Test Drive Notes Library
- Solid, high-end feel. Feels as good on the road, and inside the cabin, as a comparable Mercedes, Audi, or BMW.
- Quiet, comfortable. The inside of the Touareg feels like the inside of a luxury car. It’s very quiet, except for some not-unpleasant engine noise during harder acceleration. It feels tank-like solid on the road. Front seats are excellent, and even the rear seats are comfortable, with great room for two and passable room for a third in the middle.
- Great highway cruiser, easy power, tracks perfectly at high speed on highway curves.
- Ride is firm but comfortable. You’ll feel the occasional bump, but it’s not going to upset any dental work.
- Plenty of power from a 280 hp 3.6 liter V6. Eight-speed transmission is mostly smooth and flawless.
- You can actually see something out the back. For those who like to throw your right arm behind the passenger seat and turn around to back up, you’ll be surprised to find you can actually see something out the rear window. It’s not perfect, because large D pillars block the view to the sides back there, and the rear headrests obscure some stuff. But compared to other recent vehicles we’ve driven, you can actually tell where the back of the car is. To supplement, a very good backup camera with a separate, “birds-eye”- style view from above makes parking and backing up easy.
- Clean, airy, high-end interior, with fairly simple, clear controls. We noticed a few pieces of hard plastic next to the center console and on the inside door handle. But most of the cabin materials are high-end, softer plastics, and leather.
- Modern safety features now available. For $2,500, VW will sell you a package of safety features that are well worth having. Included in the package are adaptive cruise control, that will actually stop and start the car to move along in traffic, and a pre-collision braking system that will sense if you’re not braking when you should, and apply the brakes for you — even bringing the Touareg to a complete stop if you're that engrossed in your texting.
- Blind spot monitors (part of the optional safety package) seem particularly well placed on the insides of the exterior side view mirrors. They did the job and were easily visible without being obtrusive. You can even adjust the brightness.
Test Drive Notes Library
- The price, as tested, is $62,000. You can get a BMW X5 for that price, or a Mercedes GLC, and a lot of people will want that dollop of snob appeal if they’re plunking down that kind of schcarole. The fact that the Touareg matches up well with those cars won’t matter to those people. However, if you’re someone who wants to drive a luxury SUV, but doesn’t want your employees to know you’re paying yourself 100 times what they make, the Touareg is a way to get the ride you want without being showy.
- Going along with that, the styling is very traditional, some would say bland. It’s handsome in a very plain way. Again, it’s going to go under the radar.
- It’s a heavy vehicle. That’s mostly not a problem, although you do feel the momentum of that weight at times on sharp turns or when braking from high speed.
- EPA mileage rating is a nothing-to-write-home-about: 17 city, 23 highway, 19 overall.
- It’s a step up to get in the Touareg. Older folks may object to the grab and climb, and you have to go up and forward a bit to place yourself in the rear seat.
- The key fob is huge. Automakers seem to be competing for the most prestigious key fob. We’d like to see them compete, like cell phone makers were for years, for the smallest, thinnest fob possible. Wouldn’t that be nice? Maybe a card you could slip into your wallet? Walking around with this Touareg key fob in your pocket, people think you stole a can of sardines.
- VW still hasn’t come into the modern era with phone and device connectivity. They still offer only their proprietary media connector that comes equipped to hook up an iPhone 4— which nobody buying a $62,000 car still has. Even their kids have iPhone 5s now. VW says there’s an adapter for phones up to the iPhone 5s. But that’s still behind the times, and you may want to wait until they offer a USB connection. We couldn’t even charge a phone on a long trip.
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