Monday, October 27, 2014

Used Car Review - Volkswagen Touareg (2004-2006)

Before leaving October, Myk Belmonte investigates this SUV if its worth the buy.

2004-2006 Volkswagen Touareg

Volkswagens are used to be popular in the game of sedans (Jetta, Passat), hatchbacks (Beetle, Golf), and somewhat MPVs and vans (Sharan, Caravelle). With the popularity of sport utility vehicles during the early 2000s, Volkswagen has no choice but to enter since all the profits are in that category.

Bet you didn't know that the Touareg is developed together with the Porsche Cayenne and the Audi Q7, which shares the same platform but differs in equipment, styling, and technical items. Since the three vehicles are designed with off-roading and sports car handling in mind, they were technically the first SUV offerings of the three German brands. The 7L Touareg was first offered in 2002 and produced until 2010.

Auto Prominence, Volkswagen's local distributor before, shipped in this SUV in April 2004 with the V6 guise arriving first and the V8 being available in October. In terms of price, it competed against its European stalwarts, as well with some high end Japanese and American SUVs. The higher engine was dropped in July 2005 and the vehicle sometime in 2006, with the Touareg nameplate resurfacing seven years later as a second generation model.

Value and Costs
In other countries, this vehicle is marketed as a high end vehicle as opposed to other Volkswagens being mass market ones and this approach is also done here before. Price started at P4.2M for the V6 (an additional P200,000 for units with an air suspension) and the V8 costing P5M, which was rather expensive for something that is viewed as a people's car. Because of this, only a few Touaregs of this generation were sold which meant less supply in the used car market. Another source to look out are second hand imports but they aren't that popular, too.

Since this is a vehicle which didn't sell well, expect limited availability of parts (although the new distributor of Volkswagen may accept servicing of old units) against BMW and Mercedes Benz. Do not expect levels of diesel SUV maintenance, especially when going with the monstrous V8.

Exterior and Interior
Unlike the Cayenne which has a love it or hate it design, the Touareg sports a more simpler design which is controversial free than the more luxurious cousin. Although at some angles it may look bulky, it manages to hold itself.

Its large dimension outside translates to a roomy cabin for five in comfort (no third row option available, that's relegated to the Q7 whose extended wheelbase is meant for that) despite sporting a less roomy cabin than other rivals. Inside, a high quality interior with wood panels treats the occupants with the 4WD knob located below the transmission knob.

A 3.2 V6 (which came standard among 2002-2004 Touaregs) having 217hp and a 306hp 4.2 V8 were the engine options back in the day. The V6 is refined and decent enough for everyone while the V8 gains more power. We recommend going with the lesser one unless you prefer more expenses (which we assume so).

Driving Impressions
Even though it may look large outside, this SUV has driving manners which are civilized on the cemented road and does amazingly well when the rough gets going. Driving this one on-road will reward you a smooth and comfortable drive especially it was tuned that way, as opposed to the Cayenne's sporty handling.

With Volkswagen producing an SUV is like a popular celebrity vying for a position in the elections and winning, but the German brand was successful in placing itself in the SUV race. The Touareg may be rare but it is one bargain if you are willing to compromise yourself with several issues.

The Good:

  • Smooth on the road
  • Great off-road
  • Comfortable to be in
The Bad:
  • Heavy
  • Somewhat less space at the back
  • Expensive maintenance costs
The Pick: 3.2 V6

Engines: 3.2 V6 and 4.2 V8
Power: 217hp (V6), 306hp (V8)
Torque: Data Not Avaulable
Fuel Consumption: 4-7km/L (city), 7-10km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Suspension: Front double wishbone, rear multi-link (with air suspension for V6)

Price (New): P4,200,000-P5,000,000
Price (Now): P850,000-P1,000,000
Rivals: Audi Q7, BMW X5, Land Rover Discovery, Mercedes Benz M Class, Volvo XC90
On Sale: April 2004-2006

Lainie Jesuitas (accepts Volkswagens and other European cars for repair) - (02) 775-1744

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