It looks like every other SUV from its period, but there’s something about the Volkswagen Touareg. This isn’t just some German-built mall cruiser, but rather a well-engineered Swiss army knife that can handle the everyday family life, but is also remarkably well suited to off-road duty as well. On the other hand, it looks unassuming to the point where it masks much of its true capability. But how well has our Touareg held up over the past 15 years? Should you consider buying one?
When it first emerged, the Volkswagen Touareg competed against the Mercedes-Benz ML-Class (now the GLE), the first and second-generation BMW X5 and the Range Rover. While its competitors still exist, the Touareg itself is no longer on sale in the American market. Instead, we have the Atlas, which is no longer billed as a serious off-road SUV. It doesn’t have the V8 powertrain, air suspension, or locking center and rear differential that you have here on the first-generation Touareg.
On the T1 Volkswagen Touareg, finding a locking rear differential may be tricky, but it’s worth the search. You’ll also get the air suspension with that feature in the U.S., and this generation is currently the most affordable you can find. Our 2004 example with a 4.2-liter V8 cost about $4,600.
Granted, since it does have the air suspension, locking differentials, etc., it will cost more money to fix when things do go wrong. Bear that in mind, or you may be in for a relatively miserable ownership experience. However, factor in some maintenance into your purchase price and budget, and the Touareg has certainly proven itself to be a capable, well-engineered SUV that won’t break the bank like, say, a modern day Range Rover or even a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon.
Stay tuned to TFLcar for more Touareg and used car updates!