The new-look Volkswagen SUV: Funny name, serious people-mover

Two is better than one. Volkswagen has finally freshened their very successful Touareg SUV, now called the Touareg 2. Funny name, serious people-mover.

Two is better than one. Volkswagen has finally freshened their very successful Touareg SUV, now called the Touareg 2. Funny name, serious people-mover.

The first thing you’ll notice is a new front end. Everyone that eyed my test Touareg thought it looked more like a Volkswagen than the first generation. I agree. The rear end got a makeover, too, with a new spoiler and nice LED taillights. Topping off the exterior are some nice new colors.

The interior has been freshened, as well. It’s even a nicer place to hang out than before with an easier to read dash, 12-way power driver’s seat and a start-stop button that allows you to keep the key fob in your pocket and go. The only glitch in the redesign is the power rear lift gate that almost hit me in the face as it swung up. It pops opens way too fast.

Some nice improvements were made under the hood, too, including more horsepower and better fuel economy. You have a choice of three power plants, including a 280-horsepower six-cylinder, a 350-horsepower V8 and a monster V10 twin turbo diesel making 310 ponies.

I test-drove the V8 version on an excursion to Portland. It was a pleasant drive, indeed, even with a non-stop downpour. The Touareg 2 feels more nimble and user-friendly than the first generation. The stereo system is killer with 10 speakers, custom-tuned for the Touareg 2. I am usually pretty quick to learn stuff like navigation systems, but this one threw me for a loop. It was just too complicated for my passenger and me. Funny – all that technology and we still got lost in Portland.

This German house on wheels doesn’t come cheap. The price starts at $39,000 and tops out at $68,000 for the V10 TDI. Ouch! You do get 24-hour roadside assistance. Maybe you can call them and let the assistant talk you through the pain of monthly payments and the price you’re paying for fuel.

The Touareg is nice and safe and expensive. But in this case, you really do get what you pay for.

Mike West writes about automotive and transportation-related subjects. He can be reached at mike-west@comcast.net.


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