Available in nine separate trims matched with a gasoline, a diesel, or a hybrid engine, the 2013 Volkswagen Touareg can be somewhat of an enigmatic proposition. At first glance, the 2013 Touareg seems to be punching far above its class. Compared to competitor vehicles like the Honda Pilot or Chevrolet Traverse, the Touareg looks and rides more like a luxury SUV rather than the midsized crossover contender it actually is. The Touareg’s proportions, design, and seating position make it feel more like a burley SUV than car-like competitors. Throw in luxury-SUV pricing and the Touareg looks even more out of place. Yet the Touareg lacks some of the technology and high-end features found in a BMW, Audi, or Mercedes. Graying boundary lines even further, unlike midsized crossovers, the Touareg lacks third-row seating and only seats up to five passengers. Rather than punching above its class, perhaps the Touareg is punching out but hitting little. Nevertheless, the Touareg doesn’t disappoint and could claim a spot all its own. The Touareg does some things so well, it makes many buyers happy with what it delivers.
New For 2013
For 2013, the diesel model receives a power hike from 225 hp to 240 hp. There are new eighteen-inch wheels for V-6 and diesel models, and the Hybrid comes with vavona wood interior trim and LED taillights.
The 2013 Volkswagen Touareg wields a stout, wide body with clean lines and squared proportions. While not entirely awe-inspiring, exterior design is sophisticated and includes Audi-like styling cues. These include a clean delineation between the grille and airdam, LED headlights, and LED taillights. Chrome door-accents and stylish tailpipes highlight the Touareg’s subtle details and conservative shape. Well proportioned corners, sheet metal, and glass lend a conventional crossover-wagon look. Among its top four crossover-competitors, the Touareg looks far classier and brandishes a more timeless design.
The 2013 Touareg is available in Sport, Lux, Executive and Hybrid trim levels. All trims include a generous bundle of standard luxury-leaning features. Even the base Sport trim comes with 18-inch alloy wheels, bi-xenon high-intensity discharge (HID) headlights, and LED daytime running lights. Volkswagen also includes everything from standard foglights to rain-sensing wipers. The next level up Lux trim adds 19-inch alloy wheels, and a panoramic sunroof. Buying up to the Executive trim yields 20-inch alloy wheels. The Hybrid adopts much of the Executive trim’s refinements but it substitutes 19-inch wheels in place of the 20-inch cruisers. It also adds LED taillights, and includes distinctive metal door-sill plates.
With so many standard features and trim levels, overall optional features are limited. A roof spoiler, a trailer hitch, and mud guards are the only factory-installed options available. However, should buyers wish to further reduce their pecuniary reserves, Volkswagen dealers provide a vast range of accessories.
Interior & Cargo
Spend any amount of time in the 2013 Volkswagen Touareg and those seemingly insane, segment-defying price points begin to make much more sense. It seems that when it came time to design the Touareg’s interior and document its material specifications, Volkswagen’s design staff was on an extended European-esque summer vacation. As a result, the Touareg had to make-do with substitute designers from Audi. Even base trims wrap occupants in BMW and Lexus worthy interiors. The entire cabin is filled with wood and metallic accents, cutting-edge electronics, and intuitive user-interfaces more at home in a luxury vehicle than in this segment of crossovers. High-quality materials fill the Touareg’s living space. A 6.5-inch touchscreen stereo interface welcomes input, and is prominently featured in a large center console. Steering wheel controls are the same as found in the Golf and GTI.
The base Sport trim includes leather upholstery, a panoramic sunroof, and memory seats. Executive and Hybrid trims add a premium audio system, rear-obstacle detection, and heated rear seats. A teeth-rattling 620-watt Dynaudio premium sound system is available as a major option. A navigation system with upgraded display and built-in music storage is also available.
The 2013 Touareg places the front seats in a high seating-position which affords excellent outward visibility. The 2013 Touareg's backseat is significantly roomier than in past Touareg models. The rear bench-seat can slide fore or aft six inches. The rear bench also features a power-folding layout which allows operators to fold the seat in one motion. Once folded, the seat fits snugly into the floor, yielding a segment-paltry but conveniently flat total cargo-area of 64.0-cubic feet. The Hybrid’s battery pack rests under the cargo floor and doesn't compromise luggage room.
With a combination of exceptional crash-test results and advanced safety technology, the 2013 Volkswagen Touareg sits as one of the safest available crossovers. The Touareg includes all of the standard safety features typically found among crossovers. Additionally, the Touareg offers safety features not found in typical midsized crossovers. An Area View monitor enables drivers to easily scan surrounding lanes and road surfaces. Lane Assist and Side Assist blind-spot monitors, along with adaptive cruise control provide an extra layer of technology assisted safety. Even the base Sport trim includes all-wheel drive for added grip and safety while driving in wet conditions.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the 2013 Touareg its Top Safety Pick award.
The 2013 Volkswagen Touareg delivers a stable and satisfying driving experience. Unlike car-like crossovers, the Touareg transmits a confident ride both on and off road. Steering can be too sharp for some drivers. Steering effort is lighter than in some other crossovers, and the high seating position can emphasize quick steering adjustments and rough pavement. The Touareg is not a crisp, BMW-like handler, but neither are any other crossovers in the segment. Nevertheless, the 2013 Touareg provides a nimble, responsive ride. The Touareg cruises quietly at highway speeds and always feels solidly planted.
An eight-speed, automatic transmission matched to full-time all-wheel drive provides the foundation for all Touareg powertrains. Three very different engine options provide power. Base trims come with a capable, 3.6-liter, V-6 engine that produces 280-horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. This engine setup requires premium gasoline and delivers EPA rated mileage of 17/23 mpg city/highway. An available clean burning, 3.0-liter, turbo-diesel V-6 engine provides the best of all worlds: Good fuel economy and excellent tow-anything, midspeed lane-passing torque. The diesel engine (TDI) puts out 240-horsepower and a whopping 406 lb-ft of torque. EPA rated fuel economy for the TDI stands at a respectable 20/29 mpg city/highway.
The hybrid system includes a supercharged, 3.0-liter, V-6 coupled with an electric motor system. This configuration pushes out a hybrid impressive 360-horsepower and 428 lb-ft of torque. The Hybrid employs a modified version of the Touareg’s eight-speed transmission. The Hybrid also requires premium fuel and EPA rated mileage clocks in at an underwhelming 20/24 mpg city/highway. However, the 2013 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid beats out other hybrids with better highway driving characteristics. The Touareg Hybrid can disengage the engine and coast at high-speeds for long periods of time. The hybrid is also the quickest of the three. Volkswagen claims that it clocked the Hybrid at 6.2 seconds in a zero to 60 mile per hour sprint. That’s 1.2-seconds faster than the gasoline V-6 and 1.7-seconds faster than the TDI. When equipped with the factory-installed tow package, the 2013 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid is rated at the same 7716-pound towing capacity as its non-hybrid siblings.
True to its segment-defying manner, the 2013 Volkswagen Touareg allows drivers to easily negotiate both paved and un-paved surfaces. Even the Hybrid can be safely taken offroad; something other hybrids, like the Toyota Highlander, won’t allow. As a result of having minimal front and rear overhangs (generous departure and approach angles), good ground-clearance, and an amenable suspension, the Touareg provides crossover-superior trail abilities.
Key Competitors For The 2013 Volkswagen Touareg
- Chevrolet Traverse
- Ford Explorer
- Honda Pilot
- Toyota 4Runner