweepstakes in any manner, (ii) violates the Official Rules, Terms and Conditions or (iii) acts in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT BY AN ENTRANT OR ANY OTHER INDIVIDUAL TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS SWEEPSTAKES IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK CIVIL AND/OR CRIMINAL PROSECUTION AND/OR DAMAGES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Any expenses and receipt and use of the prize and federal, state and local taxes and fees applicable in connection with the prize awarded are the sole responsibility of the winner. An IRS Form 1099 will be issued in the name of the winner for the actual value of the prize received. This Sweepstakes is subject to all federal, state and local laws of the United States. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED. Sponsor, Prize Supplier, and their respective officers, directors, parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries and advertising and promotion agencies, employees, representatives and agents are not responsible for and shall not be liable for (i) any injuries, losses or damages of any kind caused by a prize resulting from acceptance, possession or usage of the prize, or (ii) printing, distribution or production errors. Sponsor or its affiliates may rescind any promotion found to contain such errors without liability at its or their sole discretion.

9. SPONSOR: The Sponsor of this contest is VerticalScope Inc. (the owner and operator of AutoGuide.com), 111 Peter Street, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario, M5V 2H1.

Subscribe to our email newsletter and automatically be entered to win.
*Restrictions apply. See offer for details

Get Breaking Automotive News, Reviews and Video in your Facebook Feed!

Already Liked