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2017 Volkswagen Touareg: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader April 2017

The 2017 Volkswagen Touareg midsize crossover is running out of road. The 3-row 2018 VW Atlas arrives sometime in 2017, at a lower price. So that might seem like the final chapter for the 2-row Touareg. But VW 's intention is to supply the United States with many SUV/crossovers, and there are spy shots of an all-new Touareg generation for 2018.

In the meantime, the Touareg asks us to see its VW badge in a different light. A premium light. While most of us tend to lump vehicles like the VW Jetta and Passat in with the rest of the mainstream, the Touareg is something else again. It has refined bones.

The Touareg is built on a platform jointly engineered with Audi and Porsche, who use it for the Q7 and Cayenne, respectively. So this is a truly world-class foundation, offered at thousands of dollars less than models from those high-end brands.

This also makes the Touareg a pleasure to drive. It feels unflustered over freeway slabs and weathered roads alike and tackles trickier surfaces with confidence. The back seat's elevated position, as well as the copious knee- and headroom, also make this one of the best vehicles for long trips with four adults on board. Throw in the 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and you have a crossover SUV with premium virtues.

What's New for 2017?

A Wolfsburg Edition trim replaces the Lux trim. And the formerly entry-level Sport trim has been discontinued. This means some changes in equipment. For example, the new entry-level Sport with Technology trim receives some advanced safety features and a heated steering wheel as standard, and the top Executive trim gets 21-inch alloy wheels.

What We Like

Spacious and upscale interior; responsive handling; 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty

What We Don't

Brand/price disconnect; no USB port; no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto; no third-row seating option

How Much?

$50,405-$61,105

Fuel Economy

The Touareg comes with all-wheel drive and an 8-speed automatic transmission. Its 3.6-liter gasoline V6 is rated at 280 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel consumption at 17 miles per gallon in the city, 23 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg in combined driving.

Standard Features & Options

The 2017 Volkswagen Touareg is available in the Sport with Technology, Wolfsburg Edition and Executive trim levels.

The entry-level Sport with Technology ($50,405) has 18-in alloy wheels, roof rails, a towing package, adaptive bi-xenon headlights, full LED lighting, keyless entry/start, rain-sensing wipers, a hands-free power tail gate with a foot sensor, heated mirrors, a heated/leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel with tilt-telescopic adjustment, heated/8-way power-adjustable front seats, sliding/reclining rear seats, leatherette upholstery, Bluetooth connectivity, dual-zone automatic climate control, navigation and an 8-speaker audio system with digital music storage, an 8-in display, a CD player, iPod integration, an SD card reader, HD Radio and satellite radio. New safety equipment includes a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, parking sensors front and rear, blind spot monitoring, forward-collision warning with autonomous emergency braking, and lane-keeping assistance.

The Wolfsburg Edition ($53,705) adds 20-in alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, leather seating surfaces, ventilated 14-way front seats with driver's-side memory settings, power-folding rear seats and air vents for the second row.

The Executive ($61,105) brings 21-in alloy wheels, heated rear seats, rear sunshades, power-folding exterior mirrors (self-dimming on the driver's side), a power-adjustable steering wheel, an extended overhead-view parking camera and a 10-speaker/620-watt Dynaudio audio setup.

With the rear seats up, there's 32.1 cu ft. of cargo space behind them. Fold them down and that expands to 64 cu ft. Neither figure is remarkable for the class, but the Touareg has the added practical advantage of quite a squared-off shape.

Safety

The Touareg comes with standard stability control, 4-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, six airbags (front, front-side and full-length side-curtain) and the advanced safety features listed above.

Volkswagen also has a post-collision braking system that comes standard in all its vehicles. In the event of one collision, it applies the brakes to prevent (or at least mitigate) a secondary impact. And in light of the high center of gravity that every SUV has, the Touareg includes a rollover-sensor system as part of its stability/traction control.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not crash-tested this vehicle, but the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded the Touareg its highest rating of Good in every major category.

Behind the Wheel

The interior is typical Volkswagen, simple yet full of high-quality materials. Some rivals have a more luxurious feel, but the Touareg's excellent ergonomics and unpretentious character are charming in themselves. The focus here is on functionality. For example, the driver's seat doesn't look particularly impressive, but it offers a wide range of height adjustability, and the bottom cushion tilts independently. The panoramic sunroof brings some welcome light and warmth to this otherwise somber environment, as does the LED ambient illumination.

The driving position is superb, providing great all-around vision, and even the footrest is in the perfect place. The back seat is one of the best in the business. Its range of fore/aft travel is 6.3 inches. The seatbacks recline, and the bottom cushions are high, so thigh support is excellent. There's also plenty of foot room below the front seats.

The steering system is satisfyingly responsive, which is unsurprising given the Touareg's Porsche connection. Although the Touareg feels born for high-speed cruising, it's equally at home on the dirt, where the chassis can exercise its long-travel suspension.

Other Cars to Consider

2017 Acura MDX -- Offers three rows of seating, plenty of equipment for the money, a smooth ride and great resale values.

2017 BMW X5 -- Not cheap, but a state-of-the-art crossover in every respect.

2017 Lexus RX -- Well-made, well-equipped and completely dependable. Yet the driving experience is still rather forgettable.

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class -- What used to be the M-Class is now the GLE. Pricey but with a gorgeous interior and plenty of talent.

Used Porsche Cayenne -- The Cayenne makes even more of this platform, enjoying superior on-road handling and the availability of greater power. Seek out a certified pre-owned (CPO) example to get a decent warranty.

Autotrader's Advice

The Wolfsburg Edition isn't that much more expensive than the entry-level trim and has plenty of luxury touches.

Find a Volkswagen Touareg for sale

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Used 2017 Volkswagen Touareg VR6 Sport w/Technology
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New 2017 Volkswagen Touareg V6
New 2017 Volkswagen Touareg
MSRP $54,615
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New 2017 Volkswagen Touareg VR6 Sport w/Technology
New 2017 Volkswagen Touareg
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Used 2017 Volkswagen Touareg Wolfsburg Edition
Used 2017 Volkswagen Touareg
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2017 Volkswagen Touareg: New Car Review - Autotrader