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VW Touareg SUV



  • affyaffy Posts: 19
    Does anybody have the new price for the Touraeg?
    From the picture I've seen the interior is extremely good looking, I hope VW would offer a 7 seaters SUV along the road. However, if its priced exactly the same as X5 or ML I would definitely not go for a VW. Luxury brand have much better service facility, people just treat you better. A lot of my friends is making fun of the new phaeton, cause if VW have Audi and Bentley why need another luxury brand?
  • JBaumgartJBaumgart Posts: 890
    Well the obvious reason is that luxury cars are more profitable, and luxury and "near luxury" is where the industry's greatest growth potential is. Long-term, with Germany's high cost structure, it's doubtful that their makes can compete for the lower end of the market (even Japan is having a harder time competing with South Korea). I think it will be very difficult for VW to change most people's perception of their cars, however. Not only will this take time but it will take a very serious committment to improve their dealer network and overall vehicle quality. If they don't do these two things this move upmarket will fail miserably, IMO.

    I DO think the Touareg (specs, looks and on paper) looks to be a very well-executed vehicle. I'm interested, and when I go to take a closer look I'll be much more interested in observed quality of the materials, how it drives and dealer service committment than how I perceive the VW brand based on its reputation.
  • For those interested, a few new pics posted over at VWVortex:

    Base V6 model with greatly reduced chrome trim on front grill and no chrome around the windows and lower side panels:

    click here

    V10 TDI with Extreme Package which includes additional skid plates and outside mounted spare:

    click here for pic 1

    click here for pic 2

    Jeff-- No prices announced for N.A. yet. Probably will be announced in the second quarter of 2003 from what I'm hearing. If you were implying that your hope is that its pricing will be under the X5 and ML, I seriously doubt it. Rumor is that the base V6 will start somewhere around 35k but I'd have to believe once desireable options are added that it will be quite a bit over the 45k mark. V10 TDI could be hovering in the 55-60k range which suggests that the 4.2 will be somewhere in the range of 50k.


  • JBaumgartJBaumgart Posts: 890
    Looks like it would restrict visability out the rear - is this going to be an option? If so, where would the spare be stored without it? Otherwise nice pics - I like the clean lines and overall shape.
  • hiflyerhiflyer Posts: 79
    Word has it that the spare will typically be a space-saver type that would come with a can of air. In models with air suspension, it is also rumored that an attachment would be available to fill the tire from that source.(???)

    I agree that the outside mounted spare would seemingly cut down on rear visibility. It would also appear to undermine the versatility of the rear window since the window is designed to open independently (if one so chooses) from the rest of the tailgate hatch.

    Overall though, the Touareg is quite impressive.
  • Richard-- I agree... it would cut down on the convenience factor of having rear hatch window open independently. I appears that it'll work similarly to many SUVs which have their spare mounted on the outside where the mounting bracket will swing out so that the rear window can be opened independent of the whole hatch. It's a hassle to go through that extra step but if the mounting bracket is designed well, it shouldn't be too bad.

    Speaking of the bracket: isn't that one of the most nicest looking designs around??! hinges showing and a very integrated look.

    Joel-- yes, Richard is correct. It is an option and also is a component of the "Extreme Package" which is an off-road package of sorts. The standard spare will be a space-saver located under the cargo area accessible from the inside ...from what I've read.

  • hiflyerhiflyer Posts: 79
    22- The mounting bracket does seem well designed and would appear to easily swing out of the way if one wanted to momentarily pop open the rear window.

    The versatility I was thinking of is the occasional item (e.g. ladder) that, if needed, could protrude out the rear window opening. Granted, maybe not the safest thing to do and it is unknown whether the window could securely stay up for such purposes but, it is something many have done at one time or another. Just a thought.
  • flyer-- ah yeah, I see what you mean. I misinterpreted what you meant by versatility for I never imagined carrying things that may protrude out the back. I guess I've always carried ladders, etc. on the roof rack of my vehicles.

    I understand the Touareg will have some type of a sophisticated cross-bar system on the roof but it isn't apparent from the pictures we've seen. I saw it in one article and now I can't remember which one it was. I'll hunt around for it and post it if or when I find it.

  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    I will chime in my opinion, they are making a point for the 4runner as being some 400lbs ligther and better off roader because of that fact.

    Now give me a break!!!! Whenewer is convenient, off roading is a big factor, hypocresy, througth the years I have started some off roading topics and they all die for lack of interest as well as others. I am a hard core off roader and when I talk about the subject people starts to yarn, so bunks to all that off roading crap.

