2008 Volkswagen Touareg Performance

$4,854 - $7,983

2008 Volkswagen Touareg Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2008 Volkswagen Touareg was new.


Performance: 8.4

The majority of reviews say that the 2008 Volkswagen Touareg2 offers performance that is on par with the rest of its class. Although some critics feel that the standard V6 engine lacks power, the optional V8 and V10 TDI diesel engines are favorites.

Car and Driver says that "if straight-line speed isn't at the top of your SUV checklist, the Touareg V-6 is a delectable piece that will likely satisfy your every need." The Touareg also has great handling and ride on-road and a surprising amount of off-road capability. MSN says the Touareg "rode like a touring sedan on pavement while providing rugged off-road capability."

Acceleration and Power

The 2008 Volkswagen Touareg is available with three engine options. The base 3.6-liter V6 puts out 280 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque. The V6 gets an Environmental Protection Agency estimate of 14 miles per gallon in the city and 20 miles per gallon on the highway. The optional V8 engine displaces 4.2 liters and produces 350 horsepower and 324 pound-feet of torque. The V8 gets an EPA-estimated 12 miles per gallon in the city and 17 miles per gallon on the highway.

The TDI, reintroduced in 2007, comes with a 5.0-liter V10 diesel engine. This reviewer favorite delivers 310 horsepower but, given that it's a diesel, offers much more torque (553 pound-feet versus 324 pound-feet) than its gasoline counterparts and gets an EPA- estimated 15 miles per gallon in the city and 20 on the highway. The majority of reviewers find that each engine option offered by the VW Touareg2 offers good performance but that the best engine overall is the 5.0-liter V10 TDI. Still, given the TDI's high price, reviewers say the V8 offers good power and better value. Also, because of emissions standards, the TDI is available only in 43 states.

Reviewers agree that the V6 is a fine basic engine choice for around-town driving. "Although I find the V6 competent, it doesn't blow me away," says the Nashville Tennessean. The V8 receives higher praise, with Edmunds saying that it "should please everyone. Acceleration comes easily at any speed, and this engine remains docile even when pushed." The V10 TDI is far and away the reviewer favorite, however. AutoWeek says, "The V6 is perfectly adequate, the V-8 is fast... but the V-10 TDI will make strong men weep."

All three engines are mated to an automatic six-speed transmission that earns high reviewer praise. Auto Mall USA says the transmission is "wonderful" and that it "smoothly selects exactly the right gear for every situation." The Kansas City Star adds, "The six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission has a gear for almost any situation, plus it can be shifted manually, which is a bonus in off-road situations."

Handling and Braking

Handling on the VW Touareg2 is good. MSN says it can "drive somewhat like a sports sedan. It stands tall, but there's no tippy feeling when snaking through curves. Steering is precise and handling is athletic for a high, heavy sport ute." The Family Car adds, "Its relatively compact dimensions make it easy to navigate in urban areas and easy to park at the suburban malls." The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says, "It's fun to drive. You just throw it into those corners and watch it go. This is an SUV that almost demands to be driven at a higher speed."

An independent double-wishbone suspension is standard on the VW Touareg2. Auto Mall USA says, "The standard suspension works very well and we recommend it highly. It might even be our preference. It offers a nice ride and handles well, as we discovered on some winding mountain roads in Utah." Most reviewers agree.

An interesting option on the Touareg2 is an air suspension, which adjusts the ride quality based on comfort, automatic and sport settings. With the air suspension, Car and Driver says "the V-6 rode like a luxury SUV." MSN says the feature "enhances the ride" and notes that the system can raise and lower the vehicle for more ground clearance or better control at high speeds. While reviewers all like the optional air suspension, they also enjoy the standard suspension, leaving consumers to decide for themselves if the upgrade is worth it.

Reviewers are all pleased with the 2008 Touareg2's stopping ability. Despite being a heavy vehicle, the Touareg2 has respectable stopping distances. "Curb weight notwithstanding, braking is not a problem for either Touareg--stops are short and pedal feel is excellent," says Edmunds. The brakes are not perfect, however. Many reviewers agree with Car and Driver, which notes, "The brakes feel strong and responsive overall, but they have a tendency to be grabby, especially when trying to come to a stop smoothly." Many reviewers needed practice to modulate their braking input.


A pleasant surprise reviewers find in the 2008 Volkswagen Touareg2 is its powerful off-road capabilities. While most other luxury SUVs focus solely on their on-road capabilities and foul-weather handling, the Touareg2 is a competent off-road performer, prompting Auto Mall USA to say, "We wouldn't hesitate to follow a Jeep Wrangler or Range Rover anywhere in one of these."

The Touareg has won numerous awards for its off-road performance, including Four Wheeler magazine's Four-Wheeler of the Year award in 2005. The Touareg has also performed well in the famous Dakar Rally off-road race, where it has had several first- and second-place finishes. With all these accolades, Edmunds says, "it's no wonder that the Touaregs we drove mastered these trails without taking damage or even bottoming out."

The first in a long list of off-roading features is the Touareg2's 4XMotion four-wheel- drive system, which splits power equally between the front and rear wheels most of the time but adjusts the power ratio depending on traction needs. The Touareg2 has an automatic locking center differential, but it can also be locked manually. A locking rear differential is optional, and reviewers recommend it for serious off-roaders. The Touareg2 also has hill ascent and descent control.

Despite its proven off-road prowess, a minority of reviewers question whether most Touareg2 buyers would ever take the vehicle off-road. "I, for one, have a hard time seeing true off-roaders buying a Volkswagen," says U.S. News' Rick Newman. The Family Car sums up the view of many families that may consider the Touareg: "I had no reason to take the Touareg off-road during the most recent week one was in my possession and, like many SUV owners, I cannot envision any situation in the near future that would require me to wander off into the wilderness." Despite hesitation over a VW 4x4, reviewers agree, though, that should the Touareg2 be taken off-road, it will perform very well.

Though the Touareg2 is filled with high-tech off-road systems, serious bushwhackers might be disappointed in the standard tires and, for best off-road performance, will have to trade to something more suitable. The Los Angeles Times calls off-roading in the Touareg2's standard, low-profile street tires "like mountain climbing in Manolo Blahniks."

Performance Options


The 2008 Volkswagen Touareg2 comes with a 3.6-liter V6 engine delivering 280 horsepower and mated to a six-speed shiftable automatic transmission. The V6 Touareg is all-wheel drive with four-wheel independent suspension and four-wheel ABS brakes.


The 2008 Volkswagen Touareg2 comes with a 4.2-liter V8 engine mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and producing 350 horsepower at 6,700 rpm. This all-wheel-drive V8 trim comes with four-wheel independent suspension and four-wheel ABS brakes.


The 2008 Volkswagen Touareg2 V10 TDI comes with a 5.0-liter V10 turbodiesel engine, delivering 310 horsepower at 3,740 rpm. The V10 comes with a six-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive, four-wheel independent suspension, and four-wheel ABS brakes.

Find the Best Price

Enter your zip code to get local pricing.

Get Dealer Quotes

To get dealer quotes, enter your zip code.

Search Used Listings

To search used listings, enter your zip code.

Change Location

Enter your zip code to see listings near you.

Please enter a valid zipcode

Best Price Program

Interested in a New?

Use the U.S. News Best Price Program to find great deals and get upfront pricing on the.