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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I currently have a 2002 VW Beetle 1.8T, 5-speed manual, with a stage 1 chip tune. It's my first car, and it's been a maintenance nightmare. I've put on ~6,000 miles since August 2019 (when I picked up the car), and I've had to replace an electrical box (don't remember the specific name, but it shorted and burnt almost through my hood), replace that again, realize that it was the whole ECU/ABS wiring harness, replace that, replace the head gasket, re-machine the intake valves, replace the alternator twice, replace the turbo wastegate actuator, replace the coolant temp sensor (because it was causing my oil light to come on, of all things), and now my variable cam timing actuator is broken (still drivable, but ~1,000 to replace and I think it's affecting my fuel economy).

My question: Is a Touareg 1 a stupid choice or a great option? I've heard horror stories, but I've also heard of them staying rock solid. I go to college this year (Fall 2021) and I want to do some camping and hiking, as well as deal with rain and snow with more confidence than my Beetle gives me. If I decide to pull the trigger, I'd look for a 4.2 V8, ideally with the rear locker (but not absolutely necessary), and either the steel or air springs (unless one will be much more problematic than the other - please advise). I'm wondering how reliability will be compared to my Beetle and what I might be able to expect for repairs. Is this the most reliable spec? How long does the 4.2 V8 go without major issues, assuming regular maintenance? Am I correct in assuming that the 4.2 V8 is more reliable/cheaper to maintain than the 3.2 VR6? I've sunk about $5,000 into the Beetle at this point. Please be honest and transparent with this. I really like the Touareg, but I cannot afford another total money pit. I will be working while I'm in school, and anticipate being able to maintain my vehicle, but I would like to keep costs down at least a little bit. I saw a video saying that if you get a Touareg for $5,000, you should anticipate a total cost of 8-9,000 after 5 years because of repairs and maintenance.

While I search, I will of course try and find a Treg with a good maintenance history and lower miles (<130,000 is what I'm shooting for).

Slightly unrelated, but it would be nice if a note were included in a reply - is there a big Treg community in Colorado? I might be going to CU Boulder and I saw a post about a meet-up in Ouray.

This is the best category that I could think to put this post in - apologies if it's in the wrong place.

Thank you in advance for any replies!
 

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There are a couple members in Colorado and there are also regional parts of the forum on here.

Touaregs are nice but very expensive to buy and very expensive to maintain. They're a whole lot more complex than a 1.8 T Beetle
 

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Get a Toyota or Honda at a price you can deal with. I have a Touareg,my second and I love it,but I wouldn't tell my sons to get one until they have plenty of disposable income to deal with them. I know you like the idea ,but don't do it.
 

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There are a couple members in Colorado and there are also regional parts of the forum on here.

Touaregs are nice but very expensive to buy and very expensive to maintain. They're a whole lot more complex than a 1.8 T Beetle
And to add to it, you have mentioned you are going to college so Treg is not for you, unless you or your family has deeeeep pockets for maintenance cost. At your point in life a jeep would be a better option.
 

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Another way to look at it ... I own a 2004 Golf and a 2004 Touareg - if I didn't own the Golf as daily driver I would not own the Touareg. Why ... weight is a disadvantage around town and mileage - wiring faults due to corrosion can surface at any time - she can throw codes and say "no" at any time. These aspects make ownership costly ... the gain is purely subjective in terms of off-roading, towing etc,... as an example my Touareg is used for cruising and conservative road-race which ain't exactly what it was made for but the gain for my application is worth it - SUV crusher!!
 
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The vehicle of choice in Boulder is a Subaru wagon of some sort. It will get you to plenty of places in the mountains and will help you blend in.

In all seriousness though, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend a Touareg for someone who is in college and may not have an income to maintain it properly. Something you don’t have to worry about getting vandalized or sideswiped by some drunk driver leaving a party on the Hill is more your ticket. As suggested above, a Jeep would also be more practical.

If you are coming from out-of state to CU then this may not be of concern. You more than likely have available family support that may negate any insurmountable issues.

If that’s the case, why not get something comfortable that isn’t run-of-the-mill. A Touareg with the vr6 is plenty reliable as is the V8. It’s always the unknown of getting something that was abused or neglected prior to your ownership that is the downfall of vehicles like these. A complicated vehicle is going to have more available failure points. A solid PPI and good service history will help avoid another situation like your Beetle presented.

Any reason a Touareg with a TDI engine isn’t in your search? They can still have the extended warranty which would make them a much better choice in your stage of life.

The majority of the OG Touareg members that organized the Ouray trip have long been scattered to the wind. Maybe we should put something together if you end up out here. Good luck!

