2012 Volkswagen Touareg

The 2012 Volkswagen Touareg is a luxury midsize SUV, produced by the German manufacturer to appeal to drivers who want a comfortable, economical SUV which can handle most driving conditions.

It is advertised as an all-around vehicle, rather than a true off-roader, but its strong engine and quality construction make it tough enough to deal with most road conditions. The Touareg is also known for its luxurious cabin.

Specifications

General Info
Vehicle Type: SUV Base Price: $43,425.00
Fuel Tank Capacity: 26.4 gallons (100l) MPG: 17 city / 23 hwy
Dimensions
Length: 188.8 in. (479.5 cm) Wheel Base: 113.9 in. (289.3 cm)
Height: 68.2 in. (173.2 cm) Width: 76.4 in. (194 cm)
Curb Weight: 4711 lbs (2136 kg) Ground Clearance: 7.9 in. (20 cm)
Luggage Capacity: 32.1 cu ft Maximum Seating: 5 people
Performance
Engine: 3.6L VR6 DOHC Compression Ratio: 12.0: 1
Horsepower: 280 HP Max RPM: 6200 RPM
Torque: 266 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic
0-60 mph: 7.4 seconds Max Braked Towing: 7716 lbs (3500kgs)
Available Trims & Engine
Option:TDI Sport 3.0L V6 Diesel MSRP: $46,925; MPG: 20 city / 29 hwy
Option:VR6 Lux MSRP: $48,855; MPG: 17 city / 23 hwy
Option:TDI Lux MSRP: $52,930; MPG: 20 city / 29 hwy
Option:VR6 Executive MSRP: $55,155; MPG: 17 city / 23 hwy
Option:Executive TDI MSRP: $58,655; MPG: 20 city / 29 hwy
Option:Hybrid MSRP: $62,055; MPG: 20 city / 24 hwy

Engine & Performance

Although the Volkswagen is quite a heavy car, it offers good performance. The company has tweaked the settings to highlight comfort, rather than sportiness, but even so, the Touareg is capable of reasonably rapid responses when needed.

Power is provided by a 280-horsepower, 3.5-liter, V6 engine; there is an option for a 3.0-liter diesel engine. Acceleration is smooth rather than sporty, but the car responds well in most driving conditions.

The Touareg is less rugged than some of its rivals. However, it is still capable on rough surfaces, with the diesel-powered variant gaining particular praise from drivers, due to its impressive 406 lb ft of torque. Fuel economy is improved over the gasoline-fueled base model, with city/highway mpg of 19/28 in the diesel and 16/23 in the gas version. The engines are fairly quiet.

Exterior

The Touareg's streamline design is restrained, making this a vehicle more suited for drivers who prefer a subtler appearance, rather than those who really want to be the center of attention. Volkswagen ensured to give the Touareg a docile look, instead focusing on making the car look classy and up market.

Interior

This approach extends to the interior. Five adults fit with great comfort, thanks to the Touareg's premium-quality. The seats are leatherette in the basic trim, although full leather is available as an option, while both the navigation system and the eight-speaker sound system are controlled by a touch screen. The rear seat is spacious, with passengers getting more room than in other midsize SUVs.

Safety & Reliability

The Touareg scores well when it comes to safety, having been selected by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety as a "Top Pick" - it achieved maximum "Good" ratings in every one of the four categories used for the assessment. However, the car has not been officially tested by the federal government. Electronic stability control and traction control also make for safer handling, while multiple air bags and all-round disc brakes protect the car's inhabitants.

Reliability is one area where the car does not fare well, with the Vehicle Dependability Study by J. D. Power, the Touareg receives just 2.5 stars out of a possible 5.

Volkswagen's limited warranty lasts for three years or 36,000 miles, which is average, although it does provide owners with complementary roadside assistance. The powertrain is warranted for five years or 60,000 miles, which is still below the class leaders.

Recap

The 2012 Volkswagen Touareg is not an SUV for someone who wants to travel into the depths of the woods or wade across wide rivers. It is expensive, with its price tag higher than its competition.

It is aimed squarely at drivers for whom the top priority is being able to carry their passengers in luxury and safety, and it is therefore likely to appeal to families and those who want a well-appointed and smooth-running SUV in which to spend extended periods.

Competition

The Touareg bravely competes with the likes of the Acura MDX (MSRP $43,280; 16 city / 21 hwy), the BMW X5 xDrive 35i (MSRP $47,500; 16 city / 23 hwy), and of course, the Mercedes Benz ML 350 (MSRP $47,270; 18 city / 23 hwy).

Overall Rating
78 out of 100

What others say:

“Confident driving dynamics; high-class interior; impressive equipment roster; powerful and fuel-efficient engine options; high towing capacity….No third-row seat; spongy brake pedal feel; upper trims get costly.”Edmunds

“The 2012 Volkswagen Touareg offers refined powertrains, excellent interior comfort, as well as a luxurious feel--although it carries a luxury-class price tag for a mainstream brand.”Car Connection

“Unlike its Porsche Cayenne sibling, Touareg is no excitement machine. It handles competently, with good steering feel, and well-controlled body lean in fast corners. Braking control is solid, with the Hybrid having especially good pedal feel for a gas/electric vehicle.”Consumer Guide

“The Touareg is an agile, solid, well-finished SUV with comfortable seats and a plush interior.”MSN Auto-ConsumerReports

“If an on-road dynamic is more important than off-road capability, today's Volkswagen Touareg is one of the better choices in the marketplace…”KBB