The 2014 Volkswagen Touareg ranks as one of the more interesting choices among 5-passenger midsize SUVs. In motion, the Touareg drives more like a sports wagon, and its available diesel-powered V6 and super-quick hybrid models deliver on the promise of performance and outstanding fuel economy.
You'll Like The 2014 Volkswagen Touareg If...
If you’re seeking a credible SUV that can tow and participate in light off-roading, but you want that same vehicle to be civilized and fuel-efficient when it’s on the road, the 2014 VW Touareg makes an excellent choice.
You May Not Like The 2014 Volkswagen Touareg If...
If you need massive cargo and passenger space, or just need to tow more than 7,700 pounds, a full-size SUV such as the Ford Expedition or Nissan Armada is a better choice. A Jeep Grand Cherokee is equally comfortable and capable, but costs a lot less.
For 2014, VW adds a new R-Line trim to the Touareg family, bringing unique interior and exterior features, 20-inch alloy wheels and a sport suspension. A new 360-degree Area View monitor and hands-free, easy-open tailgate are made available on all but the R-Line and Sport trims.
“Tasteful” best sums up the 2014 Volkswagen Touareg’s cabin. The design is restrained and clean but well executed in beautiful materials. It doesn’t have the intricate detailing of an Audi interior, but you can see the family connection. The seating surfaces are V-Tex Leatherette on the Sport trims, and genuine leather on Lux, R-Line and Executive levels (and Hybrid), which also get wood trim. The front seats are supportive, and the 60/40 folding rear bench seat slides fore-aft and reclines. Regardless of trim level, the 2014 Volkswagen Touareg is a pleasing mix of credible comfort, expansive visibility and upscale appointments.
In a process Volkswagen described as “redesign, re-engineer (and) re-imagine,” the VW Touareg shed both substantive weight and visual heft in its 2011 makeover. The result is sheetmetal that appears both trim and urbane; the skin is pulled taut over the wheels and cabin. There are established VW design cues plus a healthy dose of athleticism. The 2014 Touareg leans toward the station-wagon end of the SUV design spectrum in terms of stance and proportions, and the theme suits it.
No matter which VW powertrain motivates the 2014 Touareg SUV, it will be hooked up to an 8-speed automatic transmission sending power to all four wheels via the 4Motion AWD system. Because the Touareg’s platform was developed in conjunction with Audi and Porsche the level of handling and ride compliance dwarfs that of most big SUVs, a remarkable achievement considering the Touareg’s relatively moderate sticker price. With the 3.6-liter VR6 under the hood, the Touareg feels refined, responsive and nimble. But, once you’ve experienced the adrenaline rush from the turbodiesel, or the amazingly quick Hybrid, you’ll likely find the VR6 is suddenly wanting. On the road, the Touareg demonstrates strong brakes, communicative steering and a firm yet comfortable ride. For pure driving enjoyment, we think the Jeep Grand Cherokee comes close, but the VW still has the upper hand.
With a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $45,000 for a base VR6 Sport, the 2014 Touareg supports VW’s value message. However, higher trim levels drive up the price in a hurry. A top-line VR6 Executive runs more than $58,000. Choosing the TDI Clean Diesel power alternative adds $3,500 to any trim. Opting for the innovative supercharged Hybrid technology costs nearly $65,000. Check out KBB’s Fair Purchase Price to see what consumers in your area are paying for the Touareg. To its credit, the Touareg TDI is projected to fully hold its own from a resale standpoint, while Touareg’s gasoline V6 and Hybrid models are a few percentage points below the segment average over three to four years.
All 2014 Touaregs feature VW’s 4Motion AWD system with its adaptive front/rear torque distribution providing great stability and enhanced handling. Dual-zone automatic climate control, 8-way-power and heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, Bluetooth with audio streaming, SiriusXM satellite radio and power outlets (one 115-volt and four 12-volt) are standard across the board. So are six airbags, traction control, stability control, hill-descent assist and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
While the standard 3.6-liter DOHC VR6 is entertaining, those wishing to combine their fun with efficiency can embrace either the 3.0-liter TDI Clean Diesel or supercharged Hybrid. The Navigation option on the Sport trim adds a touch-screen nav system, rearview camera and power liftgate. The higher trim packages – Lux, Executive and Hybrid – include features such as the panoramic sunroof, leather seating, Area View monitor, 12-way-adjustable front seats with memory, 19-inch alloy wheels (in place of the Sport’s 18s) and walnut or vavona wood interior highlights. A rear spoiler and side steps can be added separately.
AREA VIEW MONITOR
This clever system uses cameras at the front, back and under the two side mirrors to create a 360-degree image helping to reduce blind spots and potential accidents.
10-YEAR/100,000-MILE POWERTRAIN WARRANTY
To overcome a perceived gap in its reliability record, VW backs every Touareg engine with a 10-year/100,000-mile warranty, including the Hybrid. The rest of the vehicle gets a 3-year/36,000-mile comprehensive warranty.
Under the Hood
The 2014 VW Touareg’s engine choices are as varied as its trims. The base VR6 is a narrow-angle 3.6-liter engine balancing power, smooth operation and reasonable fuel economy. The TDI turbodiesel V6 produces superior low-end torque and power, yet earns nearly 30 mpg on the highway. The real star in the Touareg lineup is the Hybrid that combines an electric motor and a supercharged gasoline V6 to produce an impressive 333 horsepower. Add the electric motor’s seamless urge and you have an eye-popping total rated output of 380 horsepower and 428 lb-ft of torque. Acceleration is quite surprising and efficiency still excellent. Regardless of engine, all Touaregs use an 8-speed automatic transmission and VW’s 4Motion full-time AWD.
280 horsepower @ 6,200 rpm
266 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23 mpg
3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6
240 horsepower @ 4,000 rpm
406 lb-ft of torque @ 2,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/29 mpg
3.0-liter supercharged V6 + electric motor
380 horsepower (combined)
428 lb-ft of torque (combined)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/24 mpg
Unless you know your nomadic North African tribes, the Touareg’s name won’t mean much to you. However, once you learn what this 5-passenger SUV can do you’ll be singing its praises, goofy name and all. A rigid body paired with a sophisticated all-wheel-drive (AWD) system (in this case VW’s 4Motion) makes the Touareg a formidable off-road explorer while its broad engine choices offer power, economy and technology unavailable on most domestic competitors. Be it the torque-happy turbodiesel or the lightning-quick hybrid, the Touareg will get you where you want and do it in record time. With six possible trim/model combinations from which to choose, it’s hard to imagine anyone willing to drop $40K or more will find much to quibble about in the Touareg.