Chris Miller road tests and reviews the 2013 Volkswagen Touareg.
The Volkswagen Touareg is a comfortable, capable machine with plenty of luxury appointments and great road manners
The 3.0 litre turbo diesel V6 developing 150kw & 400Nm pulls the 2153kg Touareg around easily, and returns surprisingly good economy. With the aid of a stop start system, our test vehicle drank 9.1 litres of diesel per 100km, not too far off the claimed 7.2 litres per 100km.
Mated to an eight speed automatic, the engine is one of the smoothest diesels around, happy to spin to the 5000rpm red line with no hint of coarseness. The gearbox is intuitive and is happy to kick down when the need arises regardless of what mode you find yourself in.
In Sports mode the gears are held longer & there is a touch more violence involved in the changes, while the standard mode evokes softer changes and a want to change up the gearbox sooner rather than later.
The ride in the 2013 Volkswagen Touareg is superbly comfortable on 55 profile tyres, disposing with pot holes and dodgy road surfaces without cabin disturbances and providing a smooth supple ride, yet the Touareg remains remarkably nimble and agile.
Sure footed at speed, the Touareg can be punted along with a bit of aggression through corners. While there is the expected body roll, the chassis has inherently good balance and the steering is communicative and decently weighted at speed, while remaining light in the car park.
The base model 150TDi misses out on a low range box for the serious off road stuff, but the Touareg is confident on the gravel & can be switched to an off road mode which includes hill decent control. It’ll pull just about anything too, rated to tow a braked 3500kg.
Built at the Bratislava plant in Slovakia, build quality is up to German standards. Noise suppression is also a highlight; in fact the biggest annoyance in the cabin of the Volkswagen Touareg was the noise of the keys rattling in the ignition, it’s remarkably quiet.
Headroom is excellent, as is legroom in both the front and the back; there’s a real sense of space inside the Touareg, and with all seats folded flat cargo space is a whopping 1642 litres.
The interior finish is first class. It’s obvious the Audi parts bins have been raided to up the luxury quotient. The dash is straight out of the Audi A7 with the speedo & tacho dials bordering a central high resolution digital display (Multi Function Display) with graphics reminiscent of an iPhone. Materials used are of the highest order manufactured using so-called ‘slush’ technology, meaning all plastics are high quality and soft to touch.
Standard features in the base model Touareg 150TDI include heated electric leather seats, park assist (front & rear), cruise control, Bi-Xenon headlights with dynamic cornering lights & LED daytime lights, dual zone climate control and a 6½” touch screen display that controls the decent audio system & Bluetooth telephone & music streaming services.
It’s fair to say the Touareg is well equipped, although the option list (see below) is big and includes a ludicrously priced $4,900 Sat Nav system amongst other things. You’re unlikely to be disappointed with the base model though, and at $62,990 (before on roads) it’s more expensive than the Jeep Grand Cherokee, but also more refined. The same goes for the Volvo XC90, which is similarly priced but really showing its age in comparison to the Volkswagen.
There is a big jump to the BMW X5 & Mercedes Benz ML Class in terms of price, but not necessarily in terms of capability. In fact, while the Touareg doesn’t quite have the brand cache of the Benz & BMW, it can do everything else just as well, and in some instances, does a better job.
The 2013 Volkswagen Touareg makes a lot of sense; with a competitive price, good looks and a great on road experience, the Touareg has to be at the top of the list for anyone shopping for a luxury family SUV.
NUTS and BOLTS
Engine: 3.0 litre turbo diesel developing 150kW and 400Nm
Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic
Safety: Five stars
Warranty: 3 years
Price: From $62,990
For further information, please see Recalls and faults: Volkswagen 7P Touareg.