    Lets talk about something that really concerns people or a more usefull option and that is towing, at close to 8,000lbs of towing capacity conbined with that V10 diesel the Touareg will really shine, and that extra weigth will really be usefull.
  • Joel-- Regarding your post of October 16 where you asked about the Touareg's handling compared to the X5, read this quote contained in an article from 4Car:

    "The Touareg feels as alert and agile as a BMW X5 despite massively superior off-road ability, which augurs well for the architecturally similar Porsche Cayenne. This came home to us on a series of fast bends in which the hefty VW gripped hard, could be placed precisely with well-weighted steering, held on to its line and gave a good impression of quite a sporty car - which is exactly what Volkswagen, to our initial scepticism, claims. Seldom has a 4x4 felt more stable, inspired such confidence and hidden its bulk so well. This applies to both the V10 and the V6, but the diesel car is much the more amusing with its mass-defying torque. Both are disarmingly effortless off-road."

    To view the entire, extremely comprehensive, 4Car review and rating of the Touareg, click on the following link. It's a 5 page article that not only contains an extensive review but also provides a pictorial listing of features where you lay your cursor on a number and it gives a corresponding feature, many of which weve not heard about so far. Be sure to view all five pages.

    Click here for page 1 of 5 of the 4Car article.

    And here's the info on the roof rack contained in the article from GermanCarFans:

    "For transporting athletic equipment, rooftop luggage or other loads on the roof, C-rails made of aluminium profiles for fastening a roof-carrier system developed especially for the Touareg are standard equipment. The two crossbars of this aerodynamically optimised system can, if not required, be disassembled or pushed together and to the back of the vehicle, where they form a visually harmonic unit with the roofline."

    click here for picture #1

    click here for picture #2


  • Is this thing traditional body on frame or unibody? Seems like a projected towing capacity like that would require a separate frame, but would hurt onroad manners.

    Other concerns: not so sure about the looks of this. I suppose it's in the interest of keeping it familiar, but IMHO it's a bit too close to a jetta/passat/phaeteon/a4/a6/a8. To me these all look nice (un-offensive?), but the look is over done and kinda mundane. Maybe it'll grow on me.

    Not to reignite the discussion from the 4runner board, but this is the only thing I consider even a remote competitor for the Toyota. Yes each of these have different strengths, but they both seem to blend the best of on and offroad capabilities. They just accomplish it in different ways. I am a bit concerned about the reliabillity of all of the very complex systems on the VW. As for the Toy, well someone recently brought up the point (intmed99 I think) about the new torsen ceter diff on the 4runner being a bit of an unknown quantity. Is it gear based (more preferable), or some other less reliable system, like a wet clutch? I guess time will tell on both of these.
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    To answer you question about Torsen differentials you should not be concerned, Torsen Zexel is a Robert Bosch company and they hold the patent of the design, Torsen stand for torque sensing, it works as a set parallel axis helical gears, made popular by the Audi Quatro and used by the Hummer, is an all mechanical gearing, no clutches, viscuos coupling etc. It costs more than other systems but is better.
  • JBaumgartJBaumgart Posts: 890
    Thanks for the links - very informative. The handling really looks impressive - in fact the whole package looks impressive. The roof carrier system looks very cool, and is sure to be imitated.

    Foghorn48: of course looks are very subjective, but if the Touareg bears some resemblance to the A4/A6/Phaeteon, most would say that you're paying it a great compliment.
  • intmed99intmed99 Posts: 485
    BTW, i never questioned the Torsen center diff. It is excellent. It is also on the new Range Rover's center diff.
  • for the torsen info. Very informative. How about the frame on the Touareg? Body on frame or unibody?
  • wmquanwmquan Posts: 1,817
    The Touareg is unibody.
  • intmed99intmed99 Posts: 485
    I think it is based on the Phaeton platform.
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    The touareg is a combination, called subframe, a heavy frame element is incorporated into the body, is the best of both worlds, and no it is not built on the Phaeton, it is a design of its own designed in conjunction with Porsche, is a purpouse built vehicle from the ground up and not a patch job.

    VW is very serious about the vehicle performing as a first class off roader, it has a low range and three locking differentials, the Phaeton is also a brand new design but with first class road manners.
    To tell the truth the more I read about the Touareg the better it sounds, to the point that I will seriously consider the vehicle, and too bad the V10 is not going to be available rigth away if not I would be first in line.
  • intmed99intmed99 Posts: 485
    Uniframe...Monoframe (Pathfinder)...etc. We have all seen this nomenclature many times. All means one thing = unibody with structural enhancements. Every unibody, even my old CRV, had stamped steel crossmembers and rails to increase structural strength. The new Range Rover is the same.

