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2015 Volkswagen Touareg: What You Need to Know

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 5/20/2015 Stefan Ogbac
© Volkswagen

New for 2015

The mildly refreshed 2015 Volkswagen Touareg gains refreshed front and rear exterior designs, standard LED tailights and HID headlights, a revised interior, new wheel designs, and a host of new safety aids including adaptive cruise control, Lane Assist, Front Assist, and an Automatic Post-Collision Braking System.

Vehicle Summary

The 2015 Volkswagen Touareg is a midsize all-wheel-drive two-row luxury SUV available with gas, diesel, and hybrid powertrains. A 3.6-liter V-6 rated at 280 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque is the base engine while a turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V-6 with 240 hp and 406 lb-ft is optional. Those looking for the most power should consider the Touareg Hybrid with its 380-hp powertrain that combines a supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 with an electric motor. All engines are mated exclusively to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Fuel economy is decent for its size with the gas-powered Touareg rated at 17/23 mpg city/highway and the hybrid at 20/24 mpg. For maximum fuel economy without sacrificing performance and capability, consider the more expensive and lower-volume diesel-powered Touareg TDI, which is rated at 20/29 mpg, offers plenty of power, and has the same towing capacity as the base SUV and the hybrid at 7,716 pounds.

Overview

All 2015 Volkswagen Touaregs come standard with heated seats, eight-way power front seats, and Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which applies the brakes after an impact is detected to prevent a second one. Stepping up to the Sport with Technology adds navigation, rearview camera, and keyless entry and start. The Lux trim builds on top of the Sport with Technology grade with features such as a panoramic sunroof, Park Distance Controls, and 19-inch wheels. Finally the range-topping Executive and Hybrid models add the Dynaudio sound system, multi-camera parking system, 20-inch wheels for the gas and diesel-powered Touaregs, and heated steering wheel. While the 2015 Touareg's interior feels luxurious, it isn't as opulent as the previous generation due to the more conservative design. Cargo space is respectable for the class with up to 64 cubic feet with the rear seats down and 32.1 cubic feet with them up.

In terms of performance, the hybrid variant of the 2015 Touareg provides the most, offering excellent acceleration for its size and rivaling competitors with V-8s in a straight line. For an SUV, the Touareg handles decently, though it doesn't drive smaller than it actually is. The 20-inch wheels in Executive models, however, detract from the SUV's overall ride comfort and transmit rough surfaces more than Touaregs with 18s or 19s.

Higher trim levels are available with the Driver Assistance package, which adds Lane Change Assistant, lane departure warning, and adaptive cruise control with Autonomous Emergency Braking, which can apply the brakes if you get too close to the car up front. In IIHS evaluations, the 2015 Touareg received a Good score in four categories (Good is the highest possible score).

What We Think

Thanks to its available diesel engine, the 2015 Volkswagen Touareg remains a good choice for those looking for an upscale SUV but aren't afraid of the non-premium badge. In a First Test, we said the diesel-powered Touareg TDI provides plenty of speed and capability and can match the mechanically similar Porsche Cayenne Diesel in a straight line without sacrificing fuel economy, though the powertrain can be loud. Off-road, the SUV remains capable, allowing owners to take on light trails with ease. We also noted in a 2013 First Test that its electronic aids, particularly the Automatic Hill Descent Assist, operated smoothly and doesn't "grab the brakes suddenly" when trying to drive down an incline. Seat comfort, especially up front, however, is a weak point due to a longer seat base, forcing shorter drivers to set their legs straighter than normal.

In a comparison test among four diesel-powered SUVs including a Mercedes-Benz ML, Porsche Cayenne, and Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Touareg placed last.

You'll Like

  • Available diesel engine
  • Quick in a straight line
  • Good off-road capability

You Won't Like

  • Hybrid model isn't that fuel-efficient
  • Gets expensive quickly
  • Seat cushions up front are too long

Key Competitors

  • Acura MDX
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • BMW X5
  • Lexus RX 350
  • Mercedes-Benz ML

Rating

3 star

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