2008 Volkswagen Touareg 2 V10 TDI Twin Turbo new car reviews

While nobody in our office ran out to buy one, VW's Touareg won a few hearts in spite of its SUV-ness.

Better than: its curb weight would suggest.
But not as good as: its price tag would suggest.
GRM Bang For The Buck Index: 27.20

As a full-sized SUV with a full-sized price tag, it would be easy for a sports car enthusiast to dismiss the Touareg 2 as an example of everything that's wrong with the new vehicle market today. After taking this 5800 pound freight train around the block, however, it was our preconceptions that were dismissed.

For its $77,880 buy-in, one would expect the amenities to be world-class, and this vehicle doesn't dissapoint. Front seat or rear, comfortable leather appoints every surface, with satisfying tactile feedback from the buttons and switches. No part of the interior treatments feel anything less than first-rate, and if it weren't for its school bus-esque engine note, you might swear you were riding in an Audi or a Porsche.

What surprised us most was the magnificent abundance of torque and well-sorted all-wheel-drive system. The Touareg 2 boasts a whopping 553 lb./ft. of torque and creates a real shock-and-awe display of power when leaving stoplights. We didn't get the chance to really put the truck to work, but it carries a 7700 pound tow rating, making it up to the task of towing your race car to the track without any fuss. The self-leveling suspension felt very composed and did an excellent job of masking the Touareg's blubbery curb weight.

However, no amount of praise can make us forget about the $78,000 hole this rig would put in our bank account. On top of that, the TDI engine only returns 20 mpg on the highway. With Diesel fuel at $4.00 a gallon lately, the TDI's efficiency hardly seems impressive enough to make it a bargain. Volkswagen's history of electrical gremlins makes us cringe at the thought of ownership once the newness has worn off. If money were no object, however, at least one staffer would fill his driveway with one just like it.

Other staff views

Per Schroeder Per Schroeder
PowerDork

Part of the happy-happy joy-joy of a diesel is the good gas mileage. This vehicle is quick, but the fuel mileage isn't so hot, especially considering diesel is pushing near five bucks a gallon. Still, this vehicle could probably tow Mount Rushmore.

Of course, you'd have to be an idiot to overlook Volkswagen's abysmal reliability and the depreciation rate of its more expensive models. Even with the good resale value on TDi cars, I don't see this truck holding its value.

Tom Heath Tom Heath
UberDork

I liked it a lot, especially since it wasn't mine and I didn't have to pay for it. Beyond question, it was the nicest SUV I've ever driven, and the first car that impressed my wife, both of our children, and myself equally.

Money be damned, that's a rare treat. I want one.

Scott Lear Scott Lear

We all like giving Tom grief for how much he loved this great big beastie of a trucklet. I can't say it interests me in the slightest, although the big turbo diesel is hard not to appreciate. Perhaps it's the ultimate Locost donor. And VW will sell way more of these than they did Phaetons. This is the kind of vehicle that makes me want to play the "for the same amount of money, I could get..." game.

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Comments

View comments on the GRM forums
Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
6/28/08 10:25 a.m.

Just as a note, for less then the price of just the brake pads and rotors on this truck (yes I checked) my cop car can tow more and get better mileage...

Sorry but as the Phaeton already proved, we do not want expensive VW's. This car will be a mechanic's dream in a few years when everything breaks and they can charge top dollar for the repairs.

Absolutely the wrong vehicle for today's climate, both politically and price-wise!

Nashco
Nashco UberDork
7/2/08 3:48 a.m.

If money were no object, somebody would pick the TDI Touareg to fill the garage space? Weird. I was thinking a Jeep SRT8 would be a heck of a lot more fun...over a second faster in the 1/4 and over 2 seconds faster from 0-60. Plus it's 1000 lbs lighter. Ok, so it's only rated to tow half as much and burns through 50% more fuel, but if money is no object you can afford the gas and the trans/driveline upgrades. ;) Heck, it's half the price of the Touareg, you can buy a whole crapload of fuel and upgraded parts on the Jeep for 40 grand!!! For that matter, if money were no object, why not the Cayenne instead?

I can't believe people are going to pay $80k for this VW SUV...that's going to be some serious depreciation on a ho-hum sleeper diesel. I'd love to use the engine in my project car in about 20 years though.

Bryce

Tom Heath
Tom Heath UberDork
7/2/08 8:59 a.m.

If I were a lottery owner, I'd have one—just for the opulence, if nothing else. (It would also be on lease, because even as a brazillionaire, I wouldn't want anything to do with those service costs.)

My kids could give two hoots about 0-60 times, so the SRT8 wouldn't impress them. Besides, there's no way any SUV would take the steal the "fun car" spot in my driveway.

Is the Touareg the answer? No, not likely. Is it a very nice truck thing? Hell yes. Why not a Cayenne? I don't know, I haven't driven one of them yet. I have driven (and been stranded by) enough DCX products to not consider them much better or more reliable than the questionable Volkswagen.

It's nice to have some banter on the reviews, anyhow. Maybe the Touareg should have received a lower overall rating, but I was really impressed with the way it drove.

Just wait until we're done with the review of the Hybrid Chevy Tahoe we just had...

neon4891
neon4891 UltimaDork
7/18/08 10:38 a.m.

A King Ranch F-250 with a cap on the bed in diesel 4x4 would be $30K less, do more, and be less of a maintanace nightmare. Course if given the coise between a comperable SUV and Crew cab P-up with cap, I would get the truck, its easy to throw grungy things into the bed with out worrying about ruining you interior

Tom Heath
Tom Heath UberDork
12/10/13 12:00 a.m.

As a full-sized SUV with a full-sized price tag, it would be easy for a sports car enthusiast to dismiss the Touareg 2 as an example of everything that's wrong with the new vehicle market today. After taking this 5800 pound freight train around the block, however, it was our preconceptions that were dismissed.

For its $77,880 buy-in, one would expect the amenities to be world-class, and this vehicle doesn't dissapoint. Front seat or rear, comfortable leather appoints every surface, with satisfying tactile feedback from the buttons and switches. No part of the interior treatments feel anything less than first-rate, and if it weren't for its school bus-esque engine note, you might swear you were riding in an Audi or a Porsche.

What surprised us most was the magnificent abundance of torque and well-sorted all-wheel-drive system. The Touareg 2 boasts a whopping 553 lb./ft. of torque and creates a real shock-and-awe display of power when leaving stoplights. We didn't get the chance to really put the truck to work, but it carries a 7700 pound tow rating, making it up to the task of towing your race car to the track without any fuss. The self-leveling suspension felt very composed and did an excellent job of masking the Touareg's blubbery curb weight.

However, no amount of praise can make us forget about the $78,000 hole this rig would put in our bank account. On top of that, the TDI engine only returns 20 mpg on the highway. With Diesel fuel at $4.00 a gallon lately, the TDI's efficiency hardly seems impressive enough to make it a bargain. Volkswagen's history of electrical gremlins makes us cringe at the thought of ownership once the newness has worn off. If money were no object, however, at least one staffer would fill his driveway with one just like it.

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