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2005 Volkswagen Touareg V-10 TDI - Long Term Report

The SUV That Will Change the Way You Think About Diesel

Robin StoverPhotographer, Writer

If you're concerned about vehicle safety, we assure you the engineers at VW covered all the bases with the Touareg platform. It sports an intelligently reinforced passenger compartment that wraps occupants in energy-absorbing interior materials, as well as six smart airbags that VW claims will protect travelers in the event of a side impact, rollover, or frontal collision. Luckily, our staff has kept the Touareg's external sheetmetal free of damage so far.

Unfortunately, we can't say the same about the vehicle's undercarriage. During the last service visit it became a topic of conversation. Service technicians from Volkswagen of Valencia shook their heads in disbelief because they hadn't ever seen the underside of a Touareg so badly bruised. Service advisor Alvin asked if we wanted the dented, scratched, and otherwise mangled skidplates replaced. We declined, citing that our evaluation was only half over. Having taken our VW to quite a few places you'd never expect to see a $63,000 SUV (Southern California's Miller Jeep Trail, Hells Revenge in Moab, and even Sand Mountain, Nevada, just to name a few), it doesn't surprise us that the underpinnings have suffered some abuse. Needless to say, we're mighty impressed with the Touareg's abilities thus far.

REPORT: 2 of 4
Previous reports: Sept. '05
Base price: $57,800
Price as tested: $63,365
Four-wheel-drive system: Permanent electronic 4WD with rotary-select low-range

Miles to date: 15,305
Miles since last report: 5,432
Average mpg : 17.76
Best tank (mpg): 25.2
Worst tank (mpg): 10.82

Rear differential leak
Cost: None, warranty
Rear center seatbelt tensioner failure
Cost: None, warranty
Problem areas: None

Hot: If our testing were the Olympics, the V-10-powered Touareg would get the gold medal for lightning-quick acceleration, idiot-proof traction control, and stylish ergonomics that make even the longest of road trips comfortable and fun.
Not: We wish VW would provide a tire-pressure monitoring system "off" switch to override the false warnings that never seem to go away. If we hear one more person yelling from across the fueling island, "Stop, you're going to destroy your engine-that's diesel," we're going to lose it and simply throw ourselves in front of a locomotive. Yes, it'll probably be diesel-powered.

* "The ultimate sleeper-the general public has no idea a beast like this even exists."
* "I wish the rear locker worked in high range too."
* "The Touareg's first aid kit is more like a triage kit and needs to be domesticated."
* "Fast, fast, fast-I love it."