    In other words, "Uniframe" is more for advertisement to claim, "the best of both worlds." It is not. In off-roading, there is simply no substitute for body-on-frame when going over un-even terrain. A unibody will bend no matter what enhancements you have made to the structure.
  • intmed99intmed99 Posts: 485
    From the off-roading pics, the Touareg has no wheel articulation at all! Zero. It is only capable because of the traction control and the "clutch-pack" differentials. How long will the clutch-packs last if someone actually off-roads over many years?? Take a look at the Mercedes has true lockers (GEAR-based). Look at the Range's center diff is Torsen (gear-based). How about the Jeep WRangler Rubicon...yup, gear-based lockers (and rear LSD).

    On the other hand, take a look at Acura MDX which has clutch packs in the rear diff. You have to change the fluid every 7500 miles...and this is when owners don't off-road at all! Just imagine if someone actually off-roads with the MDX! Just look at the Jeep Grand Cherokee, which has clutch-packs for it's 3 differential (similar to Touareg) makes all sorts of noises and the earlier versions had MANY mechanical problems...many had to be replaced after a few off-roading trips!

    Clutch-packs don't last long! Most off-roaders avoid clutch-pack limited-slip differential like the plaque! That is why they much prefer Torsen LSD or lockers.

    For my money (at that price range), i would get an LX470 or G500. Maybe even the Range Rover (quality is still a question).
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    Like I said in post #101 off roading is so selective, when for the sake of an arguement then it is a big factor. Who is going to take a new 50,000$ SUV and rag it in the bundocks? The fact is that 99% of SUV's never see any off road use of significance, maybe once in a while crossing a patch of bad terrain going to the picnic area. VW knowing this fact designed the Touareg with that in mind, for the ocassional use it has all the ingredients needed, since the vehicle is going to spend 99,9% of its time on the HWY why design it for off road use? If is designed for off road use sales will drop as soon as people finds out it is rough because the stiff suspension, all the train noise and vibration and mechanical drag from all those gears.

    I have an ML Mercedes SUV and a Mercedes Unimog 406, talk about two extremes, the Unimog is so off road dedicated that for any distance I have to truck it, the transmission has so many gears that at hwy speeds (if you can call 50mph hwy speed) overheats, and is all mechanical, double clutch, 21speed forward and 8 reverse, in worm gear mode it has a 4000 to 1 reduction, will make a 1/4 mile in 5 hours at full throtle (2500rpms on the diesel engine) three locking differentials and four sets of reduction gears at each wheel (portal axels) is really a tractor dressed like a vehicle. Most Mogers are always trying to get more Hwy speed out of their vehicles, the saying goes one contacted one of the Mercedes engineers to find out how he could make his Mog go faster (gearing wise), the engineer replied, if you wanted to go fast why did you get a Unimog.

    Talking about frames, I doubt you will find any vehicle in the world with a thicker frame for its size, over 1/2 inch for a vehicle that has a shorter wheel base than my Porsche and it will twist!! The truth is that a monocoque body is stiffer than a frame on body because the uper part of the body acts as a giant truss and is ligther, as long as the attachment points for the major mechanical components are of substance no problem there for that limited use. In fact Mercedes decided to eliminate the frame on the next generation of ML SUV's.
  • intmed99intmed99 Posts: 485
    However, VW is making this thing out to be a great off-roader. I think it even said that it will compete with Range Rover in off-roading.

    I agree with you 100% on consumers not off-roading with their expensive toys.

    Well, unibody is not always stronger than frame. I am assuming the Touareg is quite strong. However, if you place one left front and one right rear wheel on a hill, can you open and close the doors on a unibody SUV?? Most unibodies cannot do this. Touareg may be different, but i am waiting to see this.
  • I was wondering about the frame since the Touareg has such huge torque numbers and an 8000lb towing capacity. With those kind of numbers I would want the traditional body on frame setup, if I ever even came close to that towing limit. Also as for the rigidity of a monoframe/unibody. Jeep GCs have used this for years, but I have heard of several and witnessed at least one blowing out it's rear window from body twist. Also I saw one that couldn't open one of the doors anymore from repeated offroad excurisions torquing the door frame permanently out of wack. I'm sure redesigns (and learning fro others for the VW) will address these issues. Just my 2 cents.
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    99, Well I agree with you, unibody is not stronger, the key word is rigid. There is a blatant example in front of our eyes everyday, next time you are on the road observe the 18 wheelers that are pulling this boxed in trailers (the majority) if you look underneath you will notice NO frame, the body of the trailers makes the frame and no sag even fully loaded, next look at the flat beds and the heavy frame underneath (beams), the flat bed is stronger but the covered trailer is more rigid.

