If you’re looking for a used luxury SUV bargain, I have a surprising suggestion: the Volkswagen Touareg. Most people probably don’t think of Volkswagen when they think "Luxury SUV," but the Touareg was a bona fide luxury SUV — and it’s now a surprisingly good deal.
First, a little Touareg background: The Touareg was sold in the United States in its original form from 2003 to 2010, with a major face-lift in 2008 (enough for Volkswagen to refer to it as the "Touareg 2"). But the one I’m specifically recommending is the second-generation Touareg, which went on sale for the 2011 model year and was recently discontinued. That particular Touareg is especially nice, and more importantly, it has a better reputation for reliability than the earlier model.
When the Touareg came out for the 2011 model year, the original starting price was around $45,500 for a V6 version or around $49,000 if you chose to opt for the fuel-saving V6 TDI. Despite being manufactured by Volkswagen, known for mainstream models, the Touareg was a luxury SUV with a lot of standard equipment, including bi-xenon headlights, 18-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery with power and heated front seats, a power tailgate, a backup camera, dual-zone automatic climate control and a navigation system. That’s an impressive list of equipment, all standard on every Touareg, and you could also add further luxuries like a panoramic sunroof, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, keyless access and bigger wheels.
But the best part of the Touareg is its current value. It’s easy to find used 2014 Touareg models in the mid- to high-$20,000 range, and if you go all the way back to 2011, there are many Touareg models listed for under $15,000. That’s a bargain for a modern luxury SUV with modern amenities — if you can get past the fact that the badge on the front says "Volkswagen" rather than Mercedes-Benz, Audi or BMW.