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March 2005
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2005 Volkswagen Touareg V6

The Good:  Bold and smooth style.  German ergonomics.  Beautiful wood, aluminum, and soft leather.  Rides great and is easy to control.  This is the perfect mid sized SUV.

The Bad: Could use better navigation system like Audi A8's.  Gas mileage is a low 16 mpg average. 

            The Touareg is perhaps one of the finest SUV's on the planet and one which has attracted little attention from the large number of SUV buyers here in good ol' USA.  While sales are good, they are not on the likes of the larger number of American SUVs we see on the roads every day.  The limited number of Touareg's found on the road can easily be witnessed in daily driving.  Why has this award winning SUV not grabbed the attention of car buyers like the Miata did?

            The Touareg for 2005 offers some new features packed into an already great package.  The most important item is the increase in engine horsepower for the V6 model tested here.  Non-air suspension models also feature a slightly lower ride height for easier entry and exit.

            If you read our past articles about the Touareg you will surely learn that this is one of our favorite cars.  This V6 has become even better with the addition of 20 more horsepower to a total of 240 horsepower at 6,000 rpm.  This engine also makes 229 lbs-ft. of torque at 3,200 rpm.  Ideally, the Touareg needs 300 horsepower to lug around its two tons of weight, if you want to have some fun.  Considering that most drivers will just commute to work and back on a congested highway, 240 horses should be plenty.  In the future watch for 300 horsepower V6 engines just as can be found in many Japanese cars today.

            The ride in the Touareg V6 is smooth and luxurious.  The great feeling inside of a wide and stable platform makes for a perfect SUV, not too large or too small.  The six-speed transmission offers more gears than competitors as well as very smooth shifting.  Push the lever to the S sport mode and you have a more aggressive shift pattern that holds gears longer before downshifting.  You can also manually change gears by way of an up or down motion on the gearshift lever. 

Inside, overall cabin space is very good and the adjustable front powered seats are a must have option. The rear seats offer a bit more legroom than the comparable Porsche Cayenne but trunk space is decreased by just that much.  Xenon headlights are good, but not as bright as those in the Cayenne.  Inside a glowing instrument panel was hard to take your eyes off.  The instrument cluster alone makes you want to drive endlessly at night, with everything glowing a wonderful white color with hints of blue and red.  The Touareg also offers more standard equipment as compared to the Cayenne, such as dual automatic climate control and a roof rack. 

Our model with the optional air suspension offered a supremely supple feeling while driving.  For all those out there wanting to know what the Cayenne feels like compared to the Touareg, we can surely tell you that this is a big difference behind the wheel.  The Touareg is more luxurious with softer seats, more legroom in back, and an overall softer ride.  Even setting the air suspension into Sport mode could not delivery the firmness felt in a Cayenne with standard suspension components.  The feeling of being one with the road and having a sense of all four tires is what the Cayenne is nearly perfect at delivering.  The Touareg on the other hand has a softer steering response and little road feeling transmitted through the wheel. 

The difference felt by changing from Sport to Comfort settings in the air suspension is very subtle.  Only those driving on bumpy roads or taking sharp corners will likely feel the difference.  Set the suspension into Auto and the car handles well all the time and keeps bumps from reaching your seat.  Nevertheless, having an air suspension will make a world of difference if you want a car that is very smooth, much like a Phaeton sedan.  Not to mention the ability to ride from 6.3 inches to a possible stump-jumping 11.8 inches. 

            Testing the Touareg in deep snow and on slippery surfaces revealed a very competent SUV.  The standard tires are very good for most heavy snow conditions, unlike the standard tires found on a Cayenne.  The Cayenne slips and slides and cannot make it up a bank of snow one foot deep with its standard set of tires.  The Touareg can do the job easily.  The 4-motion four-wheel drive system works very quietly and performs great.  If one side of the vehicle has no traction, the car still heads straight with no loss of power.  When braking on icy conditions, the ABS system along with the host of other electronic safety features keeps the Touareg going straight.  We were amazed at how well the traction control system worked when we got the car loose while driving forward on ice and snow.  The system applied braking power to the front right wheel, then the rear left wheel and kept the car going in a straight line.  It all works quickly and seamlessly without aggressive input from the driver.  This is truly a world-class automobile with world-class safety features not found in most vehicles on the road.

