2008 Volkswagen Touareg 2 Review – A Luxury SUV That Knows How To Work Hard

Expert Reviews Volkswagen

2008 Volkswagen Touareg 2
By Francis Cebedo


  • Impeccable interior
  • Innovative side headlights that light up when the car is in a turn
  • Adjustable ride suspension really works and it adjusts the auto height automatically
  • Auto sensing rain wipers worked flawlessly
  • So many controls to play with and I never had to open the manual
  • The electronic parking assist is a great tool. The rear camera also displays graphics to indicate where the car is going.
  • Ahh luxury. Driver and passenger both have powered seats; the kids in the rear have their own climate control and their own heated seats.


  • Cargo room is limited
  • Folding rear seats is painful to operate
  • Sunroof is tiny
  • Exterior styling seems unchanged from the previous Touareg
  • No iPod dock

Ruling: This is a luxury SUV.

2008 VW Touareg 2

Driving Impressions

2008 VW Touareg 2Our test car was equipped with the 4.2-liter V-8, four-corner air suspension with towing and off-road options. The car is a dream to drive with its 350 hp V8 engine and adaptive 6-speed automatic transmission. It accelerates effortlessly at any speed and torque is available with minimal downshifts. The Touareg doesn’t feel like a rocket as verified by its 7.6 second 0-60 acceleration. It is a heavy car after all and the driver is insulated from exterior noise and road imperfections. We can say speed comes effortlessly for this car with 324 lb-ft of torque under your control.

As we threw the car around some twisty roads, it did feel a bit high and body roll started to rear it’s ugly head. So we put the suspension in “sport” mode and the car felt more responsive in corners and road feel was improved. The car lowered itself by a couple of inches as well and that improved body roll. We hit the Auto-Height button once more and the car squatted down another inch. Mountain roads were actually quite fun when “sport” mode was engaged.

2008 VW Touareg 2 - Dynaudio speakerAs the weather got worse, the Touareg 2 seemed to feel more comfortable. We were insulated from the wind and the pelting rain outside as we enjoyed the Dynaudio speakers inside. The rain-sensing wipers worked flawlessly without a single adjustment from us. During our long drive in the wet and less than friendly weather, the wipers kept pace with the rainfall rate and kept the water out without that dreaded wiperblade squeak.


The interior is as nice as any Audi, Lexus or Mercedes we’ve driven. It looks flawless and the controls are well-positioned and intuitive. Each of the four occupants are pampered with their own climate control and heated seats.

The keyless entry system is the best of breed as well. Just leave the key in your pocket when entering the car and the proximity sensor will recognize it and unlock the car. Start and stop the car with a button in the traditional place where the ignition key is usually placed. To lock the car when you leave, simply press a rubber button on the door handle. It’s a no brainer, as it should be!

Volkswagen Touareg - interior Volkswagen Touareg - 4-passenger climate controls Volkswagen Touareg - center console controls

We were excited to try the the Dynaudio equipped audio system as these speakers are some of the best in the auto world today. It was very good, but not great. The Mark Levinson systems in the Lexus and Dynaudio system in the Volvos are still our favorites.


Styling is decent. It’s much better than the Porsche Cayenne but not quite on par with the new BMW X5. However, our biggest complaint is the styling is hardly distinguishable from the 5-year old first generation Touareg. I mean, even the badging is unchanged and doesn’t indicate Touareg 2.

2008 VW Touareg 2


Value is perhaps the weakness of the VW Touareg 2. It doesn’t seem like a steal at $59,000. In comparison, Mercedes-Benz M-Class ($43,455-$49,975) and the Audi Q7 ($40,620-$50,620) and the BMW X5 at ($46,595-$55,195). However, inside and out, this a remarkable luxury SUV.

Who Should Buy It?

If you demand luxury in your all-terrain and all-weather vehicle, the Touareg 2 fits the bill. Consider the V6 to cope with the high gas prices and a lower sticker price. The V10 turbo diesel (TDI) model has slightly better fuel economy numbers than the V6 and it has 553 lb-ft of torque for those who require the towing capacity of a big truck.

2008 VW Touareg 2


It’s a bit heavy and expensive. But it delivers in all other areas as its occupants in luxury and gets them to the destination in all weather and road conditions.

Getting in this car is like getting in a luxury jet. The use of leather and wood in the interior is flawless and the array of controls and gauges is impressive. On the road, the car is stable and comfortable on the highway. On the twisty roads, the engine and suspension is very capable. Finally, in inclement weather, the Touareg 2 displayed its abilities effortlessly.

Build Interior Performance Handling Styling Value Overall
Rating 5.0 5.0 4.5 4.0 3.5 4.0 4.5/A-

2008 VW Touareg 2 Photo Gallery

VW Touareg 2 Specs

VW of AmericaOfficial website for Volkswagen of America – www.vw.com

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  • Derek says:

    You are correct. I verified the engine specs with my contact at VW and confirmed that the V8 engine outputs 350hp and 324 lb-ft of torque. The article has been updated with the correct specs. Thanks for alerting us of the error.

  • GKCMilner says:

    You might want to research your figures a little bit better. Horse power is 350 and torque is 324 (per vw.com). Also on your pricing you are comparing a fully loaded T2 price to base models of the other brands which is not at all a fare price comparison. When equaly equiped the T2 is a great value. The start/stop button is not where the ignition key is normaly placed, it is to the left of the shifter. The ignition key hole is still in the usual place. Otherwise a descent write-up with good pictures.

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