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Volkswagen Touareg 2023 review: 170TDI

The Touareg's sleek and elegant shape sets it apart from other big bruiser SUVs

The Volkswagen Touareg is in the large SUV family, and its size does not disappoint. But, does the beefy price tag of this five seater match up to its grandeur? Keep reading to find out.

Along with the Touareg’s large size, you’ll also find that it sports a large price tag, coming in at $87,990, before on-road costs, for the base model.

That’s a decent amount of money, so, what do you get for it?

Well, for starters you get a well known brand, and yes, you’re paying for German engineering, but also a great reputation and premium finishes.

But is that enough? This particular test car is fitted with the 'Innovision' package, costing an extra $6615 and this paint colour, 'Oyster Silver Metallic', is just under $1700 on top of that.

So, now we’re above $96,000, plus on-roads. For many families, what you get may not justify the price tag.

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What does it look like?

The size of the Touareg is what will sell it to most families, and this one is noticeably larger than its predecessors. 

Even without a sunroof, the large windscreen and side windows allow heaps of natural light and visibility. So much so that I didn't actually miss having my beloved panoramic roof!

By the way, a panoramic sunroof is only an option on the two higher variants if you can't live without one.

The Touareg is noticeably larger than its predecessors. (image credit: Tom White) The Touareg is noticeably larger than its predecessors. (image credit: Tom White)

The sleekness and elegant shape of the exterior sets it apart from other big bruiser SUVs, and the LED headlamps blend into the front grill seamlessly.

Inside the cabin, VW has made it a modern luxurious environment with nice feeling finishes and massive screens that don't look like an afterthought.

The interior just screams 'luxury'. (image credit: Tom White) The interior just screams 'luxury'. (image credit: Tom White)

The gear shifter and everything in the centre feels well thought out with easy access - nothing will get in your way when trying to throw it into reverse.

From the leather seats and steering wheel to the piano black surfaces, and even the use of customisable ambient lighting, the interior just screams 'luxury'.

How does it drive?

I've been testing the 170TDI which is an all-wheel drive, 3.0-litre, V6 turbo-diesel engine. There is nice power available, getting you from 0-100km/h in 7.5 seconds.

Not something I usually care about, but that's impressive for the base model of such a big vehicle. Our personal family car is a VW Golf wagon, and even for an SUV, the overall drivability of the Touareg feels familiar.

The V6 turbo-diesel engine provides plenty of power. (image credit: Tom White) The V6 turbo-diesel engine provides plenty of power. (image credit: Tom White)

It's balanced and stable through corners like most VWs I've experienced. It's big and heavy, but a comfortable and easy drive.

The large media screen, parking sensors, and clear reversing camera make for an effortless and stress-free parking experience, which is what you want in a large SUV.

How spacious is it?

There is so much room, no matter where you sit. Front, back and the boot space is incredible. You'd easily fit three child seats across the back row.

There's enough room for front and rear passengers. Even with the child seats in place, my mother-in-law sat happily and comfortably in the centre rear seat.

Okay, she's petite, but she's also 70, and still found it easy to climb in and out of the space between the two child seats. I also rode between the seats, and had enough shoulder room, which is impressive.

You'd easily fit three child seats across the back row. (image credit: Tom White) You'd easily fit three child seats across the back row. (image credit: Tom White)

When I couldn't access the boot, I even had enough space on the floor behind the front seats to change my baby's nappy! Very impressive from a parent's point of view.

The boot space is HUGE! I can't imagine it being too small for any family. You get a massive 1800L storage capacity with the back row folded down, and 810L capacity with it folded up.

That is plenty of space for day-to-day mum life, and we would easily fit everything we need for a family road trip. An option for a third row would have been nice, though, especially as most SUVs of this size and price have seven seats.

Boot space is rated at 810 litres. (image credit: Tom White) Boot space is rated at 810 litres. (image credit: Tom White)

How easy is it to use every day?

For everyday use, I can't complain, but, for such a large vehicle, I was surprised by the lack of storage space in the front row.

The glove box is pretty standard and you have the usual two cupholders in the centre and bottle holders in each door.

There is a space in the centre under the media screen for wireless phone charging, so once in use, you can't use that space for anything else. And there is a cute mini map pocket on the passenger side that would fit a phone, sunglasses or snacks.

But my biggest issue is the centre console bin. It looks massive, but it's really shallow. It just isn't as spacious as I was expecting. But in saying that, overall, there isn't anything that would prevent you from living your best mum life in the Touareg.

