2012 Volkswagen Touareg 150TDI Review

Overall Rating

  • Interior

  • On The Road

  • Ancap

  • Value For Money

  • See Full Specs

What’s Hot

Great value, stop-start tech, huge comfort.

What’s Not

Looks like a Golf having a fat day.

X Factor

Amazing fuel efficiency (for such an big car): 'green' cred plus power to boot.

  • Country of Origin
    SLOVAKIA
  • Price
    $62,990 (plus on-road costs)
  • Engine
    6 Cylinders
  • Output
    150 kW / 400 Nm
  • Transmission
    Sports Automatic
  • ANCAP Rating
    N/A
  • Airbags
    Side for 2nd Row Occupants (rear), Driver & Passenger (Dual), Knee Driver, Head for 2nd Row Seats, Side for 1st Row Occupants (Front), Head for 1st Row Seats (Front)
  • L/100 km
    7.2
  • C02
    190 g/km
  • Luggage Capacity
    686 L
  • Towing (braked)
    3500 kg
  • Towing (unbraked)
    750 kg
Samantha Stevens | Dec 7, 2011 | 13 Comments

2012 VOLKSWAGEN TOUAREG REVIEW

Vehicle Style: Wagon/SUV, five doors, five seats.
Price: $62,990
Fuel Economy (claimed): 7.2l/100km
Fuel Economy (tested): 8.4l/100km

Volkswagen's long-in-the-tooth Touareg landed with an all-new platform and design makeover mid-year - it's longer, has more interior space and also scored a couple of heart transplants.

The result is much-improved looks and fuel-efficiencies across the 2012 model range.

The 150TDI, under test here, stands out as the green choice with stop-start technology, an efficient V6 diesel and a hefty 150kW on command – hence the name.

INTERIOR

Quality: The Germans do a restrained and beautiful, if somewhat-Spartan, interior. The Touareg executes these guiding principles with soft-touch surfaces and instruments, cohesive design lines and excellent vision and light.

Comfort: With standard leather and lovely adjustable seats, most travellers will have no complaints spending time in the Touareg. There is no third row, so all travel first-class (and you can leave the garden gnomes at home).

Equipment: The specification list is long and generous in the Touareg – it’s hard to believe the car sits in the low $60ks.

The only options are a ‘driver assist pack’ of radar cruise-control, blind spot and lane-departure warning system, and a heated leather steering wheel for $5400, a moon-roof for $3000, air suspension at $4900 and bi-Xenon headlights for $3500.

Unfortunately, GPS is a pricey $4900 option, but metallic paint is only $1500.

Storage: The 150TDI has a large flat boot offering 1642 litres of space with the rear seats folded, 580 litres with them in place.

ON THE ROAD

Driveability: There’s a good reason for VW to put the ‘150’ in the V6 diesel’s name - it’s not often you’ll find an SUV diesel over the 120kW mark, much less the 150kW in the Touareg.

The 3.0-litre V6 develops 150kW at 4000rpm, and a fat 400Nm at 2000rpm. VW claims a 7.2 l/100km fuel sip, we managed a 8.4 l/100km. For a 2150kg car – the technology truly is awesome.

The stop-start system is not as quick as some (ie. Jaguar), but starts smoothly with about two turns of the crank after shutting down under full braking.

Vibration is minimal; you know it has switched off and back on again, but after the first few applications, it becomes invisible.

However, if you have a habit of braking then releasing slightly when coming to a complete stop, the stop/start won’t operate – some competing systems are less sensitive about this.

One debit was the slow speed steering, which we didn’t like much. The electronics overcompensate and make the wheel feel remote at speeds of up to about 30km/h.

The drive otherwise is easy and relaxed, with excellent vision through the big windows and standard cameras for parking and reversing.

Refinement: It is a beautifully refined engine/gearbox combination. But despite claiming a sub-10 second 0-100km/h time (9.0 secs), it doesn’t feel that agile off the mark.

This is largely due to a rather heavy-handed, ultra-sensible eight-speed gearbox which doles out the power and torque judiciously, keeping the fuel use low.

It boasts 190g/C02, which is excellent for a car this size, but only gets a 3.5 star nod for its green rating.

Suspension: The ride in the Touareg is comfortable and communicative; the 17-inch alloys with fat multi-surface tyres do no harm to the sublime ride (we question the need for the expensive air-suspension option).

Braking: The brakes are marginally over-sensitive at the pedal, but have no trouble hauling the heavy 150TDI to a stop.

SAFETY

ANCAP rating: 5-Stars

Safety features: Front, side and curtain airbags, front load limiter/pretensioner seatbelts, rear pretensioner seatbelts, front active headrests, Brake Assist, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Hill Holder, Hill Descent Control, Rollover Control, Traction Control, Electronic Stability Control, Hill Descent Control, forward and reverse parking sensors

WARRANTY AND SERVICING

Warranty: Three year with roadside assist

Service costs: Check with your VW dealer before purchase.

HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY

BMW X5 xDrive30d ($92,100) - Three-litre (straight) six and eight-speed auto, with easily the best and most dynamic handling in its class - but it’s bigger, and far pricier. 
(see X5 reviews)

Audi Q7 3.0 TDI ($129,300) - The Q7 is an immense car by comparison, both in dimensions and price. The Audi is superbly appointed, that’s why it sits at double the price, but why would you not look at the Touareg? 
(see Q7 reviews)

Mazda CX-9 Luxury ($59,233) - It ain’t a diesel, but it’s a seven-seat 3.7 litre V6 that threatens the Touareg at the price point and for on-road manners. However, the level of specification is nowhere near the VW’s. 
(see CX-9 reviews)

Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.

TMR VERDICT | OVERALL

Surprised with the overall rating? So are we – but the numbers don’t lie. It's our third look at the new Touareg and we're warming to it.

When pitted against the top-dogs in the premium SUV segment, it makes very good sense. Dollar for dollar, feature for feature, the value-equation for the 150TDI Touareg is a very strong one.

An excellent interior, superior on-road manners, a strong 150kW V6 diesel in the nose, and remarkable fuel economy for such a large and capable car, all add up to make the 150TDI an appealing and versatile package.

Priced at the lower end of the luxury SUV category, the 150TDI should be high on your list.

Filed under: Volkswagen, Featured, review, wagon, volkswagen touareg, dsg, diesel, Europe, awd, automatic, Germany, family, large, Advice, special-featured, 6cyl, 5door, 8a, 7seat

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  • Andrew says,
    2 years ago
    5 likes
    Price is about the same as Ford Territory Titanium All-wheel drive diesel - $63,240! So, which one is better?
  • Poisson says,
    2 years ago
    5 likes
    I must have a look at one of these..

    However: "GPS is a pricey $4900 option" I really can't see how the manufacturers can justify such high pries for options. While it's nice to have a big screen integrated sat-nav, the OEM unit's functionality is often far short of a $200 TomTom.
  • brissim says,
    2 years ago
    2 likes
    150kW @ 400Nm is not that impressive from a 3 litre 6 cylinder diesel. And especially when the vehicle is on the wrong side of 2 tonnes. Volvo manages 158kW/440Nm from its 2.4l 5 cylinder diesel and BMW's 3 litre diesel is up to 190kW/560Nm or 225kW/650Nm for its twin turbo version. Even the Ford Territory diesel is 140kW @ 420 Nm from an 8 year old 2.7 litre diesel.
    • Jay says,
      2 years ago
      1 like
      Brissim, be aware the 150kw engine is the cut down version of the mainstream Touareg engine..... The full spec version 3L VW TDI produces 176kw with 550NM of torque (same engine as used by Audi)
  • Jgcanale says,
    2 years ago
    1 like
    I think there is a mistake with the 7 seats.
  • Rollypolly says,
    2 years ago
    1 like
    Great review... except the Touareg is only available as a 5 seater
    • Mike Stevens
      Mike Stevens [TMR] says,
      2 years ago
      3 likes
      Hi Rollypolly,

      Yes, it is only available as a five seater; we had corrected the seating information in editing, but obviously overlooked a second reference. Thanks for the pick-up, the error shouldn't have slipped through... but thousands of eyes always prove to be better than two. Cheers.
  • Fitzy says,
    2 years ago
    2 likes
    You say "it’s not often you’ll find an SUV diesel over the 120kW mark, much less the 150kW in the Touareg". "The 3.0-litre V6 develops 150kW at 4000rpm, and a fat 400Nm at 2000rpm."

    My Hyundai Santa Fé 2.2R Highlander gives 147Kw (close) and 436Nm (more) and is less expensive.

    Not saying it's a better SUV but there's also the Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo with I think is 170Kw (also cheaper and well reviewed).
  • jesse says,
    2 years ago
    2 likes
    drop this motor in the amorok and it would be an easy decision....
  • roger vine says,
    2 years ago
    1 like
    IF you wait 6 mths for the next model you will get nearly $15000.00 worth of what are now options for free
    • tommyp says,
      2 years ago
      4 likes
      Whats happening in 6 months? a mid life update? If so, whats going to be different?
      Sorry for all the questions, but about to buy one....
  • Lee says,
    1 year ago
    1 like
    I purchased a 2012 TDI Lux about two months ago and it may be the best Lux SUV dollar for dollar on the market. In fact I have a hard time not smiling every time I get behind the wheel and every time I drive past a gas station. biggrin
  • Nathan says,
    1 year ago
    2 likes
    Is there a relatively easy way to squeeze more kWs from the 150? Eg a chip upgrade?
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