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2013 Volkswagen Touareg Pros and Cons at TrueDelta: Compare to other mid-size SUV's by jrcongdon

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Introduction

We cross shopped our Touareg against an MDX, the newer RDX, a Toyota Highlander Hybrid, BMW X3 and the VW offered the best value for us.

Reviewed: 2013 Volkswagen Touareg

4dr SUV 280-horsepower 3.6L V6 8-speed shiftable automatic AWD

Why the 2013 Volkswagen Touareg?

Exterior styling

The VW Touareg (this is in its 3rd generation now, since 2011, review is for the latest VR6 Sport w/navi model) serves as the basis for much more expensive SUV's (Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne) as they all start out in the same plant in Bratislavia so they have the same basic styling which looks aggressive but not gaudy. The car has great proportions but is not too large to fit in most garages and is an 'in-between' bigger than compact SUV's but not as big as full-size ones; we like the minor chrome pieces and understated design.

Interior styling

Fit & finish is quite good when compared to its American or Japanese rivals. The mix of soft touch materials and feel of the leatherette seats is on par with 'real' leather (fools occupants all the time) and it seems to be quite durable as well. The cabin seems quite spacious but not too big.

Color choices

we picked the night blue metallic and cornsilk interior colors; VW limits the color choices to lots of grays all the way up to black and plain white so they may lose a few points as the older generation Touareg's were offered in more choices. This 'night blue' is quite similar to other cars I've owned so was happy it was offered -- personal preference.

Powertrain performance

This is were the Touareg actually offers more than most of its competition, we opted for a gas powered VR6 but a diesel as well as gas-hybrid model are offered. All come with a very smooth shifting 8-speed which does quite well both around town and on long stretches of highway. The Touareg can definitely accelerate when getting on to on ramps, etc.

Audio & nav systems

ours is the Sport w/navigation which also includes a backup camera. So far the navigation has been more help than hindrance as VW has seen fit to include 4 years of traffic warnings, etc. with Sirius for 'free'. The 3D effect when downtown, etc. gives you decent landmarks to pass on your journey, etc. and the voice commands (so far) have been easy to use. The audio is simply OK, could use some higher fidelity but passable for me so far. HD radio and Sirius trial is included as well as 2 slots for SD cards which I may try to see if the sound isn't as 'muddy' with the Sat radio.

Why Not the 2013 Volkswagen Touareg?

Insurance cost

insurance was not bad but not sure on depreciation, we did get a very good purchase price versus full MSRP (actually under dealer invoice) so we'll see how it does down the road.

Interior styling

it seems all US based import cars get these huge headrests for the center row rear seats; obstructs view a bit out the back but at least the rear window is big enough to see around them.

Feature availability

as others have mentioned, it would be nice if VW offered a few a la cart options (like heated steering wheel, heated mirrors, etc.) on the 'lower' trim levels.

Conclusion

Still happy after two months of ownership, taking a long trip at the end of the month so hopefully all those things we've mentioned hold true.

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