Diesel Car Review: 2014 VW Touareg TDI

The VW Touareg is the one SUV that people can’t readily say or spell.  Is it Toor-egg?  Or Toir-egg?  Tom-a-to?  Or Tom-ah-to?

Who cares about spelling?  We care about giddy-up and value.

As you should already know, one man’s Touareg is another woman’s Cayenne.  And they’re both close cousins to the Audi Q5.  As much as I like the VW, it has a value problem.  You see, the higher you get in the Touareg line, the price differential between it and a Q5 or a Cayenne starts to catch up.  Primarily because VW sells a lot less Touaregs. Our own New Vehicle Configurator puts the VW’s “True Market Value” at $56,665, with minimal upgrades.  An Audi Q5 has a “True Market Value” of $52,000 including the optional Prestige package.  And the “TMV” for a 2014 Porsche Cayenne diesel with no upgrades is $54,995.

I don’t think anyone would think worse of you if you wanted an Audi or Porsche instead.

The New Volkswagen Touareg

But…if you bumble upon one of these in the used car market, you will have found the proverbial diamond in the rough.  Using our “Find the True Market Value” Tool, you will find that dealer retail in the 60202 ZIP for a 2013 VW Touareg Diesel is $37,000 (you can plug in your own ZIP to get local pricing).  There’s no dealer retail info for the 2013 Q5 TDI, as it is considered new.  The tool says dealer retail for a 2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel is $46,000.

So if you have to buy new, the Audi wins based on price.  If you don’t need a new car, you can do quite well with the VW Touareg.

Now let’s look at the new 5-passenger VW SUV from two different directions.  The first, in the video above from Autobytel.com; and the second from a review that appeared at Autoweek.com. Autobytel looks at the powerful R-Line version, and Autoweek covers the sumptuous Lux version.

For 2014, the Touareg comes with 4 different turbo-diesel engines, with the most powerful is a 4.2 liter V-8.  That particular demon-spawn engine isn’t available in the US, yet.  But if you believe the reviewer in the video above, what we get in the US is not too shabby:


This is a 3-liter turbo-diesel motor.  It’s good for 240 horsepower, which is all right; but it’s good for 406 pound-feet of torque.  Let that sink in. That is a monumental number which is a lot of torque.

Autoweek.com’s experience with the engine is pretty similar:

The best thing about the Touareg is its lust-worthy powertrain; it’s completely unflappable in any situation, feels like it could pull a house down the street, and makes the Touareg flat-out quick if you need it to be. There’s zero diesel smell, only the slightest clatter from under the hood, and I regularly achieved 25 mpg in mixed driving — outstanding for this class of vehicle.

So…you can get yourself out of trouble in the push of your right foot in a Touareg.  And you’ll get some great gas mileage as well.

The V-6 is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission featuring a coast function. Unlike what you did in school, this feature allows the Touareg to squeeze even more out of a gallon of fuel.  It is kind of like putting the transmission in neutral while driving (remember those days?).  When the throttle isn’t engaged, the engine decouples from the transmission, and kinetic energy propels you forward until you need to accelerate.  When you do, the connection re-establishes itself–without the “whamp” that you normally get when slipping the tranny back into “Drive”.  Less demand on the engine, better MPG, easier on the body.

When it comes to interior, the Autobytel.com guy was impressed.  One of the guys at Autoweek.com said:

2014 VW Touraeg sunroof

Likewise, the interior refinement is solidly in Audi territory with leather, wood, metal and soft-touch materials lining every conceivable surface. The enormous panoramic moonroof opens up the interior, and unlike some large crossovers, the Touareg has a relatively low beltline for excellent visibility all around.

Another writer chimes in:

I have to agree that things appear and feel near Audi-grade inside with quality finishes and materials. Front seats are flat, but still comfortable. The central touchscreen is responsive and intuitive, while a tasteful number of standard buttons remain to switch between entertainment and navigation menus.

Der neue Volkswagen Touareg

But at the end of the day, value reigns supreme for the Autoweek crew:

2014 VW Touareg cargo space

The Touareg has always been a pricier option in the five-passenger SUV field, punching in above the likes of the Ford Explorer and Jeep Grand Cherokee. I’ll admit that its higher-grade interior surroundings and more buttoned up ride quality are worth a small premium, but I’m not sure the extra cheddar that VW is asking for is worth it. 







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Sebastian James


Accept no substitutes

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