2007 Volkswagen Touareg DOHC V6 Review


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2007 Volkswagen Touareg

THE AUTO PAGE
By JOHN HEILIG

SPECIFICATIONS

Model: 2007 Volkswagen Touareg DOHCV6
Engine: 3.6-liter
V6 Horsepower/Torque: 276 hp @ 6200 rpm/266 lb.-ft. @ 2500 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic with manual mode
Wheelbase: 112.4 in.
Length x Width x Height: 187.2 x 75.9 x 68.0 in.
Tires: 255/60R17 H
Cargo volume: 71.0 cu. ft.
Economy: 16 mpg city/20 mpg highway/16.7 mpg test
Price: $45,840(includes $670 destination charge)

AssetsPlenty of power with superior rear leg room.

Debits Pricey. Competes with higher-end SUVs from BMW and Lexus.

There are several versions of the Volkswagen Touareg (and I wish they’d get a more “normal” name). there’s the bottom-of-the-line V6-powered version, a DOHC V8-powered version, and a turbocharged V10 version. Our tester is the V6, and from my week behind the wheel, I can’t see why anyone would need anything more powerful.

We drove the Touareg over our normal collection of hills and twisty roads. Then there was the New York trip to take a friend and family in for surgery (we brought them back in another car). So we had a great mixture of roads and road surfaces over which to drive the Touareg. The SUV conquered them all, especially the New York run.

The Touareg is listed as a mid-size sport utility vehicle, but it feels more like a full-size. While it was comfortable and handled well, it felt like a much bigger vehicle.

First, the engine/transmission. From what we saw (and from our experience with versions of the Touareg with the other engines), there’s no need for a bigger or more powerful engine. The Touareg V6 is just fine, and can save more than $7,000 over the V8 and God knows how much over the diesel.

We cruised comfortably over all roads, and averaged more than the city EPS rating of 16 mpg with our 16.7 economy. On the Interstates we had trouble keeping UNDER the posted speed limits and I was forced to use cruise control just to behave.

The 6-speed automatic transmission was smooth. I particularly liked the indicator on the dash that showed which gear you were in. You usually get this in the manual mode, but having it in the automatic mode is an asset. We drove in automatic mode most of the time, but I soon realized while driving in NY that the manual mode was better. I could “lock” the transmission in a lower gear than it would choose itself for better acceleration. And trust me, acceleration is necessary in city driving.

Speaking of the instrument panel, I loved the Touareg’s. There are two large circular gauges for speedometer and tachometer. Between these is a large digital readout that’s for transmission, time, outside temperature, etc. To the right and left are four smaller gauges for the ancillary functions (fuel, water temp, oil pressure and battery voltage). It was nice to drive a car that had all the gauges.

Our tester was also equipped with a navigation system. Normally, when I drive in NYC, I navigate myself. This time, however, we were headed to a new location, for me, so we decided to put the address in and let the car tell us how to get there. When we arrived at our destination without a hitch, the map had a checkered flag.

Unfortunately, you can’t use the navigation system and the in-dash CD player at the same time. If you want the nav, that CD has to be in the player; if you don’t, then plunk in the music. There is a 6-disc CD changer in the rear compartment, but using it required too much advance planning for the type of driving I do.

The seats were firm and generally comfortable. They offered little side support, but the Touareg isn’t the type of vehicle that you’d use for hard cornering most of the time anyway, so this wasn’t a problem. Rear seats, which are often less comfortable that the fronts, showed no degradation in comfort. The front shoulder belts adjusted for comfort.

The rear seat backs folded flat to gain the maximum 71 cubic feet of cargo capacity. But even with the rear set backs raised, there was enough room for our cargo.

With the cigarette lighter out we had two 12-volt outlets up front. There were two more in the cargo area, plus a two-prong 115-volt outlet.

The Touareg had a good center console with two cupholders, one small round cubby (for what, I don’t know) and two trays on top of the console as well as one at the bottom of the center stack. There was a good center console that was large enough for several CDs.

Despite its higher-than-average price (especially for a VW) the Touareg V6 is a fine vehicle. It competes with the two other German manufacturers’ SUVs and does a good job. As with most Volkswagen products, this one’s a winner.

2006 The Auto Page Syndicate

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