Being able to fit a full week's worth of groceries next to my full-size pram in the boot is every parent's hope and dream. And having a powered tailgate (which is standard across all variants) is the cherry on top.

How safe is it?

VWs are generally packed with safety features and this Touareg doesn't disappoint. It comes with AEB, front and rear cross-traffic assist, lane assist with adaptive lane guidance and driver fatigue detection, just to name a few. 

There are eight airbags, two of which are rear side airbags, not to be confused with the side curtain airbags - the Touareg has both of those. Such a bonus and a big tick when considering this for your family car.

VWs are generally packed with safety features and this Touareg doesn't disappoint. (image credit: Tom White) VWs are generally packed with safety features and this Touareg doesn't disappoint. (image credit: Tom White)

Also, the Touareg received a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating, from testing in 2018.

Now, when it comes to your kids safety, you get your choice of two ISOFIX points on the outer rear seats or three top tether harness points. 

And you will definitely get three child seats across the back row as there is plenty of space! Oh, and installing them is a breeze, which is always a bonus.

What's the tech like?

As mentioned above, this test car is fitted with the Innovision package, which will give you a 12.3-inch digital cockpit display, 15-inch colour touchscreen, a head-up display, the cool interior lighting, and more. Keep in mind this package is standard with the higher variants.

I had a problem with the media screen. My personal family car is a Volkswagen, so I know my way around the multimedia menu.

But while I was excited to see what this massive screen could do, it just isn't that user-friendly. There are no tactile buttons for the air conditioning, which would be fine if most of the common adjustments were more easily accessible.

I found myself leaning forward, having to take my eyes off the road just to adjust the fan speed. Whatever you need to do, you'll almost always need to go back to one of the two main home screens to find what you're looking for.

There's a 12.3-inch digital cockpit display. (image credit: Tom White) There's a 12.3-inch digital cockpit display. (image credit: Tom White)

There are three buttons on the shortcuts bar you can customise but the options are limited. It has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but they're both wired. If I'm spending this much on my family car I'm hoping I'd be able to connect wirelessly.

For another $5846 you can add on the 'Sound and Comfort' package,  which includes a 360-degree camera view ('Area View surround view cameras' in VW speak), a nicer Dynaudio sound system, 18-way power front seats with memory for three positions, heated front and rear outboard seats, and folding side mirrors, again, just to name a few of the inclusions.

Could you live without all of these extras? Absolutely. But part of owning a new Touareg is enjoying a bit of luxury, so if you're in the target market for this type of car, these packages would probably be appealing.

How much does it cost to own?

Volkswagen claims an official combined fuel consumption figure of 6.8L/100km, and over my two week test I used 10.0L/100km.

We did minimal highway driving, mostly short trips running errands and doing the day-care drop off and pick up, which always pushes my fuel consumption upwards.

There is no petrol option and I've mentioned this before, but a diesel engine really isn't for our family as most of our daily driving is 15 minutes or shorter, which isn't ideal for a diesel, so that is always something to consider when purchasing your vehicle.

The Touareg is covered by VW's five year, unlimited km warranty. (image credit: Tom White) The Touareg is covered by VW's five year, unlimited km warranty. (image credit: Tom White)

Volkswagen offers a five year, unlimited km warranty with one year complimentary 24 hour roadside assist.

Pay up front, five-year capped-price 'Care Plan' service packages are available.

Servicing is every 12 months or 15,000km, whichever comes first. and the average annual cost for the Touareg 170TDI is $600.

Not exactly a bargain, but that represents an $810 saving over pay-as-you-go pricing.

The Wrap

The Touareg is big, luxe, comfortable and so spacious. As a premium, large Euro SUV it's actually great value when comparing it to the other German marques. 

This is the base model and it ticks so many boxes as a family car, especially being able to fit three child seats across the back. 

But with one or two add-on packages, extra paint cost, then chuck in your on-roads, you're forking out over $100K. And if you're stretching your budget to even get to the base model, I'd be questioning whether the Touareg is worth the stretch when there are more affordable luxurious options such as the Hyundai Palisade.

Nevertheless, if you have the budget and can get used to the awkward multimedia system, I think you'll be very happy with this entry-level, latest generation Touareg. 

I'm giving the Volkswagen Touareg 4/5.


Easy to drive - it doesn't feel like a large SUV
So spacious!
Luxurious feel for the money


Only comes in a diesel option
Unintuitive media screen
Modest front row storage




The Kids:


$84,370 - $97,020

Based on third party pricing data


Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.