I want to provide a detailed review after my first 2 years of ownership of my wonderful tank (I meant Touareg).
Before getting into the details, I want to disclose my knowledge level. I don't claim to be an technical expert, I am merely car lover, who is fortunate to have worked thru his college years as a valet in Boston, US and a rental car agent. In my work career i have driven upwards of 20,000 cars I can compare the Touareg to all his competitors.
2 years ago, I was considering buying our first Touareg. I was reading about all the possible problems and I was very nervous. Here in the US they charge ridiculous amount of money for labor. Even worse, most shops don't work on German cars. So you are hard pressed to opt for the dealer (stealer). Anyway we bought a beautiful 2008 VR6 Treg with Air and all options...except heated steering wheel. It was 65K miles (104K km).
I will try to keep my review as short as possible, but how do you describe pure love in a short paragraph?!
First, the driving feel is amazing. Except high end and extremely expensive SUVs (X5M, AMG or Jaguar) nothing else can match the mate achieved by the engine and the gearbox. The VR6 engine really revs beautifully and the gearbox makes it sing a wonderful song. There is zero lag, the gears are coming easy and short and swift changes happen upon acceleration. I am absolutely convinced there is no SUV under $50K to match this performance. This car drives more like a sports car, than a big heavy offroad worthy SUV.
There were 4 main problems that came to my list when researching this vehicle of choice: 1. Front hub bearing 2. Eating its brakes 3. Xenon lights failures 4. Air suspension failures.
I am happy to report that in the past 2 years and 12.5K miles (20K km) I had 0 problems with those areas or any other failures. I have NOT spent any money of problems or maintenance (obviously excluding oil changes). I had only one problem when I had gas leak from the fuel tank and fuel pump or a joint between them. It cost me $628 to fix. However 3 months later I received a notice that there was a factory recall on this problem and I received my money back from VW America. So be advised if you had this problem, you are entitled to this reimbursement.
I just came back from the first major road trip with my Treg. 2000 miles between the frozen land of Boston-Montreal-Toronto-Niagara Falls-Boston. I had to drive in almost constant heavy snow fall with freezing temperatures outside. I am rolling on Michelin LTX, which is the first ever All season tire I dare to conquer a winter. I am originally form Europe, which is almost mandatory to have dedicated winter (snow) tires. The amount of grip and sense of security that the Treg and the tires provided is unmatched. I have never felt that secure driving in winter/snow conditions. In Montreal they usually wait until the night to scoop all the snow from the streets, which creates a lot of fun driving experience. I had to climb over 1 foot deep piles of heavy snow to find parking. The Treg just went with no hesitation. It was amazingly fun to perform small power slides on most street corners (please be advised that it was Christmas, so there was minimal traffic, no people or animals were harmed 0
On other hand 1 year ago I was involved in a heavy crash. A crazy driver hit us on the highway. He was going crazy speed and lost control, hit the guard rail and then came flying over 70 MPH (112kph) into the right side of our Treg. Fortunately all 4 of us in the car were fine. The Treg sustained heavy front door damager since he T-boned us, but was drivable and no structural damage. Both the other two cars involved had to be towed and some people needed minor doctors' attention. I am telling you this, because when you are in a Treg, you are effectively in a tank. I was very tankful to the German engineering for keeping us safe that night.
The bottom line is that this an amazing car. I love it and I am already looking to buy the next model 2011 when my other car (a Toyota Solara convertible) decides it is time.
There is only one thing I dislike. There is no option to blow hot air to the windshield and your feet or yourself. You have to choose between the windshield or yourself. I found myself switching every 15 minutes during my long trip. Since the constant snowfall I did bring plenty of moisture inside the cabin, so when I was not directing the air to the windshield, it was getting foggy. And when I was the side windows will get foggy or my feet will be cold. There was almost no winning, until all the moisture in the car was gone and I put the air towards the side windows and my froze feet.
One minor problem is the sunroof. Similarly to my 2006 Passat, there is some electrical or physical switch problem where the sunroof will prop open on its own. This is annoying if you don't catch it. I am sure there is an easy solution to fix that, but i haven't gotten to this point.
I hope all of you future owners of Tregs, find my review helpful.
On a sad note, i want to note that I have used the low range gearbox once, just because i wanted to play with it. I have no use for it in the state where I live :frown2: So i feel pretty confident that I will not miss this feature at the 2011 model, but will enjoy the fuel economy improvement from the lack of it.
Lastly, I had a funny experience. I am sure that a more knowledgeable expert will explain the reason for that. I went sliding at the mall parking lot after one blizzard. After 15 minutes of amazing fun power sliding I had no brakes. I am not sure why was that. Either the rotors got extremely cold from the snow drifting or overheated from the 4 motion system touching the brakes for me. I was sliding with the traction system off, obviously. Basically don't be surprised if you loose your brakes for 10-15 minutes after extensive sliding/spinning all tires.