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Volkswagen Touareg (2003-2010) Buying Guide

Volkswagen Touareg (2003-2010)
Volkswagen Touareg (2003-2010)Volkswagen Touareg (2003-2010)Volkswagen Touareg (2003-2010)Volkswagen Touareg (2003-2010)Volkswagen Touareg (2003-2010)Volkswagen Touareg (2003-2010)Volkswagen Touareg (2003-2010)Volkswagen Touareg (2003-2010)Pictures shown may not represent exact model specified

by Richard Dredge

If you want a full-sized SUV but you're keen to buy something that looks discreet rather than aggressive, the Volkswagen Touareg could be just what you need. Despite its size, the Touareg has great presence without looking threatening. Throw in a classy cabin, some great engines plus superb comfort and safety levels and you've got the makings of a great used buy. The Touareg is also an accomplished tow car; Volkswagen famously pulled a Boeing 747 with a V10 model, so a 3.0 TDI won't struggle with your caravan, whatever its size. You won't like the Touareg much if you're on a budget as running costs are high, but they're no worse than for many large SUVs.

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We LikeWe Don't Like
Smart looks
Classy cabin
Towing ability
Off-road ability
Great engines
Patchy reliability
High running costs
Key Dates 
5/03The Touareg reaches showrooms in 3.2 V6, 4.2 V8, 2.5 TDi or 5.0 V10 TDi guises.
4/05High-spec SE and SE Sport trims arrive.
3/06The range is rationalised. Trim options are reduced and a 3.6-litre engine replaces the previous 3.2 unit, while the brilliant 3.0 TDi appears.
3/08An uprated Touareg V10 debuts, the R50, with more power, torque and equipment.
1/07A facelift brings revised front and rear styling plus extra standard equipment.
6/09A Touareg 3.0 TDi Bluemotion arrives.
  • Water pumps can fail on the 2.5TDi, so look for signs of coolant leaks.
  • Touaregs are popular for towing, so make sure the brakes and suspension aren't worn out.
  • Tyres wear quickly and replacements aren't cheap.
  • Most Touaregs have lots of electrics, which can be unreliable, so check that everything works.
  • Irregular tyre wear is common. Not only can the wheels go out of alignment, but problems with the transfer box can lead to the rubber getting scrubbed.
  • Front differentials can be weak and so can the centre propshaft bearing, so feel for vibrations when cruising.
  • Not all Touaregs feature air suspension; those that do can suffer from system failure given away by a rock hard ride.

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