The 2015 Volkswagen Touareg splits the difference between mainstream and luxury. With an enjoyable driving experience, a roomy interior, and surprisingly good off-road capability, the Touareg is a multi-purpose vehicle that's worth learning the funny name of (say "tour-egg"). This year, Volkswagen adds a few styling tweaks, as well as new driver-assist technologies – much-needed enhancements in this competitive segment.
You'll Like The 2015 Volkswagen Touareg If...
The Volkswagen Touareg targets those who want a good-sized family hauler with light off-road capability, but also crave the driving dynamics and civilized nature one gets from a German vehicle. If that sounds like you, the 2015 VW Touareg is just the ticket.
You May Not Like The 2015 Volkswagen Touareg If...
If your plans include more than five people, humungous cargo space, or towing something heavier than 7,700 pounds, then a full-size SUV like the GMC Yukon Denali may be a better call. Lower-end models of the Jeep Grand Cherokee give up little comfort, and cost much less.
The 2015 VW Touareg adds a slight revision to the front and rear styling, new taillights, and revised wheel designs. More importantly, it finally gets driver-assist technology like adaptive cruise control, lane assist, collision warning with automatic braking, and blind-spot detection. The sporty R Line is dropped.
The new VW Touareg offers up a tastefully appointed interior, with a clean and restrained design that's carefully assembled with excellent materials. While it lacks the intricate details of a luxury brand like Audi or BMW, it feels far higher-end than a typical family hauler. Sport models get V-Tex Leatherette, while Lux and Executive levels (and Hybrid) get real leather and wood trim. There are supportive seats in front, 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 comfort, visibility and upscale appointments.
The subtle changes made to the 2015 Volkswagen Touareg are only apparent when it's parked next to last year's SUV. The grille has four bars now instead of two, the badge is placed more prominently, and the lower bumper houses redesigned fog lights. The new headlights feature standard xenon high and low beams, and adaptive lighting that points the headlights in the direction the car's turning. In the rear are new LED taillights across the board, and chrome accents that run across the bumper and around the entire vehicle. The profile remains unmistakably Touareg though, and that's a good thing.
Three engine choices confront the potential VW Touareg buyer, and all of them have their merits. The SUV's standard 3.6-liter VR6 engine offers up decent power, and feels refined and nimble. However, it's quickly forgotten when you feel the low-end-torque pull of the 3.0-liter turbodiesel engine, or the unexpected acceleration of the Touareg Hybrid which, with 380 combined horsepower, is the hot rod of the lineup. All Touareg models come standard with an 8-speed automatic transmission and Volkswagen's 4Motion all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, taking some of the guesswork out of ordering. Whatever engine you choose, the VW Touareg offers up a refined and comfortable ride, with strong brakes and good steering. That's no surprise, as the Touareg was developed jointly with VW's corporate cousins, Audi and Porsche. That said, the Jeep Grand Cherokee was developed jointly with Mercedes-Benz, and comes pretty close, but the VW Touareg has the edge.
Prices on a 2015 Volkswagen Touareg with the standard V6 start at about $45,600 for the Sport model, including the $910 destination charge, and range all the way up to $59,600 for the Executive trim. On the other end of the spectrum, the loaded Touareg Hybrid costs a whopping $68,000. We think the TDI diesel splits the difference nicely. Starting at $53,000 for a Sport/Technology, you get more power and better fuel economy than the standard V6, but without the price wallop of the Hybrid. The Touareg is price competitive at the higher end of the mainstream spectrum against SUVs such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland. Whatever model you prefer, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area paid for the Touareg. Over time, the Touareg TDI should hold its own in resale value, while the V6 and Hybrid models are a bit below average.
Every 2015 Touareg comes standard with VW's 4Motion AWD system with its adaptive front/rear torque distribution. Base models also come standard with features like 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, including the same kind of 115-volt outlet you have in your house. So are six airbags, traction control, stability control, hill-descent assist and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
The standard engine is fine, but if you're looking for added efficiency plus more power, the 3.0-liter TDI Clean Diesel and Touareg Hybrid deserve your attention. Other options include a navigation system, an Area View monitor that gives a birds-eye view of the Touareg during parking maneuvers, and a hands-free power liftgate that works by waving your foot under the rear bumper when the key is in your pocket. The higher trim packages – Lux, Executive and Hybrid – include a panoramic sunroof, leather seating, 12-way-adjustable front seats with memory, 19-inch alloy wheels wood interior accents.
AREA VIEW MONITOR
It seems to us that all large SUVs like the VW Touareg should have this kind of camera system. By using a camera in front, back and one under each side mirror, the Touareg projects a 360-degree image onto the screen to make parking a snap.
10-YEAR/100,000-MILE POWERTRAIN WARRANTY
Volkswagen is taking a page from the Hyundai/Kia playbook with a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty on its vehicles, including the Hybrid, all in an effort to combat the perception that VWs suffer from reliability problems. The rest of the vehicle gets a 3-year/36,000-mile comprehensive warranty.
Under the Hood
The standard engine in the 2015 VW Touareg is all Volkswagen: a 3.6-liter narrow-angle V6 engine known as the VR6. It offers up smooth operation and acceptable fuel economy, but its 280 horsepower provides only adequate thrust against the Touareg's 4,700 pounds. If you're looking for more grunt in your SUV, the TDI turbodiesel V6 puts out nearly as much horsepower and far more low-end torque, all while managing nearly 30 mpg on the highway. But the real star is the Touareg Hybrid, which combines an electric motor and a supercharged gasoline V6 to produce an impressive combined 380 horsepower, and more torque than even the diesel, making the Hybrid the sportiest Touareg. 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 @ 3.400 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
Is the 2015 Volkswagen Touareg an affordable luxury SUV, or an expensive mainstream SUV? It depends on your point of view, but no matter what, this big 5-passenger SUV offers a blend of German driving dynamics, off-road capability, and day-to-day utility that's tough to find anywhere else. This year, Volkswagen adds a few styling tweaks, plus driver-assist technologies like adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist, which are much-needed enhancements in this competitive market. The new tech combines with already proven positives, such as the choice of a gasoline, diesel or hybrid drivetrain, and an all-wheel-drive system that gives the Touareg better-than-expected off-road capability. If you're already considering a $40,000-plus SUV like the Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited, the VW Touareg is worth a look.