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Volkswagen Touareg 170TDI 2024 review


Recontextualised by its lower price point, the already impressive Volkswagen Touareg should now be considerably more enticing to a new cohort of buyers

Good points

  • Price has been reduced
  • More equipment as standard
  • Wealth of interior luxuries
  • Comfortable, supportive seats
  • Strong V6 diesel
  • Up to 1400km fuel range

Needs work

  • Steel suspension is good, not great
  • Some turbo lag
  • Space saver spare only
  • Standard stereo is just okay
  • Head-up display not standard
  • Limited tow-ball weight limit

The facelifted Volkswagen Touareg has arrived in Australia, it’s new and improved – always appreciated if expected mid-life cycle – but that’s not what matters most.

What matters most is what’s happened to the Touareg’s price. Unlike virtually every other car on the market, the Touareg has become more affordable rather than more expensive.

Volkswagen Touareg 170TDI 2024 rear 3/4

Earlier this year, Volkswagen confirmed that the facelifted Touareg was set to become more attainable in a pursuit to rebuild sales, recalling that this premium SUV was once a considerably stronger seller in Australia.

The third-generation Touareg is now $2450 cheaper with an entry price of $86,790 before on-road costs. Perhaps more importantly though is that the bulk of the equipment from the previous $8700 Innovision Package is now standard, in a big play to make this model a strong value proposition.

Between the price drop and extra kit, Volkswagen argues you’re getting over $10,000 of extra value and the maths do add up on paper.

Volkswagen Touareg 170TDI 2024 badge

Last year, Volkswagen shifted 921 Touaregs. That’s roughly one-third of the number sold back in 2015 when the entry-level model cost $67,990 before on-roads or roughly $85,000 in 2024 adjusted for inflation, which is pretty close to this new price.

The 210TDI Elegance and R-Line grades continue to fill the lineup at $99,990 and $109,990 apiece after receiving their own considerable price cuts of $8250 and $7550 respectively.

Let’s not also forget the new flagship R ($129,990) which brings with it not just the promise of performance but also plug-in hybrid technology. You can read more in our separate review.

Volkswagen Touareg group 2024
Pictured left to right: the Touareg R, 170TDI, 210TDI R-Line and 210TDI Elegance

Volkswagen assured Chasing Cars that the Touareg’s new pricing wasn’t a headline-grabbing exercise to attract attention before prices would soar to the stratosphere. We’re told the new price is part of a stable plan to gain long-term success.

With that in mind, we’ve chosen to focus on the entry-level 170TDI, with its new price point putting it within touching distance of traditional body-on-frame cruisers like the Ford Everest Platinum ($81,115) and very likely below the new Toyota Land Cruiser Prado Kakadu (previously $87,468).

Volkswagen Touareg 170TDI 2024 rear close

The Touareg shares its MLB Evo platform with the Audi Q7 (from $116,400), Porsche Cayenne (from $138,700) and Bentley Bentayga (from $378,600), all of which are quite competitive within their respective classes, but to pretend this relationship is all just a big badge engineering exercise would be to ignore the depth of investment that goes into making these cars reach their respective objectives.

What are the Touareg 170TDI’s features and options for the price?

Specs-wise, the headline-grabbing change to the Touareg 170TDI is the addition of the pre-facelift model’s Innovision package as standard equipment this time aronud.

That packbrought with it features like a vast 15-inch touchscreen, 12.3-inch digital driver’s display and ambient lighting.

Further, the following items are also standard:

  • 170kW/500Nm 3.0L turbo-diesel V6
  • Eight-speed automatic and AWD
  • Steel spring suspension
  • IQ Light matrix LED headlights
  • Front and rear fog lights
  • Ash grain open-pore wood inlay
  • Vienna leather-appointed upholstery
  • 18-way adjustable front seats (inc four-way lumbar)
  • Heated front seats
  • Five USB C ports
  • Two-zone climate control
  • Wireless phone charger
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Eight-speaker stereo
  • Pull-up sunshades in the backseat
  • Power tailgate
  • Cargo management system and nets

Volkswagen Touareg 170TDI 2024 wheel

The Sound and  Comfort package costs ($8500) and adds: 

  • Head-up display
  • Electric height and reach adjustable steering column with memory
  • Four-zone climate control
  • Heated outer rear seats
  • Dynaudio 14-speaker 730W sound system
  • Tyre Pressure Monitoring System
  • Anti-theft alarm system plus Safelock deadlock system

Of those, it’s disappointing to see tyre pressure monitoring isn’t standard as cars require all four wheels to be set placard pressures for the car to operate at their best. 

