Volkswagen Touareg Estate 2003 - 2009

Volkswagen Touareg Estate 2003 - 2009

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016


  • Spacious and comfortable
  • Provides a superior ride both off and on the road
  • Refined and quiet engines


  • Is a gas-guzzler
  • Not as sporty as the BMW X5 or the Porsche Cayenne


The Volkswagen Touareg is a large 4x4 with a spacious cabin. The car is ideal for camping trips and other types of leisure activities. The comfortable seats and large boot space make it a practical choice. Handling is sharp and accurate, if slightly lacking in response, but the ride is comfortable and the body controls well around the corners. Its permanent four-wheel drive maintains plenty of grip in all weather conditions. It is noticeably better off the road than the BMW X5. The Touareg excels with its low-range gearbox, and all of its engines offer plenty of power. There is also a Bluemotion model that the eco-friendly drivers should enjoy as it combines power and fuel-efficiency effortlessly.

Exterior and Interior

The Volkswagen Touareg is a large 4x4 with plenty of room inside to seat five well-built adults with sufficient comfort for all the passengers. The boot is huge, offering 555 litres as standard. Folding the rear seats increases this load-space to 1,570 litres. The quality of the interior is superb, too. Everything feels exceptionally robust and solid to the touch with the controls laid out intuitively and in easy to reach positions. The Touareg comes with a lavish equipment list as standard in all the models so you are unlikely to be disappointed. As for choosing a trim level, there aren’t that many, so if you’re looking for more gadgets, go for the larger engines as they come with more extras.

Performance and Economy

The entry level 3.2-litre V6 petrol is adequate, but fairly slow compared to most of the other engines in the range. At 9.6 seconds from 0-60mph it still offers a good level of performance. The 4.2-litre V8 feels better with a time of 7.8 seconds form 0-60mph, but it the thirstiest engine in the range, achieving just 19mpg. The 3.6-litre V6 that replaced both these engines in 2006 combines both performance and fuel efficiency of the two engines achieving the same 20mpg as the smaller 3.2-litre unit and going from 0-60mph in 8.4 seconds. The diesel engines are by far the most popular and more sensible choice as they combine both power and fuel-efficiency seamlessly. The basic 2.5-litre TDI is a good engine, but should be avoided because some of the other engines offer comparable fuel efficiency, more power and extra refinement. The 225bhp 3.0-litre V6 is a good unit but the common rail 240bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel that replaced it in 2008 is even better with an improved economy of 28mpg. It is also over a second and a half quicker at 8.0 seconds from zero to 60mph. The top of the range 5.0-litre V10 is immensely powerful and blisteringly quick going from 0-60mph in just 7.5 seconds. It is fairly economic for such a large and powerful vehicle, delivering around 23mpg. The 3.0-litre V6 Bluemotion that was added to the range in 2009 is by far the most economical option for the Volkswagen Touareg, achieving 34mpg. It is fairly quick too at just 8.2 seconds to 60mph from a standing start.

Like to Drive

The Touareg offers a good combination of off-road ability, comfort and grip thanks to the permanent four-wheel drive system that keeps it safe and well pinned to the road in all conditions. It may not be as sporty as the BMW X5, but it is far more effective off road thanks to its low-range gearbox. The suspension is superb, some models coming with air suspension that can raise or lower the vehicle for getting over trickier obstacles. It has a good body control in the corners and the steering is sharp and accurate. The driving position is good with clear views all round and an adjustable seat and steering wheel enabling you to find the perfect set-up. The cruise control Front Scan makes cruising easy enabling the system to bring the car to a full stop by itself. The Side Scan warns you of any vehicles that may be in your blind spots when changing lanes on the motorway.

Faults and Repairs

There have been two recalls during the Touareg’s lifetime, related to the parking brake, faulty welding and an extra earth connection needed in some petrol models. The second recall was staged to fix potential problems with the rear seatbelts. Both of these were carried out in cars built during 2003 so make sure that all of the work has been done if you’re looking at a car made during this period. Other than that there are no serious or recurring problems to report. Servicing and repairs will cost less than most of its rivals, which is good news.