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Volkswagen Touareg Adventure 2017 review

EXPERT RATING
7.4
Launched in 2008, the VW Touareg had its last update in 2012. So, to be sure people are still paying attention, Volkswagen has been trotting out the special editions, this time, the Touareg Adventure.

It's a known fact that cars age like dogs, only worse. See, while our four-legged friends accumulate seven years for every 12 human months that pass, cars add something like double that, with a new vehicle’s entire lifespan - including updates and buzz models - around eight years in total.

And that makes the Volkswagen Touareg - which scored its last major update in 2012 - old enough for early-bird dinners and an apartment on the Gold Coast to enjoy those warmer winters.

But not unlike the evergreen Will Smith, the big VW has somehow frozen the ageing process. So much so that climbing behind the wheel of the Touareg today doesn’t feel all that different to climbing into the much newer, much shinier Tiguan, which was launched here in 2016.

Sure, the technology isn't as slick, and the cabin feels a little dated, but the core stuff, like its road manners and general comfort, are still on-par for the segment.

But the attention span of new-car shoppers can be measured in microseconds, and the Touareg's sales have started to slide. So, to be sure people are still paying attention, Volkswagen has of late been trotting out the special editions, adding value and equipment to the standard Touareg range in an effort to tempt buyers into the brand's biggest SUV.

There was the Wolfsburg edition, and now this, the Touareg Adventure, which, along with some of style changes, adds standard air suspension and a bigger, 100-litre fuel tank.  

So is that enough to help the Touareg keep up with the SUV pack?

Volkswagen Touareg 2017: V6 ADVENTURE
Safety rating
Engine Type3.0L turbo
Fuel TypeDiesel
Fuel Efficiency7.4L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$64,460

Is there anything interesting about its design?   7/10

It's big and it looks it, this Touareg, appearing to command more lane space than even its seven-seat Skoda Kodiaq cousin. It also looks more rugged, more ready for action, than some of its more urban-focussed competitors.

But it's a nod to VW's design team that, despite being largely unchanged for the past five years, it doesn't look dated or old. The polished silver-framed front end still looks clean and modern, while the squared-off boot, that sits below a shark-fin antenna and above two silver-tipped exhaust outlets, still looks of the times, too.

  • The Touareg is big, appearing to command more lane space than even its seven-seat Skoda Kodiaq cousin. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton) The Touareg is big, appearing to command more lane space than even its seven-seat Skoda Kodiaq cousin. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton)
  • The Touareg looks more rugged, more ready for action, than some of its more urban-focussed competitors. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton) The Touareg looks more rugged, more ready for action, than some of its more urban-focussed competitors. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton)
  • The squared-off boot, that sits below a shark-fin antenna and above two silver-tipped exhaust outlets of the Touareg, still look modern. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton) The squared-off boot, that sits below a shark-fin antenna and above two silver-tipped exhaust outlets of the Touareg, still look modern. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton)

Climb inside, though, and you will find some elements that are showing their age. The dash and central entertainment screens are nowhere near as sleek as in the new Tiguan, for example, and the rippled rubber dash material feels a touch old school, too. But most materials feel good under the touch, and the use of silver and gloss black help lift the interior ambience.

How practical is the space inside?   8/10

There's plenty of space in the 4801mm-long, 1940mm-wide Touareg for upfront passengers, who will find themselves separated by a wide centre console that houses two cupholders and a deep storage bin that's home to a power source and USB connection point, though the latter requires a special adapter.

That central console is also home to the car's key settings, like altering the ride height (which is like riding the world’s slowest roller coaster when you play with it in traffic), along with the adaptive suspension settings.

The door pockets are big enough to swallow bottles and then some, and there's another bonus storage space above the touchscreen.

In the cabin there is a wide centre console that houses two cupholders and a deep storage bin that's home to a power source and USB connection point. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton) In the cabin there is a wide centre console that houses two cupholders and a deep storage bin that's home to a power source and USB connection point. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton)

The back seat is huge, with plenty of legroom and headroom behind my (176cm) driving position. So big, in fact, you could feasibly fit three full-size humans in the back seat. Opt not to, and the pull-down divider that separates the rear seat will reveal two more cupholders, and there's room in each rear door for bottles, as well as a storage net on the rear of each front seat.

Backseat riders get their own air-vents, but no temperature controls. And there's a single power source to share, but no USB connection.

The auto-opening boot reveals a sizeable space (580 litres with the rear seat in place, 1642 litres with it folded flat)  along with a third power source, and the 40/20/40 split fold seats can be dropped from the boot via easy-to-reach buttons. A space-saver spare is hidden in the boot well. 

There are two ISOFIX attachment points, one in each window seat in the back.

The auto-opening boot reveals a sizeable space, 580 litres with the rear seat in place. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton) The auto-opening boot reveals a sizeable space, 580 litres with the rear seat in place. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton)

Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with?   7/10

This sense of adventure will set you back $79,990, carving a new place on the Touareg totem pole, between the $68,990 entry-level car and the $85,490, V6-powered model on which the Adventure is based.

