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2014 Volkswagen Touareg Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2014 Volkswagen Touareg was new.


Performance: 7.9

While not as capable off-road as a Land Rover Range Rover or as athletic on-pavement as a Porsche Cayenne, the 2014 Volkswagen Touareg earns praise for its refined handling and capable engine choices, including a diesel that earns great fuel economy for the class and garners praise for its ample torque.

  • "Sibling rivalry aside, the 2014 Touareg is just an immensely satisfying vehicle to drive. It's equally at home on freeway slabs and washboard roads, traversing the terrain of your choice with supreme confidence." -- AutoTrader
  • "If on-road dynamics is more important than off-road capability, today's Volkswagen Touareg makes a great choice. A rigid structure and all-independent suspension provide the composure, while a trio of available drivetrains provides fun, function and efficiency." -- Kelley Blue Book (2013)
  • "If you're shopping this class, you're likely to shop for similarly priced models from Mercedes and BMW, let alone Acura, Lincoln and Lexus. That's stiff competition. And the thing is, the Touareg almost outdrives all of them." -- Cars.com (2011)

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 Volkswagen Touareg comes standard with a 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine that produces 280 horsepower. A turbodiesel 3.0-liter V6 is optional, which produces 240 horsepower. Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. According to the EPA, the gas-powered Touareg achieves 17/23 mpg city/highway, which is somewhat low for the class, while the diesel model achieves 20/29 mpg, which is excellent for the class.

Test drivers say both engines are powerful, although they prefer the diesel model for its ample torque and great fuel economy. Reviewers also like the Touareg's transmission, saying it shifts smoothly.

  • "The diesel and hybrid powertrains offer the responsiveness and refinement Americans have come to expect from gasoline engines, and all three engines -- even the hybrid -- are rated to tow an impressive 7700 pounds." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "With the 3.6-liter VR6 the Touareg feels polished, light on its feet and plenty responsive, but by comparison, the flexibility of the turbodiesel and the ‘rush’ (there's no other description) of the Hybrid are truly remarkable." -- Kelley Blue Book (2013)
  • "The available diesel is a torque-rich beast that returns excellent fuel economy." -- Car and Driver (2012)
  • "Regardless of engine choice, the eight-speed automatic transmission shifts with an almost imperceptible ease, and the Touareg feels confident and quiet at highway speed." -- Edmunds (2013)

Handling and Braking

Test drivers report that the 2014 Touareg’s ride is more sporty than comfortable, and one reviewer says that body lean through corners is kept in check. The Touareg's steering is also praised for its sharp, responsive feel. Some note that the Touareg can be fairly capable off-road as well.

  • "The compact 3-spoke steering wheel controls possibly the most responsive steering in any SUV, which is unsurprising given the Touareg's Porsche DNA. This VW loves high-speed cruising, but it's equally at home on the dirt, where its long-travel suspension eats up whoop-de-dos like a Baja off-road racer. The only potential demerit involves its firm ride, which is basically the opposite of the Mercedes-Benz M-Class model's sofa-like experience." -- AutoTrader
  • "The Touareg has communicative steering, a supple (albeit controlled) ride and strong brakes." -- Kelley Blue Book (2013)
  • "The 2013 Volkswagen Touareg lacks a low-range transmission for off-road excursions, yet still provides a fair amount of trail prowess thanks to minimal front and rear overhangs, decent ground clearance and a compliant suspension. But most Touaregs will not see rigorous dirt duty, and in the urban wilds most drivers will appreciate the sharp steering response that makes the Touareg feel like a smaller vehicle." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "It handles competently, with good steering feel, and well-controlled body lean in fast corners." -- Consumer Guide (2012)

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