            Driving through deep mud, sand, and up steep rocks also reveals an incredibly versatile SUV.  The air suspension helps The Touareg get through anything and keeps you in a stable and comfortable vehicle at all times.  Having a fully lockable differential at the touch of a button is also a big bonus.  You can do things like rock climbing, river crossing, and mud slinging anytime you want.

            The feeling of solidity in the Touareg is something that is hard to match.  The only SUV that matches the tank like feeling of the Touareg is the Porsche Cayenne.  Cars like the BMW X5 and the Lexus RX do not compare at all.  You feel as if you are in a tank in the Touareg, the doors shut very solid, the large fenders, and rounded appearance is all hinting of the strong nature of this vehicle.  Yes the Lexus has nice wood trim and very soft leather seats as well as a better DVD navigation system and turning xenon headlamps but this is really where it all ends.  On daily driving the Touareg is a great driver's car and you know it has been tested at the super high speeds on the autobahn, something Lexus cannot claim.  We did wish that VW would do something about the navigation system with its old and dated looking menus and screen.  Especially when a great system is available in the Audi A8 and VW Phaeton, why they don't the Audi system in all VW group vehicles is a mystery to us.  Ideally the Touareg would be the perfect SUV if it had available the latest electronic gizmos like DVD navigation system, rear backup camera, turning xenon headlights, Bluetooth telephone capability, and Voice activated controls.

Missing some techno wizardry could be one of the main reasons flocking SUV buyers do not choose the VW Touareg as much as we and VW would like.  The other main reason is likely the utter lack of experience dealing with a high-end client walking into a VW dealership.  Walk into a VW dealer and the same person who sells $15,000 Golf's is likely to great you.  We would much rather have a dedicated person sit you down, offer you food and drinks, and then take you on a long test drive through curvy back roads as well a short off-road course.  Dealers also do not stock cars equipped with the best features available in the Touareg. What is on the lot is usually something that most customers do not want and ordering a car puts you in a two month wait while Lexus dealerships usually stock a fully loaded Lexus RX with navigation package, one of only two options available.  People spending over $30,000 want a car with electronics such as navigation, as well as power seats, and many other options found in the Touareg line-by-line. 

            Marketing is also another area that VW needs help with.  All I can remember about a Touareg add is seeing a car try to jump into a pile of snow and then seeing a Touareg fly right through it.  Now that does not signify luxury or point to the full capabilities of the vehicle.  Lexus on the other hand shows technology and refinement; even the announcers voice is 'high end'.  Now VW needs to join the luxury car party or it will never make it in this arena.  Just look at the sales of the Phaeton and you will know what I am talking about.  What are the marketing and ad guys doing over at there at VW?   I don't want to look like a geek, or a wimp, or a crazy nut screaming at other drivers in my VW, I want to be thought of as rich, intelligent, and above the rest in my Touareg or Phaeton. 

Apply the modifications I suggest above and VW should see much improved sales, I guarantee it.  The Touareg is an amazing car with amazing safety features and it if all SUV's on the road were Touareg's we would all be safer and better drivers.  Shouldn't we all have a car with advanced safety features like front and side-impact airbags and a side curtain protection supplemental restraint system that deploys head-protecting airbags to cover side glass in front and rear.  All Touareg's also come with a load management system that automatically unlocks doors, disables the alternator, switches off the fuel supply and all high-power electrical components and turns on the emergency flashers when any of the airbags deploy.  Now these are things we should all have in the year 2005 and I believe that with better marketing VW could sell millions of these cars. 