For that money, you'll find a bigger, 100-litre fuel tank and adaptive air suspension that can lower or raise the Touareg's ride height (hence the whole 'Adventure' part), but city-dwellers will likely get joy from the  19-inch alloys (down from 20-inch in the V6-powered donor car), leather seat trim (but not the nappa leather in the more expensive model) and bi-xenon headlights (but they miss a cornering function).

The Touareg comes with either 19 or 20-inch alloy wheels. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton) The Touareg comes with either 19 or 20-inch alloy wheels. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton)

That stuff joins the permanent all-wheel-drive system, cruise control and dual-zone climate control, and an 8.0-inch, nav-equipped touchscreen - though it does miss out on Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   8/10

We like the Touareg Adventure's 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6, which makes light work of overtakes with its 180kW at 4000rpm and 550Nm at 1750rpm. The power is channeled through a smooth, eight-speed automatic gearbox and is sent on to all four wheels.

Volkswagen reckons that's enough to accomplish the sprint from 0-100km/h in 7.6 seconds.

The Touareg's 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 makes 180kW/550Nm. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton) The Touareg's 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6 makes 180kW/550Nm. (image credit: Andrew Chesterton)

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

It's a big bopper, the Touareg, and so it's fuel use isn't as frugal as you might hope. That said, the addition of start/stop technology and a coasting system (that engages a false neutral when it can) helps bring the number down to a respectable 7.4L/100km on the claimed/combined cycle. 

Emissions are listed at 196g/km of C02.

What's it like to drive?   7/10

You need look no further than Hugh Hefner to see that age isn't always an inhibitor to performance. Sure, it might slow you down, but getting on a bit doesn't mean you're lost to the world.

But in the world of cars, it does mean you're more easily overlooked. Take the Touareg, which is now a touch over five years old, and facing stiff competition, not just from rival manufacturers, but from the younger, slicker Tiguan. And so we meet this new Touareg Adventure, which lowers the entry price to a V6-powered Touareg.

There's so much to love about a rich, torque-heavy diesel V6, and the Touareg's unit serves up plenty of old-school grunt to help get the Adventure moving, regardless of whether you're in the city or further afield.

So much so that it's difficult to imagine any lesser engine could be quite so much fun. The Tiguan feels heavy, you see; like it requires some considerable grunt to help it feel more nimble. Even then, it requires manhandling, with heavy steering and suspension meaning you need to exert a little more effort than you may be used to. 

We didn't venture off road, but it's a smooth and comfortable on-road tourer.

The good news, though, is  the engine makes light work of  urban and freeway motoring, and the smooth eight-speed auto helps make your journey quiet and refined. In fact, it isn’t until you attempt some more athletic driving that the gearbox gets confused, constantly wanting to shift down mid-corner. A paddle-shift system would solve the problem.

Elsewhere, the technology is feeling aged now, and makes the drive experience feel dated, but if you're not particularly tech-savvy, that's unlikely to bother you too much.

We didn't venture off road, but it's a smooth and comfortable on-road tourer, with a heap of space inside and the kind of plush, comfortable seats and easy mannerisms that make long-distance touring a breeze.

Warranty & Safety Rating

Basic Warranty

3 years / unlimited km warranty

ANCAP Safety Rating

ANCAP logo

What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating?   8/10

The Touareg adventure is fitted with an impressive suite of standard safety kit, which starts with nine airbags (dual front, side and curtain bags, along with a driver's knee bag and side airbags for backseat passengers).

Beyond that, though, the Touareg adds a reversing camera, parking sensors, a fatigue-detection system and forward collision warning with AEB

The Touareg hasn't been ANCAP crash-tested since 2008, but did score the maximum five-star rating then.

What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered?   7/10

A standard three-year/unlimited km warranty is a little behind the times now, but service intervals are a healthy 15,000km or 12 months. 

A capped price servicing scheme limits total maintenance costs to $1815 for the first three years of ownership.

Verdict

Yes, it's getting on a bit, and if you're one of those people in the queue for a new iPhone every year you'll find the technology a little frustrating. But as far as big, practical and powerful SUVs go, the Touareg Adventure has still got plenty to offer.

Does the Adventure edition keep the VW Touareg on the pace? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Pricing Guides

$63,990
Based on 36 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$46,990
Highest Price
$88,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
150 TDI 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $51,590 – 59,290 2017 VOLKSWAGEN TOUAREG 2017 150 TDI Pricing and Specs
150 TDI Element 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $46,990 – 59,990 2017 VOLKSWAGEN TOUAREG 2017 150 TDI Element Pricing and Specs
150 TDI MONOCHROME 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $56,100 – 64,460 2017 VOLKSWAGEN TOUAREG 2017 150 TDI MONOCHROME Pricing and Specs
V6 ADVENTURE 3.0L, Diesel, 8 SP AUTO $64,460 – 74,030 2017 VOLKSWAGEN TOUAREG 2017 V6 ADVENTURE Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7.4
Design7
Practicality8
Price and features7
Engine & trans8
Fuel consumption7
Driving7
Safety8
Ownership7
Andrew Chesterton
Contributing journalist

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