For the nomad in you

2014 Volkswagen Touareg TDI review

By Mathieu St-Pierre
2014 Volkswagen Touareg TDI review

Summary Rating: 84%

Styling

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Accessories

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Space and Access

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Comfort

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Performance

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Driving Dynamics

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Safety

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General Appreciation

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Hitting the open road for a long trip -- and I mean more than a few days -- is a desire I’ve held near and dear to my heart for longer than I’ve held a driver’s license. Cruising the Wrong Coast southbound, crossing over to the West Coast along the Gulf, and down the Mexican boarder to then climb right back up to north of the 49th and finally return home. I plan to do that one day soon.

Such epic road trips conjure images of a dilapidated VW Bus, camping and smoke of all kinds (snack time…), but I’ll admit that I’m not tough enough for that kind of road trip. However, I am capable of imagining myself and a partner (or more) behind the wheel of a Volkswagen product. In this case, a range-killing Touareg TDI.

With great handling, gobs of torque, and tons of room to spare, the 2014 Volkswagen Touareg TDI is simply German and handsome to boot.


What is a Volkswagen Touareg?
The 2014 Volkswagen Touareg is the People’s Car’s largest family vehicle, at least for the next 18 months or so until the arrival of the three-row midsize SUV promised for North America by the Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG.

As the current midsize SUV, the Touareg somewhat fills the gap left by the demise of the Passat wagon and of the Routan (thank goodness for that).

2014 Volkswagen Touareg Price and Specs
The 2014 Touareg happens to be the most expensive product line in Volkswagen’s North American arsenal. In many ways, it makes sense as it features all of the brand’s technology, and the most potent powertrains along with standard AWD.

The base Touareg Comfortline with the 280-horsepower 3.6L V6 sports a $50,975 sticker price. The top Execline trim requires exactly $10k more. In any of the three trims, $4,300 must be added in order to get the excellent 240 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque turbo-diesel 3.0L V6 TDI engine wedged under the bonnet. With the V6s come an 8-speed autobox and VW’s 4MOTION AWD system.

My Deep Black Pearl with Saddle Brown Vienna leather Execline TDI with R-Line package tipped the pricing scale at $67,750.

2014 Volkswagen Touareg TDI rear 3/4 view
The 2014 Volkswagen Touareg is the People’s Car’s largest family vehicle, at least for the next 18 months or so until the arrival of the three-row midsize SUV promised for North America by the Prof. (Photo: Volkswagen)

Driving the 2014 Volkswagen Touareg TDI
Any vehicle selected for a long road trip, and the long run for that matter, needs to keep the driver and its passengers cozy and entertained.

Despite being large, the Touareg managed to demonstrate some serious apex-clipping abilities along with grip, good turn-in, and appreciable stability. The R-Line package group includes the all-important sport suspension, which played a large roll on the entertainment front.

My test week was peppered with blissful snowstorms and hard core cold temperatures mixed in with black ice and other winter unpleasanteries. The entire time, the 2014 Touareg never skipped a beat. In fact, it was so predictable thanks to 4MOTION that I, on at least three occasions, forgot I was test-driving the Touareg and that it was not actually mine. This has only ever happened once or twice in my 15-year career. One of them was with a 1999 Mazda MX-5 Miata…

This then is a result of the immediate sense of comfort and confidence felt while with the 2014 Volkswagen Touareg. Beyond the handling and ride quality, it is the TDI mill that really brings the entire driving experience together. With all 406 torques available as of 1,750 rpm, the rush put upon the 2,227 kg (4,899.4 lb) truck immediately puts a smile on everybody’s face.

The smile is furthered by how smoothly and quietly the power is delivered. One short trip I took with the Touareg involved a boarder crossing. The agents are always intrigued by my line of work and ask questions. When I informed him that my VW was an oil-burner, he could not believe his ears…

The 8-speed tranny was just as efficient as the engine, aiding it in consuming only 9.5L/100 km over 1,000 km. Factor out -25-degree temperatures and 30 cm of snow, and you can likely knock an easy 10-12% off that result.

2014 Volkswagen Touareg TDI 3/4 view
Despite being large, the Touareg managed to demonstrate some serious apex-clipping abilities along with grip, good turn-in, and appreciable stability. (Photo: Volkswagen)

Inside and out of the 2014 Volkswagen Touareg TDI
The outer shell of the Touareg is pleasant but for it to be truly handsome, as I’ve stated, it must rock the R-Line package. The 20” wheels, front and rear revised bumpers, and other touches elevate the otherwise stern and somewhat bland-looking SUV.

The vast cabin in the 2014 Volkswagen Touareg TDI is comfortable and ergonomically arranged, as one would expect from a German carmaker.

All controls are clear and precise in their functionality. I would complain that the touchscreen is slow on the uptake. My 2012 Tiguan suffers the same delayed responsiveness when onscreen commands are selected. Fit and finish are beyond reproach and dignify a portion of the asking price.

Seats are firm and therefore comfortable for the long hauls. The rear bench is roomy enough for three adults width-wise, which is great especially if a child seat needs to be affixed. As expected, the trunk is quite large, an aspect that avid golfers will immediately take to.

2014 Volkswagen Touareg TDI cabin
The vast cabin in the 2014 Volkswagen Touareg TDI is comfortable and ergonomically arranged, as one would expect from a German carmaker. (Photo: Volkswagen)

Comparing the 2014 Volkswagen Touareg TDI

The Volkswagen Touareg hits above and below its price range. From the likes of the Acura RDX and MDX, all the way to the Range Rover Sport, the Touareg is equipped on numerous levels to tango with them all. The TDI engine and excellent road manners are huge points in its favour.




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