Long-term Test: Volkswagen Touareg V6 3.0 TDI

After 10,000km the Carsales Network's long-term Touareg continues to impress

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Long-term Test
Volkswagen Touareg V6 3.0 TDI

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Touareg at 10K
Fuelling Around
Great, but not perfect
Tow Test
Taking Delivery

INTRODUCTION

Key to the Carsales Network's editorial responsibilities is the task of delivering information to make your choice of vehicle easier. Hopefully, we do this via our mix of news, international and local launch reviews and our seven-day tests.

From time to time we also take the opportunity to spend more time in a vehicle. These longer term tests can be as short as a couple of weeks, but more recently we've settled on a six-month period as indicative of 'normal' ownership.

Long-term tests give our staff writers and contributors a chance to get to know a car as an owner would. While the car is with us, we pay for fuel, pay for the servicing and generally use and live with the car as a proud new owner would.

We believe long-term tests give car buyers an added insight into the vehicle on test, but also the qualities behind the brand and nameplate. The extended period also allow us to 'touch' the dealer networks in question.

Our most recent long-termer was a Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The C 180 K base model (more here), we drove the car for much of the model's 'run out' period. That may seem an odd choice but at that time Mercedes was throwing money and equipment at the cooking model C-Class like it was going out of fashion. We wanted to find out if the effective $14K equipment adjusted price reduction the C 180 K had undergone made it a good choice for canny buyers. After 10,000km and six months the verdict was a definite yes.

As we noted in the introduction of our last long-termer, manufacturers tend to have a love-hate relationship with long-term tests. They love the positives we tell you about and hate the negatives we discover as the novelty of the 'newness' rubs off.  Make no mistake, six months is plenty long enough to fall out of love with the latest and greatest and start to nitpick -- just like real world owners do.


WHY TEST IT?
For our latest long-term test we've taken delivery of a near-new Volkswagen Touareg V6 3.0 TDI. As the nomenclature suggests, it's a diesel, and, shock horror, it's also a near-full-sized SUV.

Diesel was a must-do for us. The growth of diesel Down Under is more 'paper' growth than a real change in car buying habits.

Despite the fact we've been inundated with new turbodiesel models (and subsequently, launches and test cars) over the last 12 months, the real world numbers of turbodiesel passenger cars are still small. Arguably SUVs are the strongest performers in terms of market penetration, though interestingly the most popular models (read: Territory, Kluger, CRV and X-TRAIL) still do not offer diesel variants. Thus we decided to go the SUV route.

The fact that the VW has real offroad ability means we can also get away from the straight and narrow. Indeed, we intend on finding, err... interesting, jobs for the Touareg to do, also makes it easier to give to you a cross section of subject matter.

But back on the diesel... One of the key factors we wanted to experience was the infrastructure cringe. Is diesel available at our 'favourite' (read: easily accessed) filling stations? Are high-volume fillers a problem? Will some of our drivers shy away from the car due to the refuelling mess factor? What will economy be like? Will we end up thinking we're driving a tank? Hopefully after six months we'll all have real 'hands-on' and time-earned opinions on all of the above.


HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Our request to VW's PR chief Jon Dawe was simply to supply us the most commonly purchased Touareg at a spec level commensurate with most owners' final order.

Thus our Touareg is essentially stock. That doesn't mean it's a stripper, however -- it might not have satnav or air suspension (or a spare wheel carrier -- more on that down the track!), but our V6 TDI still arrived with sunroof ($2190), heated leather seats, a decent sound system, park assist, full low-range capability with centre diff lock and our favourite piece of equipment -- the auto rear tailgate ($1390).

It is literally as the lion's share of Touareg buyers order their own cars. Including a $1450 charge for metallic paint (still one of our pet hates), the as-tested price of our Touareg is $80,020.

By way of comparison, three other Touareg variants are currently on offer to Aussie buyers. The range kicks off with the five-cylinder R5 turbodiesel priced from $64,990 and there's a 3.6-litre FSI direct-injected petrol V6 priced at the same $74,990 as 'our' TDI. The range-topping 5.0-litre V10 turbodiesel arrives at $121,990.

Early next year there's an even more powerful R50 V10 TDI version coming -- but that's a whole different kettle of fish (more here).


THE BARE FACTS
Relaunched back in July (see here), the latest Touareg presents as a makeover of the mechanically-updated version launched in late 2006. At that time the V8 petrol was dropped and the two V6s (turbodiesel and direct-injected petrol) added to the range.

Around 2300 parts have been 'touched' in the latest variant -- including the front seats which are said to come straight from VW's Euro-only Phaeton limo. The new look (more sculptured headlights and other detail changes front and rear) builds on the Touareg's attractive 'Giant Golf' lines and detailing.

Standard across the Touareg range is VW's dual-range 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system and a whole suite of electronic active safety and traction aids. The Touaregs all get dual-zone aircon and alloy wheels (17-inch on TDI), four-wheel discs (with ABS, etc) power windows, mirrors (auto dimming), auto wipers and headlights, six-disc audio, trip computer and rear cargo area partition and cover.

The TDI's 3.0 V6 is used in a range of vehicles across the VW-Audi Group. Though 165kW may not sound like much (the new RAV4 V6 gets 201kW!!! Gawd Strewth!), it's the oiler's V8-rivalling 500Nm of torque that get's your attention. VW claims the 100km/h increment comes up in 9.2sec and ADR81/01 average fuel consumption is stated as 10.7lt/100km. We'll see…

There's little argument Touareg continues VW's reputation of building attractive and well executed interiors. The five-door's two-row cabin is comfortable -- there's no seven-seat option.

The Touareg gets the full complement of active safety features including stability/traction control (ESP and ASR), EDL (Electronic Differential Lock) and EBC (Electronic Braking Control) plus new antilock brakes with EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution) and EBA (Emergency Brake Assist) which VW terms ABSplus.

VW claims ABSplus can reduce braking distance on loose surfaces by up to 20 per cent and ironically does so by allowing the brakes to lock.


Also read:
Touareg at 10K
Fuelling Around
Great, but not perfect
Tow Test
Taking Delivery

Images courtesy of Datamotive

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Published : Monday, 1 October 2007
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