Volkswagen Touareg (2010 – 2018) Review

Volkswagen Touareg (2010 – 2018) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
If a high driving position, comfortable ride and space for five adults are your priorities, the Volkswagen Touareg should be on your shortlist.

+As comfortable and imperious as a Range Rover, spacious cabin and boot, classy and understated image.

-Not available with seven seats, isn't cheap to run, hybrid and V8 versions best avoided.

Insurance Groups are between 35–46
On average it achieves 78% of the official MPG figure

Launched in 2010, the Volkswagen Touareg is a large SUV that’s able to rub shoulders with the likes of the Range Rover, BMW X5 and Audi Q7. When viewed in the context of its luxury rivals, the relatively high prices start to make more sense, especially if you opt for the improved facelifted version, introduced in 2014. Most versions are powered by a punchy and efficient 3.0-litre V6 TDI engine, while all models get four-wheel-drive as standard. 

The second-generation Volkswagen Touareg is a luxury SUV for those who don’t require a ‘luxury’ badge. Launched in 2010, it picked up where its predecessor left off, building on its strengths and eliminating some of its flaws. It shares a platform with the Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7, so there’s no doubting its pedigree. It’s also large enough and sufficiently luxurious to rival a Range Rover.

Opt for a facelifted version, launched in 2014, and the Volkswagen Touareg still looks contemporary today. Understated, almost elegant and certainly less aggressive than some of its rivals with more premium badges. The cabin is rich in quality and loaded with neat details, feeling a step up from other Volkswagen models.

Unlike some SUVs of this size, the Touareg doesn’t offer the option of seven seats. But while this limits its appeal in terms of family buyers, the result is an SUV that offers seating for five adults, with ample space in the boot for their luggage. Regardless of where you’re sitting, you’ll find plenty of room for your heads, shoulders, knees and toes. Other children’s songs are available.

In the front, the driver and passenger will enjoy a commanding view of the road ahead, a dashboard that’s finished in premium materials, and supremely comfortable seats. The 580-litre boot is vast, while folding the rear seats – which can be operated via a control panel in the boot – gives the Touareg enough space to rival a large estate car.

On the road, the Touareg prioritises comfort over agility. All models come with 4Motion four-wheel drive, which provides reassurance in all weathers. Air suspension is an option, taking the already excellent ride quality to another level. The way it deals with corners and potholes is impressive, with the overall effect falling between a Cayenne and a Q7. The best of both worlds, if you like.

Most buyers opted for the 3.0-litre V6 TDI engine, which offers a terrific blend of acceleration, torque and economy. There are three versions: 204PS, 245PS and 262PS, all paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Regardless of the output, the 3.0 V6 TDI is the engine of choice in the Touareg.

The 4.2-litre V8 TDI is amusing but rare, while the 3.0-litre V6 TSI Hybrid, while quick, doesn’t offer the fuel economy you’d expect and demand from a hybrid powertrain. Both are best avoided when buying a used Touareg.

You could argue that the Volkswagen Touareg is stuck between a rock and a hard place in the large SUV segment. It lacks the premium badge desired by many buyers, but isn’t cheap enough to rival the more mainstream players in the sector. Your neighbours might think you’ve bought a fat Volkswagen Tiguan.

Maybe that’s its biggest strength. For buyers who aren’t fussed about having the ‘right’ badge, but would like a touch more luxury than the mainstream models can offer, the Touareg is an obvious choice. It’s a Range Rover for people who don’t want a Range Rover (or to venture too far off-road).

Ask Honest John

Should I use Shell V-Power for 2016 Volkswagen Touareg?
"I am purchasing a 2016 Volkswagen Touareg R Line. Is there any benefit in using Shell V-Power diesel with this car? Also, at the end of each journey will the turbo engine need to idle before being switching off?"
We'd recommend using the odd tank of V-Power diesel on older models as it contains detergents that help remove carbon buildup in the fuel system. For such a new car it's unlikely to make a huge difference - but you may see slightly increased performance and fuel economy by using it. It can be a good idea to let the engine idle for 10-20 seconds before switching off as it'll help cool and lubricate the turbocharger for longevity.
Answered by Lawrence Allan
Is buying an older hybrid a bad choice?
"Partly because I love the model and partly because I think they (presently) fly under the ULEZ radar, I was contemplating buying a petrol or hybrid Volkswagen Touareg Mk2. The one I have seen and fancy has about 50,000 on the clock, air suspension, adaptive cruise control; the lot really. It's a 2011 model for £16,000. Would this be a crazy buy in your view or a decent deal? The car has relatively old technology now and the battery may be a bit rubbish. Is that something I could swap over to a newer one? I have had 3.0-litre diesel versions of this model and they are superb. I do not like the new version but felt this could be a decent cost-effective compromise. Many thanks."
The Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid sold in small numbers when it was new. It was expensive and - at the time - there were fewer incentives to buy a hybrid over a diesel. Today, they make more sense but, as used examples are rare, they tend to attract strong money. I'd say that £16k is at the upper end of what this car is worth, but the low mileage and high specification probably contributes to that. I'd be a little bit worried about the long-term reliability of such a complex SUV. As an alternative, have you considered a Lexus RX 450h? There are more on the market, Lexus has more experience with hybrid technology, and owners are generally extremely satisfied.
Answered by Andrew Brady
What's the best vehicle to tow our twin-axle caravan?
"We are looking to buy a vehicle to tow our twin-axle caravan. Preferably two to three years old. We have about £25k to spend. What can you recommend?"
We'd suggest a Volkswagen Touareg with the 3.0-litre TDI engine. It has a maximum towing capacity of 3500kg and has lots of torque which makes towing a breeze.WeI'd recommend looking for one with the optional air suspension. Your budget will get you a late example of the last-generation model.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Should I keep my four-year old Volkswagen Touareg or replace it?
"After four years and 60k trouble free miles I am wondering whether to trade in my 2014 Volkswagen Touareg. Its a lovely car and suits our needs perfectly in terms of its comfort, its huge internal capacity and for towing. I've taken a big hit on depreciation so do you think it best to keep it and amortise or move on to a newer model. If I keep it what steps should I take to keep it in tip top condition please? I already use the best quality diesel available."
There are not many other reliable SUVs with a 3500kg towing capacity. Run it solely on Superdiesel, preferably Shell V-Power. Have an oil service every year or every 10k miles whichever comes first and a brake fluid change every two years. The DPFs need regular long runs.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a Volkswagen Touareg (2010 – 2018) cost?