A panoramic sunroof is available for an additional $3300, while metallic paint costs $2200.

How does the Touareg 170TDI drive?

The facelifted Touareg drives similarly to the pre-facelifted model, which is to say ‘very well’ – if not perfectly.

The 170TDI is the sole grade to ride on passive steel springs instead of the more expensive four-corner air suspension system found on each of the three higher grades, starting with the 210TDI Elegance ($99,990 before on-road costs).

Volkswagen Touareg 170TDI 2024 driving highway 2

I’ve had mixed feelings about the base Touareg’s suspension setup in the past and the facelifted version still seems to be prone to a higher than ideal spring rate that makes it a bit reactionary over bumps at low speed.

Climb further up the speedometer to above 80km/h however and the suspension becomes far more supple and the dynamics, which are still impressive at low speeds, really do come into their own.

Without a separate chassis shifting the centre of gravity higher, the Touareg was able to comfortably maintain remarkable pace on curving, rural Victorian roads as its 2164kg (tare) pressed down into the bitumen through the spongy tyres wrapped around the 19-inch wheels.

Volkswagen Touareg 210TDI Elegance 2024 driving
Pictured: the 210TDI Elegance grade is the first to ride on air suspension

By adding a roof load sensor to the Touareg in the latest update, Volkswagen says its flagship has unlocked an extra degree of comfort and dynamic ability, as the ESC and ABS no longer have to assume the SUV is always driving at its most unbalanced.

Compared to my previous experiences with the Touareg, this change is noticeable, if only slightly in terms of dynamics.

The 170TDI has a problem however, the steel suspension is decent but the air suspension system is utterly fantastic. We’ve yet to sample the facelifted 210TDI Elegance and R-Line grades but our previous experience was impressive on the open road.

Volkswagen Touareg 170TDI 2024 driving dirt front 2

Being an adjustable suspension setup, there is also a duality of the charter to be had in the firmness or Sport mode, to the suppleness of Comfort mode that the steel spring can’t offer.

With some 30 to 40 percent of Australian roads unsealed, Volkswagen was also keen to show off the Touareg’s performance on dirt and the 170’s spongy tyres again came into their own.

There is a dedicated ‘Off-Road’ mode that pulls the reins on the ESC without being overly restrictive of the driver, and this system performed admirably on dirt. While it’s no hardcore off-roader, the 170TDI boasts 216mm of ground clearance which is decent for the class.

Volkswagen Touareg 170TDI 2024 dial

Under the bonnet, the Touareg 170TDI is fitted with a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 producing 170kW of power at 4000rpm and 500Nm of torque from 1750 to 3000rpm.

Driven hard, there is a noticeable lag between the turbo kicks in, but when given the appropriate patience that a grand tourer demands, the Touareg’s engine eases in and out of its torque band as it shuffles up the ratios of its eight-speed automatic transmission.

Between the additional air suspension and 210kW/600Nm peak outputs (from the same RPMs), it is worth considering the step up to the 210TDI Essenance grade, but with the added value to the 170TDI grade, I wouldn’t think it to be as necessary as it once was.

Volkswagen Touareg 170TDI 2024 driving dirt rear 4

In terms of towing, all Touaregs have a 3500kg braked capacity and have performed strongly in our previous testing, though the 170TDI is arguably the best suited to the task.

With the lightest tare weight of 2164kg and GCM of 6350kg, the entry grade has a payload of roughly 620kg. The maximum townball download is rated at 280kg, which could be better but it’s far better than the 215-220kg quoted for other grades.

