This Touareg is a decent SUV. The interior is very typical Volkswagen, which is nice, but not too luxurious. The engine is a torquey diesel and that screams Volkswagen to me. Few automakers have tried to give Americans the choice of diesel power the way Volkswagen has. I’d consider the V-10 TDI to be more than overkill given the recent spike in diesel prices; the 3.0-liter TDI I sampled in an makes much more sense for most buyers. Still, I’m happy VW is offering some sort of diesel engine in an SUV. Mercedes-Benz and Jeep are the only other automakers to offer a diesel SUV right now. Without the diesel engine offering, the Touareg is just another SUV to me, but the available TDI puts it in another league.
Phil Floraday, Senior Online Editor
Nearly $80,000! That’s what this Touareg costs. Wow! I have always been intrigued by the super powerful V-10 diesel engine, but it sure taxes the chassis of this VW SUV. I can’t remember another all-wheel-drive vehicle that regularly tries to spin its inside front tire when briskly accelerating through a corner. Plus, this Touareg weights some 700 pounds more than the gasoline V-8 version and you can sure feel that weight. Body control is nowhere near as good as a or a Range Rover. VW should have skipped the V-10 diesel venture and spent the time and money getting the V-6 diesel to the USA.
Marc Noordeloos, Road Test Editor
With diesel fuel running nearly $1-a-gallon ahead of unleaded regular, only the most hopeless math flunky would spend nearly $80,000 for a V-10 TDI Touareg and expect to ever recoup the TDI’s whopping extra cost. This car is impossible to justify, and one gets the sense that VW is just tossing out there because it can. The Touareg has always been overpriced and over-engineered, but the V-10 TDI takes the madness to a new level. As Phil correctly points out, the 3.0-liter TDI would be far more sensible. But what makes even more sense is a Tiguan.
Joe Lorio, Senior Editor
Some people might be turned off by the diesel engine sound especially at idle and low speeds…I dig it. It’s not loud enough to be even remotely obnoxious, but it has enough of a deep-throated grumble to be pleasing. It kind of makes me feel like a trucker in a semi with a really, really amazing cabin and XM satellite radio. Cool. Although in the current state of things, an $80,000 SUV with a V-10 diesel is decadence that I imagine most people won’t consider no matter how cool it sounds. The oversize steering wheel reemphasizes the semi-truck feel and makes the interior seem slightly crowded. The driver and passenger temperature dials are strangely oversized as well. Not only are they about two inches in diameter, they protrude off the console an inch. This is odd considering that the volume dial for the radio, which is probably one of the most used controls in a vehicle, is quite small and strangely placed at the top of the central console.
Jennifer Misaros, Production Editor
Holy second mortgage, Batman! $80K for this SUV?! Lorio is right: this thing just doesn’t really belong.
Other thoughts: That super smooth, growling torque is almost worth all that cash. This price tag reminds me of the other over-opulent VW, the Phaeton, with which the Touareg shares much of its circa-2004 switchgear. Also, the sideview-mirror-mounted blind-spot checkers are pretty nice, although I wonder how distracting they’d be at night. I do like the tough looks of the Touareg, but in this case, they’ve been undermined a bit by the white paint; the sharp interior hues make you forget about that once you’re inside, however.
Rusty Blackwell, Copy Editor