Base Pricing 33,733 37,140
Destination 615 615
Premium Pkg II V6
Includes Manual Rear Sun Shades, Cricket Leather Seat Trim, Dual 12-Way Power Seat Adjusters w/Driver's Memory, Dual Heated Power Mirrors w/Memory, O/S Automatic Day/Night Mirrors & Center Console Wood Trim.
2,155 2,440
Suspension, 4-Corner Air V6 2,296 2,600
Premium Pkg   Include Inside & O/S Automatic Day/Night Mirrors, LH Mirror & Driver's Seat Memory, Garage Door Opener, Dual Power Folding Mirrors & Light Sensor Pkg. 1,469 1,650
Tire Pressure Monitor 398 450
Navigation/Sound System Pkg II 2,341 2,650
Equipment Pkg #1  V6 Includes Sound System I Radio & Bi-HID Headlamps 1,219 1,350
Equipment Pkg #2 V6 Includes Premium Pkg II.
2,155 2,440
Equipment Pkg #3  V6 Includes Equipment Pkg #2 Plus Sound System I Radio & Bi-HID Headlamps.
3,259 3,690
Equipment Pkg #4 All Models Include Park Distance Control.
V6 Includes All Models Equipment Plus Equipment Pkg #2 Plus Navigation/Sound System Pkg II & Bi-HID Headlamps.
5,687 6,440
Equipment Pkg #5  All Models Include Equipment Pkg #4.
V6 Includes All Models Equipment Plus 4-Corner Air Suspension & Limited Slip Rear Axle.
7,983 9,040


  2005 Volkswagen Touareg
V6 AWD 4dr SUV (3.2L 6cyl 6A)
2005 BMW X5
3.0i AWD 4dr SUV (3.0L 6cyl 6M)
2005 Infiniti FX35
AWD 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)
2005 Lexus RX 330
4dr AWD SUV (3.3L 6cyl 5A)
2005 Porsche Cayenne
Tiptronic AWD 4dr SUV (3.2L 6cyl 6A)
MSRP $37,140 $41,700 $36,450 $37,425 $44,100
Invoice $33,733 $38,125 $33,513 Being Researched Being Researched
Basic 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 4 yr. / 60000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi.
Base Engine Type & Cylinders V6 inline 6 V6 V6 V6
Base Engine Displacement 3.2 liters 3.0 liters 3.5 liters 3.3 liters 3.2 liters
Valvetrain 24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
24 Valves
double overhead cam (DOHC)
Horsepower 240 hp @ 6000 rpm 225 hp @ 5900 rpm 280 hp @ 6200 rpm 230 hp @ 5600 rpm 247 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque 229 ft-lbs. @ 3200 rpm 214 ft-lbs. @ 3500 rpm 270 ft-lbs. @ 4800 rpm 242 ft-lbs. @ 3600 rpm 229 ft-lbs. @ 2500 rpm
Tires P255/60HR17
all season
all season
all season
mud and snow
Being Researched
Wheels alloy rims
17 x 7.5 in.
alloy rims
17 x 7.5 in.
alloy rims
18 x 8.0 in.
alloy rims
17 x 6.5 in.
alloy rims
17 x 7.5 in.
Turning Circle 38.1 ft. 39.7 ft. 38.7 ft. 37.4 ft. 39 ft.
City 16 mpg. 15 mpg. 16 mpg. 18 mpg. 15 mpg.
Highway 20 mpg. 21 mpg. 22 mpg. 24 mpg. 19 mpg.
City 422 mi. 365 mi. 381 mi. 346 mi. 396 mi.
Highway 528 mi. 510 mi. 524 mi. 461 mi. 502 mi.
Length 187.2 in. 183.7 in. 189.1 in. 186.2 in. 188.2 in.
Width 75.9 in. 73.7 in. 75.8 in. 72.6 in. 75.9 in.
Height 68 in. 67.5 in. 65 in. 66.1 in. 66.9 in.
Weight 5086 lbs. 4652 lbs. 4268 lbs. 4065 lbs. 4785 lbs.
Wheel Base 112.4 in. 111 in. 112.2 in. 106.9 in. 112.4 in.
Ground Clearance 8.3 in. 7.1 in. 7.6 in. 7.48 in. 8.5 in.
Interior Touareg X5 FX35 RX 330 Cayenne
Front Headroom 38.7 in. 39.9 in. 39.6 in. 39.3 in. 39.6 in.
Rear Headroom 38.3 in. 38.5 in. 39.3 in. 38.6 in. 38.5 in.
Front Shoulder Room 57.7 in. 58 in. 56.9 in. 57.9 in. 58.5 in.
Rear Shoulder Room 57.4 in. 57.2 in. 57.4 in. 57.1 in. 56.7 in.
Front Leg Room 41.3 in. 39.3 in. 43.9 in. 42.5 in. 40.6 in.
Rear Leg Room 35.6 in. 35.4 in. 35.2 in. 36.4 in. 36 in.



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