Video First Drive Review: 2015 VW Touareg TDI Clean Diesel
Few people have been more scathing in their assessment of the new Touareg’s extremely light exterior refresh than us.
But think about it: when a person gets a facelift, they do not want to be some shocking cat-lady whose new face is shocking from 100 yards away.
You want it to be exceptionally subtle. You want to look 2X as fresh and young and modern, but without causing too much attention or interest in exactly how you achieved this fountain of youth. So goes the new Touareg’s refresh for 2015.
With the lights off and parked, the new Touareg looks trimmer, leaner and sleeker. More modern and flowing shoulder curves ditch a bit of the ruthless logic and surfacing discipline of the previous design. As such, it looks more modern now.
The nose feels wider with horizontal chrome slats on upper and lower grilles. Big badge is growing larger every year, it seems, and definitely not hiding.
Twin black projectors in the lower bumpers live right beside the standard foglamps: operating the new Touareg’s adaptive cruise control and lane departure helpers.
LIGHTS ON/ LIGHTS OFF Animated Comparison
With the lights on, the new Touareg actually looks really new and special. Standard LED lighting front and rear is an all-new design, with the cup-shaped white LED accent around the squared-off projector bi-xenons in the middle of the lamps, and a new white LED strip running the horizontal width of the lamp. This extends the overall chrome and horizontal theme up front.
The rear lamps are bright and interesting in their hundred-LED matrix of red brake bulbs. A slimmer bumper and flush-mounted exhausts are nicely balanced by a smoother and more flowing roofline.
Overall, subtlety is the name of the game. The new Touareg looks far better, more premium, and more youthful than the 2014 trucks. But you are not able to exactly spot the changes without a close look.
The cabin of the Touareg is all about new tech, comfort and NVH suppression. Much more luxurious trims are still assembled with military precision and feel indestructible.
Multiple iPhone-sized charger cords emerge from the center console, and gloss-black accents liven up the steering wheel spokes and other details.
This test truck has the available Tuscan brown leather option, and looks and feels fantastic. Luxurious, but durable is the theme.
A few luxury details are missing, like a power tilt/telescope steering column, adjustable pedals, or fold-away running boards. GMC Yukon has all these available, as does Lincoln Navigator.
In addition to the video above, we have a few notes here. The truck drives really, really well. It is a bit bumpy on rough city streets, but everything is damped nicely. Even expansion joints are smoothed and not harsh, despite the head toss in the video above.
The TDI Clean Diesel engine is a true gem. With the new eight-speed automatic, it feels fast and playful. None of the boat-anchor nose weight from the previous Touareg. The steering is light and feelsome, and the throttle response is the best we’ve enjoyed from a diesel. Not laggy like the Jeep Grand Cherokee turbodiesel from Fiat partner VM Motori.
So, the Touareg is what has always been, but far better than ever. Capability and off-road skills, huge 7,700-pound tow rating, 407-pound-feet-of torque…. 600-plus mile range between fillups. Plus a weight loss of 400-pounds versus 2014 and 20-percent better fuel economy.
The arguments in favor of the Touareg are real and powerful – just like the truck itself
But the arguments against are real tool. With a tested price of $65,000, this Touareg is pricey.It is only a five-seater, and despite being extremely wide, it is not long enough to compete with three-row SUVs for family cargo space.
The other downside of a mainstream badge vs a luxury badge? Dealerships more used to servicing cheap Jetta’s mean plastic chairs and crappy loaner cars will be all you can expect. This is a problem for some shoppers.
But for those with plenty of money and no need for a Porsche or Audi badge, we hearily support and recommend the new Touareg as a winner.