Volkswagen’s main 4×4, the Touareg, was released over a decade ago. Despite the 4×4 market being extremely competitive in the noughties, this first model sold in pretty good numbers. Evidently, Volkswagen know a winner when they see one! The later models of the Touareg, such as the V6 TDI, have offered the same reliability and comfort. Since the first Touareg came out in 2003, its descendants have become lighter, and smoother to handle. Though the V6 TDI doesn’t offer the same ruggedness of other SUVs, it can be a great vehicle for a driver who’s looking for space and functionality. Read on to find out more!
The look of the new Touareg is misleading in a way. The main difference between these new models and its earlier predecessors is a massive loss of weight. Every version released around the same time as the V6 TDI is lighter by at least 200kg. This has made the newer versions easier to handle, which is impressive considering they’ve made the wheelbase 4cm longer. If you used any of the older Touaregs, you’ll notice the minute you get into the other one that the cabin is noticeably more spacious. The four-wheel drive system is different from that of the older models. Now, it’s much better suited to off-road performance. I know we’re not all planning to tear into a forest every weekend! Still, when you need to use your four-wheel drive you’ll notice that it’s tough and efficient. One thing that hasn’t changed a lot since the older models is the exterior design. Just like the ones before it, the new Touaregs keep a neat, conservative look to them. The main differences are a deformable plastic bumper on the front, and brake lights in a slightly different design.
I’ve heard a lot of people scoff at the V6 TDI for its engine size. A 3-litre V6 diesel doesn’t sound like much for a sizable SUV. Don’t let that scare you away though! With 4x4s, it’s the torque that counts more than anything. The Touareg certainly has a lot of that! For a vehicle this size, the sharp, powerful pull-away action might shock you the first time. One performance feature which I was a little wary of is the stop-start system it comes with. However, I was pleasantly surprised to realise how subtle it is. This system does its thing without you noticing, and the engine only restarts once you release the brake. It takes a little while to get used to the feel of this, true. However, after a few minutes of using it, I guarantee you’ll start to appreciate how it works. If you have something specific you’re looking for in your SUV, then you might be interested in opting for the V8 instead of the V6. With the larger size, you’ll get an incredible amount of torque and a bump up to 335bhp. Take your time on a decision though. The price and running costs of the V8 model may not be worth it in the long run. The main drawback in the Touareg’s performance is the added regenerative braking system. Although it doesn’t spoil the drive by any means, it can start to feel a bit intrusive after a while. Every now and then, you can feel a slight sense of drag, which may throw you off when you’re on the move. Although a tad annoying to begin with, it really improves the fuel economy over the course of a long journey. Overall the performance is very well-rounded and you forget about the Touareg’s awkward (although practical) gimmicks pretty quickly.
Compared to similar SUVs, the Touareg gives you pretty decent value. If you want to buy it new, it’s not the most affordable of cars. You can still get used models in great nick at dealerships like Saxton 4×4. Even if you can’t find an especially good price, the space, performance and economy all make up pretty well for it. During an average drive you’ll be looking at around 32mpg, even if you do a bit of off-roading! On a long motorway trip, you’ll get around 35mpg. It might not be anywhere near as efficient as other cars you’ve driven, true. However, for a two-tonne 4×4 with the speed of the Touareg, you could be doing a lot worse. Even with the V8 option, fuel economy runs in the mid-30s pretty much consistently. There’s also a hybrid model which offers similar mpg. However, when you see the lower asking price for the diesel engine, you’ll probably be more inclined to simply go with that. The Touareg is pretty good in terms of depreciation, but if you do think you’ll sell, the standard model does much better than the V8 and hybrid.
Compared to its predecessors, the Touareg’s dynamic makeup is vastly improved. In fact, you might just prefer driving the Touareg to any other 4×4 you’ve ever driven! You wouldn’t expect it, but driving the Touareg feels exceptionally nimble and agile. This makes the Touareg an excellent choice for people who have little experience driving 4x4s. Aside from the elevated driving position, operating one of these feels like a much smaller car. Ask anyone who’s driven another SUV, and they’ll probably start complaining about the body roll. On the Touareg, however, this is kept soundly in check. The steering too feels incredibly fine-tuned. The sharp accuracy of the wheel lets you drift across the road with the same precision as a Golf or something similar. Control is just as good off the road, even in the standard model. Volkswagen released the tougher “Escape” model around the same time as the V6 TDI. However, with the reliability of the standard model’s performance, you should think hard before throwing money at a 4×4 model.
To sum up, the Touareg is a fantastic, reliable 4×4, no matter what you’re going to use it for. No one can complain with its aesthetic features. This is combined with brilliant performance and a comfortable, spacious interior. Whether you’re an SUV fanatic or you’re looking for your first, the Touareg comes highly recommended.