What is the Touareg 170TDI’s interior and tech like?

If you’re looking at the interior of the facelifted Touareg and scratching your head at where the changes might be you’re not alone. You’ll need to look relatively closely, though the value of the changes do add up.

Bar some stitching along the dashboard and doors, plus some nicer switchgear swapped in to select places the interior is largely the same, though that’s no bad thing.

Volkswagen Touareg 170TDI 2024 interior

With the previously-standard tiny (relative to the car) 9.2-inch touchscreen now banished from the range and the 15.0-inch slab sitting proud as the statement piece of the interior, the Touareg looks modern enough. The larger screen has also been updated, with Apple CarPlay and Android now filling the whole screen and linking wirelessly.

My main criticism of this unit has to do with odd decisions made by the designers. With climate controls integrated at the bottom, it takes a quick targeted stab to bring up a small slide to make changes as you wish, which itself works just fine.

Sadly, for reasons not understood this action ‘blacks out’ the rest of the screen, blocking access to your maps and music while you change temperature. The same also happens if the passenger adjusts the massaging function (fitted on higher grades), and doesn’t disappear until some 10+ seconds later.

Volkswagen Touareg 170TDI 2024 interior touchscreen

Even just changing the drive mode has a similar effect, though it hangs around quite a bit longer. There is a small ‘x’ to exit the screen but it’s very tiny.

Really though, these are minor first-world problems and there are small tricks you learn to get around the bulk of the issues.

A small but welcome change is the move to USB-C charging points that put out 45W of juice (up from 15W), meaning you’re much more likely to grab a meaningful phone charge during a quick drive across town.

Volkswagen Touareg 170TDI 2024 interior front seats

After a few hours in the saddle, the supportive seats offset fatigue and with 18 directions of adjustability (four of which for lumbar), I could fine-tune the setting to fit with my heavier set frame.

Unlike in the vast majority of SUVs (luxury and otherwise), the passenger has the same degree of adjustability and the seats are heated as standard. Seat ventilation is available on the 210TDI Elegance grade and up.

The Vienna leather upholstery that lines the cabin is lovely but the star of the show is the gorgeous ash grain open-pore wood inlay that stretches across the dash and along the doors.

Volkswagen Touareg 170TDI 2024 interior detail 2
Volkswagen Touareg 170TDI 2024 interior detail

It must be said though, the gloss black material that features alongside it is less favourable and collected plenty of fingerprints during our brief usage, but for the most part it’s placed in locations where digits shouldn’t frequent too often.

If you’ve spent time in the Touareg’s more expensive cousins you’ll likely notice a few areas of cheap plastic here and there but the cabin feels more expensive than it used to be.

The eight-speaker stereo fitted as standard is adequate. Listening to a range of music revealed a lack of clarity in some tones and it’s for that reason that I can see why some might want to opt for the 14-speaker 730W Dynaudio system included in the Sound and Comfort package.

Volkswagen Touareg 170TDI 2024 interior rear seats

Audiophiles will immediately appreciate the depth and distinction of this premium system though I could certainly live with the standard setup.

Moving to the backseat reveals a space that would be well-suited to family buyers, with more than enough room to sit behind my own 183cm driving position.

The Touareg may not come with seven seats like most large SUVs but I think it could likely fit up to three child or booster seats across the rear pew without much fuss.

Volkswagen Touareg 170TDI 2024 interior sunblinds

Older kids will also appreciate the built-in pull-up sunshades, USB-C charging points and the large air vents placed not just by the knees but also in the B-pillar blowing directly onto the face.

The boot is a massive 810L of space, a measurement that moves to a cavernous 1800L when the rear seats are folded down. With all that boot space, however, you have to wonder why

Volkswagen hasn’t sacrificed a slither of it to upgrade the space-saver spare to a proper full-size unit, which many tourers would consider a mandatory requirement. The inflatable doughnut is of little use if you’re towing a trailer, for example.