    48, I am sure if we can think about it, the engineers at VW were burning brains over the structural integrity. Lets not forget that VW was one of the pioneers of frameless construction with the Bettle, they have over 60 years of experience and the rigidity of the VW Bettle is without question, the same car is still being built in Mexico and the design was so good that I know of no improvements needed ever since, ironically it was a Ferdinand Porsche design and 60 years later this vehicle has been designed in conjunction with Porsche, Porsche builds the 911 (frameless) and the same body has been in production for more than 37 years (nominated one of the best designs ever), testament to the design is the fact that the 911 has won more than 20,000 races and the same track car has won the Paris Dakar race (amazing that a race car dominated off road vehicles they arrived 1,2 and 6), the only modifications were taller tires and raised suspension. Something tells me is going to be a way better design than the Jeep Cherokee.
  • thor you bring up another question. where is this going to be bult? I've heard some bad things about some of the VW products coming out of Mexico, similar to some of the quality issues with the BMW and Mercedes plants in SC and AL.
  • thor8thor8 Posts: 303
    It will be built in Germany, you make an interesting point, every German car built in the US or Mexico had a lower quality, starting with the US built Rabbits, cars that gave VW a bad reputation.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    the current issue of CAR, the UK magazine. They have a good and informative road test of the Touareg.

    Intmed99 and I recently had a somewhat spirited debate over in the 4Runner forums regarding the Touareg's off road ability and its articulation, or lack there of, as he would point out. In the CAR road/off-road test, there are pictures that clearly point out this lack of articulation. Unlike intmed99, I'm willing to give these "clutch packs" some slack. If and when they prove faulty, as intmed99 predicts, I will hop on his bandwagon, but not before...

    Of interest, however, in the CAR article, was mention of an optional off-road package which, besides having more ground clearance, selectively locking front and rear difs, a tire pressure adjustment device, more off-road oriented tires, and will also include "switchable* anti-roll bars" for much greater wheel articulation. It sounds like this will be available the following year, after it's debut.

    And, yes, they (CAR) compare it's off-road capability very favorably against the new Range Rover. In fact, they predict it will put a scare in the established* (off-road) stars.

    • = CAR's words, not mine.

  • FWIW that "spirited" discussion is what got me looking at the Touareg as serious competitor. Tell VW and maybe they'll give you a discount. Up until I read y'alls banter I thought this VW just gonna be another wanna be. Gotta say I'm fairly impressed with on the paper capabilities of it, but I am very concerned about the clutch packs (and the overall complexity of the VW). As far as I know the Jeep GC was the first to use them and they've had horrible reliability issues. I guess it's a good thing that Toyota screwed up the 4runner body cladding, so I can wait and directly compare these two side by side next year.
  • intmed99intmed99 Posts: 485
    I know that a lot of the newer unibody SUVs can tow quite a bit. However, a lot of these manufacturers don't care what happens to their vehicles after the warranty expires. I still do NOT see how a unibody SUV (uniframe, monoframe, etc.) can hold up towing over 6500 lbs over a long period of time. I just don't see it. Durability is very important. You're asking a lot out of the rear section of the unibody when you tow that much over many years!

    Remember, with a unibody, if you bend/warp one section (off-roading, towing, etc.), you are screwed! Because to replace that defective section, you need to CUT the defective sheetmetal and then RE-weld the new sheetmetal...after which, i wonder how strong (integrity, stiffness, etc.) is the rest of the unibody??

    For example, of all people, why did Ford design the Ford Explorer to have FRAME?? Why does the Excursion have FRAME?? Why did GMC Envoy have FRAME?? Please note that these vehicles do NOT tow more than the Range Rover or Touareg, but they have frame specifically for towing purposes. In general, unibody is CHEAPER to make than body-on-frame...thus the current trend among SUVs. In addition, unibody's tend to have better crash testing scores because it is easier to design a safety cage. Of course, there are exceptions to this. Why do you think the Toyota 4Runner (3rd gen) and Land Cruiser cost so much...i mean you don't get much relatively in terms of luxury, but they are the class leaders in cost. TLC has no wood and no standard side curtain airbags, yet costs over $ that to it's luxurious competition and you will see what i mean.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,788
    Complexity is just a way of life these days. You can't ignore it. Every car is a very complex piece of machinery.

    As to clutch packs, the jury's still out. The only way you can prove their success or failure is over a long period of time. Also, even if one or several brands may have had problems with them, does not mean the *concept* is faulty; just the execution. It's very possible (and probable) that another brand can and will correct those problems, and offer a durable product. It's happened may times in the past, and will continue to do so in the future.

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