2011 Volkswagen Touareg VR6 Sport Review

Expert Reviews Volkswagen

By Mary Ellen Ash


  • Well laid-out, high quality interior
  • Clean and uncluttered console area
  • Quiet and refined ride with sporty handling
  • Permanent All-Wheel Drive


  • Very few and relatively minor
  • A little pricey compared with other top brand models

It happened on a dark and very stormy night. I was driving through the puddle infested, super windy freeway much faster than I should have, because it felt no different than if the conditions had been ideal. While most drivers decided to stay off the roads that night, my Touareg assured me with its warm bear-like hug that everything would be okay. And isn’t that why we all want an SUV?

These days it seems that everyone is looking for a large, sophisticated 4-wheel drive SUV, with all the bells and whistles you could possibly need. Trouble is if you’re looking at Land Rover, Audi, BMW or Acura, all that sophistication is going to cost you…plenty! Fortunately for you there is a solution: the Volkswagen Touareg and we just happen to have laid our hands on the all-new 2011 model.

2011 Volkswagen Touareg VR6

The Touareg is Volkswagen’s entry into the luxury mid-size SUV market. Redesigned for 2011, it was given some new exterior lines and more interior cabin space. I’m happy to report that the vehicle is indeed quite spacious, seating five people comfortably, and comes equipped with permanent all-wheel drive and loads of standard features.

My first impression of the Touareg was one of surprise; surprise at the superior build quality and great attention to detail. On the outside, the Touareg resembles a giant VW Golf, which is a good thing. The interior fit and finish is immaculate and the materials are luxurious yet durable. I found myself rubbing the interior chrome trim at several locations in disbelief, surprised but very pleased that Volkswagen didn’t cost-cut and use plastics instead. The leather-trimmed seats are wonderfully soft and comfortable, yet also supportive.

2011 Volkswagen Touareg VR6 interior

The Touareg also excels when it comes to interior functionality. The cubby holes and storage spaces are huge and lined with cloth, and the rear lift-gate, which is quite tall and heavy in most SUVs, opens and closes with the push of a button. There are also 2 auxiliary inputs with cables for iPods or other media players, as well as four 12-Volt outlets. The rear-view camera made driving in reverse exceptionally easy and the car’s center console, including the satellite navigation, car preferences, radio and climate controls, were very direct, simple and easy to use.

Our test model was equipped with VW’s 3.6L VR6 engine, which produces 280 hp and 265 lb-ft torque, coupled to a brilliantly smooth 8-speed automatic gearbox. While this may be the least pricey of the available engine choices, we felt that it performed exceptionally well. Acceleration is smooth and brisk, and the automatic gearbox keeps the revs fairly constant in the 3000-4000 rpm range, where there is plenty of torque. The transmission also helps the Touareg achieve a very respectable 16 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.

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