Volkswagen Touareg 170TDI 2024 interior boot
Volkswagen Touareg 170TDI 2024 interior boot 2

Similarly, it’s a real shame Volkswagen hasn’t included a seven-seat version in the range, though they insist there is enough appetite in the five-seat SUV market.

But with a stated intention to woo back family buyers, this has to be considered a shortfall. Just like a bigger boot, you may not always need it, but it’s bloody handy to have seven seats when you do.

Is the Touareg 170TDI a safe car?

The Volkswagen Touareg currently carries a five-star ANCAP rating and was awarded the following scores back in 2019, though this official rating is due to expire at the end of 2024 if it is not renewed.

  • 89% – Adult occupant protection
  • 88% – Child occupant protection
  • 72% – Vulnerable road user protection
  • 78% – Safety assistance

Volkswagen Touareg 170TDI 2024 driving dirt front

The following features are fitted as standard

  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Driver fatigue monitoring
  • Forwards AEB with pedestrian detection
  • Reversing AEB
  • Lane keep assistance
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Front and rear cross-traffic assist
  • 360-degree camera
  • Self-parking function

With Volkswagen’s bid to entice more family buyers, the move to add the 360-degree camera and reversing AEB as standard kit is welcome. The Touareg lacks a front-centre airbag which is fitted on newer rivals but the safety package is otherwise holistic and well-calibrated. 

Another notable recent addition to the Touareg’s feature list is Volkswagen’s IQ Light matrix LED headlights, which are an underappreciated element of a good grand tourer and the standard fitment of this feature is quite rare. 

Volkswagen Touareg 170TDI 2024 headlight

The lights are capable of a great variety of tricks such as illuminating only the lane you’re in (and the next when changing lanes), identifying and flashing pedestrians that could be in danger and more.

It’s easy to simply make headlights brighter but it’s hard to make them smarter while democratising them to the entry grades. We haven’t yet had a chance to test them at night but our previous experience with Volkswagen Group headlights gives us faith in their merits. 

What are the Touareg 170TDI’s ownership costs?

The Volkswagen Touareg carried a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty just like every other model in the range.

Servicing is comfortably flexible on distance at 15,000km but less so on time with a 12-month cap.

Pre-paid service plans continue to be a no-brainer among Volkswagen models and the Touareg 170/210TDI will cost $3500 over five years or 75,000km. Curiously, the four-cylinder Tiguan 162TSI is actually $150 more expensive to maintain over that time.

Volkswagen Touareg 170TDI 2024 engine

Fuel consumption is a surprising highlight of this circa-2.2-tonne behemoth with an official claim of 7.3L/100km, and an urban and highway claim of 8.9L/100km and 6.4L/100km respectively. They’re figures that we do find to be believable after our initial drive with the car.

Given the above-average size of the 90L fuel tank, the Touareg could quite realistically travel 1400km in one hit. Or in other terms, travel from Sydney to Adelaide in one tank.

The honest verdict on the Touraeg 170TDI

The Touareg is an unusual Volkswagen. It’s a premium SUV that can command prices well into the $100,000 range – yet it wears the badge of a Golf or a Tiguan.

For some that is hard to understand, and it’s only when you spend more time in a Touareg that it becomes clear this is actually a bargain premium SUV sharing DNA with considerably higher-end brands.

Volkswagen Touareg 170TDI 2024 driving dirt

Other mainstream brands such as Toyota pull off a similar move with the expensive 300 Series Land Cruiser – but there aren’t many marques that can bridge such a wide price gap.

To ‘get’ the Touareg, you need a fundamental understanding of the vehicle’s inherent qualities, and as sales have declined so too has the awareness of this model.

And really, what better way to win back people’s attention than by cutting the price.

Volkswagen Touareg 170TDI 2024 thumbnnail

The third-generation Touareg has always been a vehicle that has stood on its own merits but the new price and standard feature set recontextualises its positioning in the market.

Now close enough in price to make it just a circa-$5000 walk-up from the Ford Everest Platinum and packing enough substance to make BMW and Mercedes-Benz buyers stop and think if they are truly getting their money’s worth. With those fundamentals in place, let’s see if the power play works.

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