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Volkswagen Touareg Wolfsburg Edition 2017 review

2017 Volkswagen Touareg Wolfsburg Edition
EXPERT RATING
7.1
You can't help but feel for Volkswagen's Touareg, with the long-time big brother in VW's SUV range receiving the full Jan Brady treatment from the newer, younger, and shinier Tiguan.

You can't help but feel for Volkswagen's Touareg, with the long-time big brother in VW's SUV range receiving the full Jan Brady treatment from the newer, younger and shinier Tiguan.

The big Touareg's been bumbling along happily for more than five years, soaking up VW's large SUV sales. And then, suddenly, the all-new Tiguan arrives. Fast-forward to February 2017, and the Tiggy is managing nearly 1000 sales a month. The Touareg? Less than 150.

Enter, then, the Touareg Wolfsburg Edition. Named after VW's German home town, the Wolfsburg is based on the mid-spec V6 TDI model, and adds a suite of niceties inside and out to attract new interest to the admittedly ageing model.

So is a mid-life makeover enough to win interest back from the Tiguan?

Volkswagen Touareg 2017: V6 WOLFSBURG EDITION
Safety rating
Engine Type3.0L turbo
Fuel TypeDiesel
Fuel Efficiency7.4L/100km
Seating5 seats
Price from$66,660

Is there anything interesting about its design?   6/10

It's big and bold, this Touareg, and there's little doubt the Wolfsburg treatment has added a fair slice of masculinity to an already-muscular design.

Those massive, blacked-out alloys, the bulging guards and even the soaring ride height all give the Touareg a formidable, lane-filling road presence. Viewed front on, the double-height grille (separated by a thin line of body work that houses the number plate) is a beautifully premium touch, while the chunky rear end is bookmarked at each side by a fat exhaust pipe.

  • 2017 Volkswagen Touareg Wolfsburg Edition (image credit: Andrew Chesterton) 2017 Volkswagen Touareg Wolfsburg Edition (image credit: Andrew Chesterton)
  • 2017 Volkswagen Touareg Wolfsburg Edition (image credit: Andrew Chesterton) 2017 Volkswagen Touareg Wolfsburg Edition (image credit: Andrew Chesterton)
  • 2017 Volkswagen Touareg Wolfsburg Edition (image credit: Andrew Chesterton) 2017 Volkswagen Touareg Wolfsburg Edition (image credit: Andrew Chesterton)
  • 2017 Volkswagen Touareg Wolfsburg Edition (image credit: Andrew Chesterton) 2017 Volkswagen Touareg Wolfsburg Edition (image credit: Andrew Chesterton)
  • 2017 Volkswagen Touareg Wolfsburg Edition (image credit: Andrew Chesterton) 2017 Volkswagen Touareg Wolfsburg Edition (image credit: Andrew Chesterton)

Inside, everything is big, textured and chunky, from the thick, leather-wrapped wheel to the raised diamond stitching on the nappa leather seats.

It's a strong and striking package, this Touareg, let down slightly by the side-on view, which shows a slightly out of proportion rear end. We're also not sold on the alloys, with the youthful black rims looking out of place on an otherwise premium-looking package.

How practical is the space inside?   8/10

Hugely so. This is the big bopper in VW's SUV family, and space is not something you'll want for in this Wolfsburg edition.

The base measurements are 4.8m in length, a touch over 1.9m in width and 1.7m in height, and those numbers translate to a heap of useable space inside. And with just the five seats, there's plenty of boot space, with the Touareg offering 580 litres even with the second row of seating in place. Drop the 60/40 split second row, however, and that number grows to 1642 litres.

It's a big car, and predictably there's a heap of space in the backseat.

Up front, there are two cupholders recessed into a gloss black centre console that's festooned with dials covering everything from ride height, the on-road/off-road dial and the suspension settings. There are also pockets in the door for bottles up front, and a heap of cubby hole hiding places.

It's a big car, and predictably there's a heap of space in the backseat. I had several centimetres of clear air above my head and in front of my knees when sitting behind my own driving position, and you could seat three across the back without issue.

Choose not to, and you'll find two cupholders hidden in a pull down divider separating the window seats, and backseat passengers also get rear air-con vents and a power outlet. There are storage nets on the back of the front seats and room in the back door pockets for small bottles.

