A 2009-registered example with 13,000 miles was sold recently by a dealer for around £30,000. However, despite its awesome Q-car appeal, he was glad to see the back of it.
“I could see it would cost a bomb in workshop hours to service because you couldn’t get to anything without dismantling half the engine,” he told me. “I could see that the designers were so short of space, they’d had to locate the battery under one of the seats. I know this because I had to change it and doing so cost me £400.
It was a stupidly quick car, though!” So the V10 and W12 are the Kray twins of the Mk1 Touareg range. Fortunately, the rest of the family is a lot cuddlier. At the bottom of the line- up sit the popular 2.5 TDI and rarely sold 3.2 V6 petrol engines, available with manual or Tiptronic automatic transmissions. They suit easy-going drivers with a bit of towing to do (all Touaregs can tug 3500kg). If you need a little more heft, there’s the 4.2 V8 petrol auto. The better balanced 3.0 V6 TDI auto arrived in 2005, combining livelier performance with decent economy, and it and the 2.5 TDI accounted for the bulk of sales.
These and all later versions of the Touareg are four-wheel drive with a manual or automatic locking centre differential (a locking rear diff was an option) and hill descent control. The midlife facelift in 2007heralded no less than 2300 changes, a figure that included boiling down the petrol line-up to one 3.6 V6. The 2.5 and 5.0-litre diesels soldiered on but the 3.0-litre was heavily revised, only to be tinkered with the following year when its power was raised from 221bhp to 236bhp and economy improved by some margin. If you’re shopping for a 2008-reg 3.0 TDI, make sure you check which of the two versions you’re being offered.
For its heated leather seats, satellite navigation and cruise control, SE is the pick of the trims. A clean, 100,000-mile 2008 ‘high-power’ Touareg 3.0 V6 TDI SE with full VW service history for around £5450 is just the ticket.
How to get one in your garage:
An expert’s view, BARRY BABISTER, CCM VW SPECIALISTS: “We rate the Mk1 Touareg engines. The 3.0 V6 TDI is bulletproof, with the right balance of power and economy. Check that oil and filter changes have been done on time. Oil pressure may be unaffected by poor maintenance and you won’t see the oil light flash but tired oil doesn’t penetrate the engine deeply enough. We see failed timing chain tensioners and bearings so know it’s an issue. Propshaft failure is a talking point. We have a cost-effective repair, but tremors or rumbles could just as easily be poor wheel alignment, which even for an experienced technician is difficult to resolve.”