The Volkswagen Touareg was one of the first SUVs to hit the market back in 2002, when the SUV craze was just picking up speed. It offered famous VW reliability, enormous practicality and even decent performance at an affordable price. Fast forward to 2010 and the second generation Touareg. VW gave their flagship SUV a complete makeover 8 years after the first gen debuted. The updates immediately put the vehicle back in the game, but as time went on by, so did the Touareg’s popularity. In a matter of years it was getting outclassed by a lot of newer competitors, so rather wisely, VW decided to introduce yet another mid-life facelift in 2015.
The 2017 Volkswagen Touareg, following a major redesign just 2 years ago, remains largely unchanged, but still stays current in both design and technology.
The exterior of the 2017 Volkswagen Touareg boasts the 2015 model’s design, but don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s outdated. Far from it, the design is still popular and in-line with VW’s current lineup and visual language. It looks just as fresh and modern as the day it came out of the factory. In fact, if you hadn’t known that it’s had this exact exterior for 2 years straight, you’d have probably thought they just came up with it for the 2017 model.
It’s a chiseled, elegant and understated look, with enough aggressiveness and demeanor to exhibit just the right amount of presence on the road. The front features large headlights complete with bi-xenon lights and LED daytime running lights. The redesigned grille looks sharp and smart, especially with the four chromed horizontal trims finishing off the front fascia.
The back of the 2017 VW Touareg gets LED taillights, a revised bumper and a nice diffuser flanked by the two redesigned exhaust pipes. The Chrome & Style package offers chrome elements to both the front and rear, but it comes at a small premium. You get a choice between 18-inch and 20-inch wheels, although we’d stick with the 18s if you want slightly better ride quality. If style suits you best however, feel free to go with the larger and better looking 20-inch alloys. There are a total of 12 exterior colors, enough to satisfy anyone’s needs. VW isn’t really known for being the most stylish brand out there, but the Touareg proves otherwise.
Inside, it’s VW as usual. The 2017 Volkswagen Touareg has the same design as the 2015 version but the fit and finish is considerably better. VW made sure to use high-quality materials and superb quality control, ensuring the Touareg’s cabin remains like new for years and thousands of miles to come. The ergonomics in the cabin have been improved via some clever button arrangements, as well as new switches for a part of the systems and onboard gadgets. There’s a new rotary lever for the Climatronic, an improved navigation unit and small mirror adjustments. The extended push button and display bar on the center console get new chrome details and running gear.
Materials are top-notch. The VW signature Vienna leather receives a new Bonanza Brown color, making it the fourth interior color option. If you prefer Nappa leather, don’t worry, it’s present as well. The center console and door panels can even be option with either Sapelli Mahagoni or Engineered ebony wood accents.
There’s plenty of legroom and headroom in both rows, even for taller passengers. You can easily fit 3 adults across in the rear row, and we’re not just referring to shorter journeys. Seating is comfortable, with a great amount of lateral support. Because you sit so high up, you have excellent visibility and spatial awareness as the driver. Top marks for VW in terms of interior quality.
ENGINE & PERFORMANCE
The 2017 Volkswagen Touareg is equipped with a 3.6L six cylinder engine outputting 280hp and paired with an 8 speed automatic transmission. The Touareg is also equipped with 4motion technology for all wheel drive, which allows power to be diverted to the wheels with the best traction.
The 2017 VW Touareg delivers a smooth and somewhat quiet ride. I would have expected a quieter ride with such a large engine, but surprisingly some of the engine noise makes its way into the cabin while cruising. While the wind noise is kept to a minimum and road noise is quite muted, the overall experience is still quite pleasant. Smooth turning and precise handling also add to a sporty drive while keeping passengers planted in their seats for a comfortable journey.
As expected the fuel economy does suffer as the 2017 Touareg is a large SUV with a large engine. Our 250km combined city and highway test drive yielded a 12.5 L/100km fuel consumption which fits right in line with the posted rates of 13.8 L/100km in the city and 10.4 L/100km on the highway.
Being a state of the art SUV, the 2017 VW Touareg safety systems are nothing short of extraordinary. On the passive side, it offers nine airbags and clever crumple zones. The active part of the safety systems consist of Lane Assist, Slide Assist, ACC adaptive cruise control, City Emergency braking and PreCrash occupant protection. The bi-xenon headlights get Dynamic light assist too, a system which scans oncoming traffic and automatically controls the main beam individually to eliminate glare to oncoming traffic.
The fact of the matter is this: the 2017 Volkswagen Touareg is still one of the best midsize SUVs for a reason. Despite the fact its brand may not be synonymous with luxury like Audi is, it manages to surpass its rivals in all measurable ways. Starting at $52,960 it does border on luxury pricing, but the best way to decide is to see for yourself and take one for a test drive!