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2016-11-01

2016 VOLKSWAGEN TOUAREG FULL SIZE SUV

2016 VOLKSWAGEN TOUAREG FULL SIZE SUV

The Touareg is Volkswagen’s largest SUV and is a distant relative of the Porsche Cayenne as the vehicles were jointly developed by the two allied German automakers. Although it carries a VW badge and not the famed shield of Porsche, it’s nonetheless a very luxurious and capable SUV and there are some who prefer the styling.

The Touareg is a handsome, rugged-looking vehicle and right from the start I’ve been evaluating these SUVs off-road, so know a fair bit about their performance under such conditions. Even if you buy SUVs for urban use, it’s good to know that the can handle some rough stuff when the need arises.

The vehicle’s go-anywhere capability owes much to VW’s 4MOTION all-wheel drive technology, which is certainly one of the better systems around the market today. Even driving on snow I’ve found it to be very sure-footed and confidence inspiring. It’s capable of directing power instantly to those wheels that have traction and this process is seamless and without any drama.

The Touareg is powered by a 3.6-litre V-6 engine with 280-horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. The transmission is an 8-speed automatic (with manual shift mode) and it provides a comfortable driving experience with almost imperceptible shift points. On the highway, the Touareg is a great touring vehicle – refined, relaxing and with lots of power on hand for fast overtaking when needed. There’s a general feeling of solidity about this SUV, partly due to its excellent build quality. Like just about every other VW, the Touareg is beautifully put together.

The interior presents an Audi-like ambiance and in fact, when you climb in, you could be in any high-end luxury SUV. It’s certainly not the most expensive SUV in the premium full size class, but it feels as good as anything else out there. VW has always been great with interior materials choice and the Touareg is no exception. The grained vinyl trim around the dash and console, all soft-touch, look very opulent. Leather seats are available too for a little extra cash. The lines of what could be a monotonous dash design are softened with wood and metal inlays and it all adds up to a cabin that’s very easy on the eye.

The vehicle is great fun to drive and feels safe and dependable. It also handles very well for a big rig, so you can just cruise along as though you were driving a luxury sedan. Luggage space is cavernous and it’s the perfect vehicle for a really long road trip.

SPECS AT A GLANCE…

BODY STYLE: 4-door SUV

ENGINE: 3.6-litre V-6

TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic, 4MOTION all-wheel drive

TOWING CAPACITY: 7,700 lbs. with trailer package

FUEL ECONOMY: 13.8-litres/100 km combined

PRICE: From $50,975 to $64,275 MSRP