Disclaimer: I have only owned my Touareg (my first) since last September. It is my 2nd TDI. I own a 2010 Jetta TDI (same technology basically, just smaller engine) that I've had since new and continue to drive daily. (currently at 255k kms, still on original HPFP, turbo, clutch, etc... all major components, excluding things like a few sensors, brakes, tires, bulbs)
I've decided to sell my 07 Jeep WK CRD and get something more practical. I love my Jeep and have owned Jeeps for 20+ years and i'm finally done with the "Just Empty Every Pocket" for a DD. I have a 80mi commute and don't offroad as much as I used to so I need fuel economy, good ride and something that tows 5K well (I know they can tow more but lets be realistic) as I haul boats and trailerS quite often, reliable and have a decent offroad capability (nothing serious). On paper the Touareg looks like its a good match for what I need so I have lots of questions.
You will love the Touareg compared to your Jeep. When thing break, as they do, parts will cost more but if you do your own wrenching, you can fix almost anything yourself with proper tools (read VCDS) and knowledge (read service manuals, forum input, personal knowledge, etc). It will tow way better than your Jeep, but it will be less capable in hard core offroading due to lack of lockers and such. With decent tires you shouldn't have a problem as the traction control works well.
1. How reliable would a 2012 TDI with 60-80K on it be with routine maintenance? I do all my own work unless it's something the dealer can only do and i'm very mechanically inclined. I'm a preventive maintenance guy and won't typically wait until something breaks.
You will be fine. If you stay on top of things and don't ignore CELs or sensor failures, it will treat you well.
2. Is the HPFP failure a real thing? The internet says if I buy one it will have a catastrophic failure lol. I know VW has a extended warranty on some but i'd hit the mileage limit in less than 2 years of driving so it's a real concern.
It sure is. You want this to fail during the extended period if it does fail. After that, have a backup plan, as when it does fail, ti's a big and costly fix. Many of us run lubricity additives as we believe that our crap quality of fuel is the main culprit.
3. Do they suffer from awd driveline vibrations? My Jeep is plagued with all sorts of vibrations and I just want a rig that goes down the road nice without spending $1K in driveshafts etc.
Steering Wheel Shake is the most common, with the Propshaft carrier bearing being the 2nd most common. Lots of info on here about how to fix\address this. Other than that, keep your tires evenly worn\rotated and you'll be fine.
4. Do the radios go out? I had a 2010 Jetta that went thru 2 radios in a year and the dealer said "yeh they go bad".
It's a VW... there's always some electrical gremlin at some point.
5. What is real world mileage on the highway driving responsibly with a stage 2 tune and emissions delete?
Don't do any of that until the extended warranty runs out. My fixed unit will do low 30s MPG over a 500 mi trip with the cruise set above the posted speed limit. A delete should allow you to pick up a few more MPGs in theory.
6. What is the biggest fear of ownership of these as far as major repairs? On my CRD its the oil seal that is $20 but $1200 in labor to replace and/or the turbo.
Timing chain, tranny, HPFP, and brakes (especially if you don't do your own)
7. Life expectancy of the turbo?
Too many factors to even take a stab at it...... I'd expect ~200k with proper maintenance.