2017 VW Touareg Adventure Review

A facelift in 2015 gave the Touareg a much-needed refresh, and from the outside it was a success.

VW’s corporate face was surgically implanted on to an aging car from 2010.

In automotive terms, that is using a walking frame on front steps of an old folk’s home.

Touareg Adventure is a special edition which tries to assuage concerns regarding slightly outdated SUV.

The additions add value to a middle of the range model. The release of the next-gen Touareg next year will bring a new raft of stuff. I have no doubt it will bristle with computerised goodies.

2017 Volkswagen Touareg Adventure.

Do the additions do what it says on the box?

Yes, visually the Touareg looks the dog’s B’s. The body still has a sexy brutalist appeal which I loved from day one.

Touareg shares a platform with both the posh Audi Q7, and try-hard Cayenne. No matter how much I squint, the Porker looks wrong.

VW used cues purloined from both Audi and Porsche. The roof, windows and doors all look familiar.

A smart set of head and tail lights LED and Bi-Xenon upgrades. Masculine 19” wheels look great and give the exterior a touch of class.

Unforgivably, there is no CarPlay/Android Auto.

2017 Volkswagen Touareg Adventure.

The infotainment system is VW’s older generation unit.

There is no DAB digital radio, or Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. The huge virtual buttons have no subtlety, and the system was often slow to react.

There are no built-in USB ports. VW supplied an adaptor cable, but I can’t remember the last time I was in a car that didn’t have proper USB ports, even if just for charging.

You can use “Hey Siri” which will add at least some modern functionality to the outdated infotainment system.

Satnav is standard and works well.

The Adventure has Vienna leather.

I had a chuckle when I read the disclaimer. It says that not all of the leather used is natural, some of it is simulated. If leather does not come from a cow, it is plastic, right?

All the Euro car makers do it. In fact some Mercedes models are all vinyl interiors, but you’d never know it.

The handsome dash has a slightly retro look, in a utilitarian German kind of way. It is neat and tidy, and has great ergonomics.

I like the ease of which controls fall to hand.

The cabin is well designed. In fact, had the audio unit been the latest model, and blind spot and lane watch been included, I’d have been happy.

The adaptive cruise control is excellent at keeping speed almost exactly right. Up or downhill, it will brake if needed. It also has a queue-assist function in heavy peak hour traffic.

VW mentions the word “luxury” many times in the literature and on the website.

I’m not sure who they are trying to convince.

The cabin certainly has a premium ambience, but does it feel luxurious?

Yes, it is spacious, with a high seating position. Even a taller driver will have to climb into the driver’s seat.

There are 3 memories for the power adjustment.

The large 580L rear cargo hold expands to 1642L in a few deft moves. Once the seats fold down, the space is useable with very few intrusions into the space by poorly designed body parts.

The 3.0L V6 has a little less oomph than I remember.

Even so, the 180kw/550Nm turbo diesel does a cracking 7.6 0-100kph. Remember, the Touareg weighs a hefty 2159k.

In many ways, the Touareg is a GT. By that I mean it would lazily cross continents quickly and comfortably. There is a ton of room for you, a few friends, and oodles of stuff.

All passengers would be comfy.

There are lots of cubby space, cup and bottle holders, and extra power outlets for charging your electronics. As mentioned above, you’ll need to invest in a few USB adaptors.

So, premium it may be, but luxurious it is not.

No, premium and luxury are not the same thing.

Admittedly, I had unrealistically high expectations. This was my first time in a large VW SUV.

I felt a little let down by the Touareg. Although the ride was exceptionally smooth, and the 8speed auto was deliciously silky, it lags behind its competitors.

The braked towing capacity is 3500kg, but I’m not convinced the V6 would cope.

It is unfair to say without testing the theory, but the V8 diesel is far gutsier.

For that you’ll need many more shekels. The top of the range Touareg is just a sensation over $116,000. Savvy shoppers will know that at a almost 120 grand, there are many other opions to consider.

There is adjustable air suspension, and a 100L fuel tank. We managed 9.8L/100k which would be even better at highway speeds. Although we were way above the claimed combined figure of 7.4L/100k, you’d be able to easily cover the distance between Sydney and either Melbourne or Sydney.

It is unusual to see hydraulic power assisted steering, instead of the now-ubiquitous electric system. This means no asissted parking, which would be handy in such a big chunk of metal.

The SUV segment is ever expanding, but the SUV market over $70,000 has contracted slightly on this time last year.

Sales of Touareg are down 24.4% on the same time last year.

SUVs now make up 38.9% of the market, up 5% on last year.

SUVs outsell passenger cars with 233,498 sales VS 230,267 sales. LCVs, like Hilux, take the SUV figure even higher.


The Adventure’s handsome exterior is let down slightly by cabin tech that feels a bit last week.

It is particularly highlighted by time recently in the Korean offerings recently.

Hyundai’s SantaFe, and the Kia Sorrento, are considerably less expensive, but have much more stuff.

Audi’s Q7, built on the same platform as Touareg, feels properly luxurious, but of course costs far more.

Although the Adventure sits nicely on the road, looks great, and feels comfortable, I struggle to recommend it over other SUVs like Volvos cutting edge XC90 and XC60.

The Volvo costs more, but have vastly superior cabins with tech that can only be described as extraordinary.

I’m afraid sales of Touareg will continue downward spiral.

It isn’t that it is in any way bad, but compared to the opposition, this particular VW is at the back of the pack. The additions have added value, but not enough value.

The new model is due next year.

It will be crammed full of Germany’s very latest know-how.

If you want a Touareg, I’d be waiting for the next generation.

Price*: From $67,990 to $116,990 (Adventure $79,990)

*VW is currently running special offers and include drive-away pricing.

Engine:               3.0L, V6, Turbo diesel

0-100:                 7.6 seconds

Economy:          7.4L/100 (claimed)

CO2:                   196g/km

Transmission:   8 speed auto

Weight:              2159kg