Test Drive: 2015 VW Touareg TDI Diesel Review

2015_touareg_

I’ve always thought the large VW SUV, the Touareg was an OK vehicle quality wise, but it was never high on my list because there were other SUVs of similar price that I thought were better choices. I am happy to say that the changes to the 2015 have gotten my attention.

For years, I have sung the praises of VW’s family of diesels, called the TDI. This 3.0-liter version does not disappoint. I love the way diesel engines work… this V6 only puts out 240-horses, yet it will tow 7700 pounds. Sounds counter-intuitive, but it will really do that. All Touaregs are all-wheel drive, and all of them have an 8-speed automatic transmission.

My tester is the Executive Package, which is the top of the line. New for 2015 is a freshened exterior, starting with a new grill, LED halo lights, and an array of new options not available in the past. Now you can get adaptive cruise control, Intelligent Crash Response braking if the vehicle senses a collision, and lane departure warning that vibrates the steering wheel if you stray out of your lane. It also comes with a hands-free power lift gate, although I will say it doesn’t work very well.

I was a bit surprised at how nice the interior was in the Touareg. You notice that the minute you open the door. Very rich leather seats are quite inviting, and they are as comfortable as they look. Glance up and you’ll see the full-length panoramic moon roof with a cloth cover, and you’ll notice you have a ton of headroom. Even with a moon roof, I believe a 6’4” person would be comfortable. Legroom for all five passengers is very good, and cargo area is huge, especially if you hit the buttons to fold the second row seats down, which is electric. There is no third row seat option.

Back in the driver’s seat, the instrument cluster is large and configurable. You do not have to search for anything like you do with many vehicles today. Buttons are large and the touchscreen is easy to operate at a glance. Touareg has the absolute best backup camera I have ever seen. There is even one setting that gives you an aerial view and a yellow line so you can back up to a trailer and hook it up without assistance.

This package has just about everything you could want. Navigation system, sharp looking 20” wheels, 10-speaker sound system, Bluetooth, front and rear heated seats, front and rear park assist, keyless entry, pushbutton start, and much more.

Touareg rides and drives great, and it should, you are riding on a Porsche Cayenne chassis, which is unique and very un-SUV like. The turning radius is sharp, the interior is quiet and devoid of any road noise, and overall, this is just a darned enjoyable SUV all the way around. Putting Volkswagen and luxury in the same sentence comes a little unnatural for me, but not in the case of the Touareg.

Money wise, I can make the case that this vehicle is priced right. It is doing just over 30-mpg on the highway, which is exceptional for its size, weight, and the fact that it is all-wheel drive. Factor in too, this engine should easily go well beyond 300,000 miles with just routine maintenance. Plus, it’s cool to fill the Touareg up and see 705 miles to empty.

Touareg was named after a tribe in North Africa in case you were wondering. It’s a really stupid name for a vehicle, and nobody ever gets the spelling right, but after driving it, you’ll get over that.

What I liked most: Engine, interior, and driving/handling characteristics.

What I would change: Let’s work on that hands-free liftgate.

MSRP: Base price $62,200. As equipped $65,610.

Fuel Economy: 20 City/29 highway/23 combined, but doing better.

Odometer reading when tested: 3720 miles.

Weight: 5700 Pounds.

Length-Width-Height: 188.8” long/76.4” wide/68.2” High.

Fuel Tank Capacity: 26.4 gallons

Towing Capacity: 7700 pounds

2015 Touareg in a few words: Stupid name, exceptional SUV.

Warranty: 3-year/36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper with roadside assistance, 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty.

Car Pro Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Dealers: We have great VW dealers in Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, Houston, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Phoenix, Sacramento, and San Antonio.

Manufacturer’s website: Volkswagen

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