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

The Touareg Wolfsburg Edition is based on the V6 TDI variant, which sits above the 150 TDI and below the booming V8 TDI in the all-diesel Touareg lineup,

Its $88,990 sticker price is $3k over the donor car, the $85,490 V6 TDI, but it is swimming in extra equipment to help justify the increase. For a start, the usually optional safety pack is fitted as standard, which adds active cruise control and forward collision alert with AEB, along with 'Lane Assist' and a heated leather steering wheel. Your 20-inch alloys are now a cool black design, too, with the blacked-out theme continuing to the tinted rear lights.

Inside, expect the same 8.0-inch, nav-equipped touchscreen feeding a basic stereo, along with dual-zone climate control and heated (and electronically controlled) front seats, but opting for the Wolfsburg edition adds a 3D diamond pattern to your nappa leather seats, along with an ambient lighting system and some  wood inserts in the dash.

What are the key stats for the engine and transmission?   7/10

It's not the biggest diesel engine in the Touareg family, but the Wolfsburg's 3.0-litre V6 provides plenty of momentum whether you're pulling away from a light or overtaking.

The official numbers are 180kW at 4000rpm and 550Nm from 1750rpm, fed through an eight-speed automatic transmission before being channelled to all four wheels. That's enough to knock-off a 0-100km/h sprint in a very reasonable 7.6 seconds.

How much fuel does it consume?   7/10

Clever fuel saving tech, including a stop-start function and the ability to 'coast' when it can, helps keep claimed combined fuel use to 7.4L/100km, with emissions pegged at 196g/km.

The Touareg is fitted with a 100-litre fuel tank.

What's it like to drive?   7/10

Slipping into the driver's seat of the now middle-aged Touareg is still a happy experience, but it does feel noticeably heavier, and a touch clunky, even, when directly compared to the smaller, and newer, Tiguan.

A lot is being asked of this Touareg, which is expected not just to shine on-road, but to handle some light (and less light, to be fair) off-roading duties. So it offers decent approach and departure angles, and ground clearance of 233mm with a wading depth of 580mm, along with a permanent all-wheel drive set-up that can be set to 'Off Road' via a big and shiny dial in the centre console. And the Touareg does fulfil its best of both worlds brief happily.

But perhaps because it's fulfilling so many duties, its on-road characteristics suffer slightly. For one, there's a persistent electric whirr that begins somewhere behind the steering wheel, and it doesn't manage to feel quite as sharp dynamically as its younger Tiguan sibling.

The real treat here is that torque-rich engine and smooth automatic transmission, both of which communicate with each seamlessly.

Road noise is banished, however, and the suspension - while a touch firm, even in comfort - does allow for a connection with the road surface below, aided by the combination of air suspension (which focuses on ride height) and adaptive dampers. The steering set-up inspires confidence, too, even if it does feel a little wafting at times.

But the real treat here is that torque-rich engine and smooth automatic transmission, both of which communicate with each seamlessly and work an absolute treat, delivering a thick wave of torque whenever you plant your foot.

There are signs of ageing, however. The driver's binnacle is an analogue setup with a tiny digital screen in the middle, the touchscreen is slow and clunky and the phone pairing options positively old-school compared to its modern competition.

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 regular V6 Tiguan arrives with nine airbags (dual front, side and curtain, along with a driver's knee bag and side airbags for backseat passengers), along with a 360-degree reversing camera, parking sensors, a fatigue-detection system and a clever multi-collision brake system.

Opting for the Wolfsburg, however, adds the 'Driver Assistance Package' as standard fit, adding adaptive cruise, forward collision warning with AEB, lane assist and blind-spot monitoring.

The Touareg range was awarded the maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating when tested in 2008, with this update model yet to be crash tested.

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

The Touareg family is covered by a three-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, and will require servicing every 15,000km or 12 months.

VW's capped price servicing program limits total maintenance costs to $1,815 for the first three years of ownership.

Verdict

It might be ageing, but it's at least taking the fine wine route. It's comfortable, spacious and practical, and the engine and gearbox combination is first class. It is, however, let down by the lightning-quick speed at which technology changes, with some of the interior tech now feeling more than a little old world.

Is the Volkswagen Touareg an oldie but a goodie, or too long in the tooth? 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
7.1
Design6
Practicality8
Price and features7
Engine & trans7
Fuel consumption7
Driving7
Safety8
Ownership7
Andrew Chesterton
Contributing journalist

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