A key reason for Volkswagen’s success in Australia is the consistency of the brand image. That image is built around building vehicles with a distinctly premium character while pricing those vehicles just above mainstream prices. It’s a strategy that works: count the number of Polos, Golfs and Tiguans on the road. Australians will pay more for a product that makes them feel special – and that is what VW does so well. It’s a lucrative part of the market: VW can lure aspirational buyers up and out from Mazda and Toyota, and luxury buyers away from Audi and Mercedes. And for some time, they’ve been doing that in the large SUV space, too. The 2017 Volkswagen Touareg V6 TDI may be getting on in years – but handsome looks, generous equipment and a set of luscious, powerful diesel engines have allowed VW to cut out a reasonable slice of the upmarket SUV segment. Because you can buy a super-refined V6 Touareg for less than a four-cylinder BMW X5 or Mercedes-Benz GLE, Volkswagen have quite an offering on their hands here.
Volkswagen are also masters of the special edition, and regularly release limited-run models to help build and maintain interest in various parts of their range. Lately, the Touareg has been receiving this attention. We borrowed the toughened-up Touareg Wolfsburg over the New Year holiday, driving from Sydney to Melbourne with some off-roading in-between, to give the Touareg a chance to demonstrate its credentials in a variety of environments: inner Melbourne’s tram-tracked streets, long stretches of the Hume Highway, and the difficult slopes of Canberra’s national parks showed off the Touareg to be a genuine all-rounder. Make sure to catch the video review at the top of the page to see our detailed thoughts on the Touareg’s road-trip abilities.
The Touareg isn’t perfect – largely due to its ageing platform, which will be addressed by an all-new model in the next couple of years – but considering its sub-$90,000 price point, it remains a compelling package. In particular, the Touareg V6 TDI’s lush 180kW, 550Nm turbodiesel V6 is a standout engine in this class, easily besting similarly-priced four-cylinders – and even some diesel sixes – from more upmarket German marques. The Touareg’s air suspension makes it supremely comfortable and the interior, while old-fashioned in some ways, is super-supple, comfortable and from the era of maximum Volkswagen interior quality. It looks good, it feels like a tank and it drives surprisingly well on and off-road. If it sounds like we enjoyed the Touareg, we did.
Key specs (as tested)
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