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2017 Volkswagen Touareg V6 Sport Review By John Heilig

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By John Heilig
Bureau Chief
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

REVIEWED MODEL: 2017 Volkswagen Touareg V6 Sport

ENGINE: 3.6-liter V6
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic with Tiptronic
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 280 hp @ 6,200 rpm/266 lb.-ft. @ 3,500 rpm
WHEELBASE: 113.9 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 188.8 x 76.4 x 68.2 in.
TIRES: P255/55R18
CARGO CAPACITY: 32.1/64.0 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down)
ECONOMY: 17 mpg city23 mpg highway/16.5 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 26.4 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 4,696 lbs. #/HP: 16.8
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Acura MDX, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mercedes-Benz ML
STICKER: $50,405 (includes $910 delivery)
BOTTOM LINE: While the Volkswagen Touareg is a fully capable midsize-to-standard SUV, it suffers from an outlandish sticker.

Gone are the days of the Beetle, the original one, I mean. Volkswagen is now a major player in all market segments, even if a few of the company’s choices have been less than stellar. However, the Touareg is in the top echelon of midsize-to-standard SUVs.

First, let’s talk power. A 3.6-liter V6 rated at 280 horsepower drives the wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic (sequential manual shift). We took the Touareg all over and never felt for a lack of power at any time. In addition, Volkswagen’s 4Motion 4-wheel drive provides sure-footedness over all surfaces and contributes to good handling. 

The transmission is shiftable with the lever, but we didn’t feel the  need on our hillclimb route as it shifted as well as I could. 

Regarding comfort, the four-wheel independent suspension (upper and lower control arms in front with coil springs and telescopic shocks and a multi-link rear suspension with coil springs and telescopic shocks) added a comfortable rode on all the road surfaces we encountered. 

Front seats are comfortable with about as much side support as the old Beetle. Leatherette  faced, they are also heated. 

Standard “Teutonic” instruments feature round white-on-black dials that are easy to read. Smaller water and fuel gauges are tucked in the corners of the instrument panel. 

The Touareg has a unique key fob/starter. You insert the fob in a slot in the dash and turn it as you would a key to start the car. Turn it to the left to shut the engine off. There’s  a start/stop button on the console, but it isn’t needed. What makes this arrangement cool is that it also provides a place to put the fob after you open the doors and get in.

Adaptive cruise control was a pleasure. A few times we came upon a leading vehicle too quickly and the ACC slowed us to that vehicle’s speed automatically.

I found the audio interesting. When you return to the car and turn it on, the Bluetooth volume is lower the  when you left. Okay, but when you use the phone, the volume is up. There is the normal assortment of choices, but we chose Bluetooth.

There’s a deep cubby at the top of the dash with a lift-up cover that is ideal for holding a phone (wedged in the cover), so you can read the screen. It’s also deep enough for holding sunglasses.

The HVAC is good in normal weather, and is easy to set.

At the base of the center stack is a small cubby that might have served as an ash tray in cars so equipped. Inside this cubby is a 12-volt outlet (lighter?).

On the center console are a pair of cupholders with a transmission setting switch for between off- and on-road. There is a deep center console/arm rest with a lightning charge cable attached. In addition, the doors all hold large water bottles. 

The rear bench has good legroom. Rear passengers have a small cubby at the rear of the center console for storage. Rear seat backs fold easily to increase cargo capacity. The rear cargo shade is hard to remove, though, if you want to carry large objects back there. In addition, the cargo area has four tie-downs, plus elastic straps on the right side.

Now the sticker. The Volkswagen Touareg is a highly capable vehicle. However, it lacks some almost standard safety features, although a forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking is included. While I admit to being “old school,” I feel it should be priced more in the $35,000-$40,000 range about $10,000 less than its $50k MSRP

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