The SUV we miss dearly.
The coolest and perhaps one of the most unusual vehicles Volkswagen ever built is no longer sold in the US. It hasn't been since 2017. The Volkswagen Touareg is the SUV predecessor to the current Atlas, which is really a crossover. All three Touareg generations, however, share a platform with the Porsche Cayenne. The third-generation Touareg remains available overseas where owners appreciate its premium build materials, general refinement, and off-road capability. Unlike the Atlas, the Touareg has a motorsports career that saw modified racing versions compete at the Baja 500 and Baja 1000, Pikes Peak, and the Dakar Rally which it won in 2010 and 2011.
So why did VW kill the Touareg given our insatiable appetite for SUVs? Low sales, for one - largely because it was one of the most expensive midsize SUVs on the market. The name 'Touareg' also didn't help.
Launched for 2003, the Touareg has been offered with a variety of engines over the years, including diesel, hybrid, and most recently, a plug-in hybrid variant. It has always been the Cayenne's corporate cousin but has managed to achieve its own loyal following. Still, the Touareg never really belonged with the greater VW brand lineup. Like the older generation Passat and discontinued Phaeton, it was simply too premium and therefore pricey. Why bother spending well over $50,000 on a Touareg when there was the Audi Q5 and Q7, the latter being another platform cousin. Volkswagens should be exactly what the name means in German, the "people's car." The Touareg was simply the wrong VW SUV for America.
While there are plenty of used Touaregs for sale, there are relatively few V8 versions, such as this 2008 Touareg 2. The refreshed first-gen model fixed most of the early quality issues and offered updated styling. Most were V6 examples, but those who opted for the V8 received a 4.2-liter FSI engine with 306 horsepower and 300 lb-ft of torque. The VR6 version, to compare, had 276 hp and 270 lb-ft.
Priced at $6,425 and with 140,398 miles, this fully-loaded Touareg has AWD and an Alaska Gray exterior and Anthracite leather interior. It's a cheap yet luxurious SUV with solid off-roading capabilities and is currently for sale at Ryan Auto Mall in Minnesota.