One last side note, I have a great local shop (TDI specialist) that will do a PPI for free or even a post PI to tell you what you need to get your vehicle up to snuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Get a Toyota or Honda at a price you can deal with. I have a Touareg,my second and I love it,but I wouldn't tell my sons to get one until they have plenty of disposable income to deal with them. I know you like the idea ,but don't do it.
Makes sense. Where I live, any 4Runner/LX470/Land Cruiser/Tacoma with under 200,000 miles is at least $10,000, while the Touaregs are ~$5,000 at 120,000 miles. Just thought I might be able to keep total costs with maintenance below 10 grand. As for Honda's, I'm just looking for something with more off-road chops. I like the Pilot, but I can't go very far off road in a stretched and raised Camry platform.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The vehicle of choice in Boulder is a Subaru wagon of some sort. It will get you to plenty of places in the mountains and will help you blend in.

In all seriousness though, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend a Touareg for someone who is in college and may not have an income to maintain it properly. Something you don’t have to worry about getting vandalized or sideswiped by some drunk driver leaving a party on the Hill is more your ticket. As suggested above, a Jeep would also be more practical.

If you are coming from out-of state to CU then this may not be of concern. You more than likely have available family support that may negate any insurmountable issues.

If that’s the case, why not get something comfortable that isn’t run-of-the-mill. A Touareg with the vr6 is plenty reliable as is the V8. It’s always the unknown of getting something that was abused or neglected prior to your ownership that is the downfall of vehicles like these. A complicated vehicle is going to have more available failure points. A solid PPI and good service history will help avoid another situation like your Beetle presented.

Any reason a Touareg with a TDI engine isn’t in your search? They can still have the extended warranty which would make them a much better choice in your stage of life.

The majority of the OG Touareg members that organized the Ouray trip have long been scattered to the wind. Maybe we should put something together if you end up out here. Good luck!

One last side note, I have a great local shop (TDI specialist) that will do a PPI for free or even a post PI to tell you what you need to get your vehicle up to snuff.
The reason the TDI isn't in my search is just reliability (from what I've heard), and the difficulty servicing things. I haven't even seen any on Craigslist in my area, and I would prefer to shop private party to get a sense of how the vehicle was treated and talk through service intervals and everything. I have nothing against the idea of an extended-warranty TDI, in fact that would probably be my top choice if cost were no object. I've heard they're more expensive. If my ideas about their reliability are off, please let me know. I'd love to ride the sea of torque up the Grand Mesa.

I expect to be able to have a fair amount of income from part-time work, probably in a restaurant. I have a lot of restaurant experience, and have excellent references as well as Spanish fluency. I care about servicing my vehicle, and I'm willing to put money into it. My family would be able to help in an emergency, but I'm anticipating paying for my own vehicle maintenance.

In my area, the Touareg's in the same condition as the Subaru's are around the same price. All of the Foresters (my Subaru of choice when I browse Craigslist) are either high-mileage, which leaves me worried about head gaskets and transmissions, or expensive. I'm more familiar with some of their issues, CV boots and head gaskets and the like, than I am with the Touareg's issues, hence the post on this forum.

I have a fair amount of know-how as far as repairs go. I've done work on my intake, exhaust, ECU, and tie rods on my own, and I've found a good number of parts for cheaper than the VW dealership on ECS Tuning, so that's another consideration for me.

From your Colorado-familiar response, I assume you're somewhere on the Eastern side of the Rockies? Is that where your shop is?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
And to add to it, you have mentioned you are going to college so Treg is not for you, unless you or your family has deeeeep pockets for maintenance cost. At your point in life a jeep would be a better option.
Just touched on this in another reply - I expect to have a fair amount of income from part-time work. I've been able to put in around $5,000 for my Beetle. Don't know how that compares to Touareg costs, though.

You got me looking at Jeeps on Craigslist. I want more creature comforts than a TJ Wrangler (and I can't afford a JK), but the Grand Cherokees are looking pretty nice. The Touareg is a few steps above those at similar prices, but I'll need to consider upkeep costs and what I'll be able to put into that.
 

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If you are finding Touareg for the cost of a Subaru there is something wrong with that Touareg unless it's a fairly old one
 

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The shop (not mine) is in Golden, I live just west of Downtown Denver. From the sound of it, you have your head on straight about owning a Touareg and are more than prepared to take on wrenching. I think you’ll do just fine.

The TDI is not “unreliable,” some of the info you read on the web will give you that impression though as it is the modern age’s complaint department. The cost is higher but the additional warranty coverage and the impressive TQ of the TDI (and MPG) over the NA options is very noticeable, especially at altitude. The upfront cost can pay dividends down the line.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The shop (not mine) is in Golden, I live just west of Downtown Denver. From the sound of it, you have your head on straight about owning a Touareg and are more than prepared to take on wrenching. I think you’ll do just fine.

The TDI is not “unreliable,” some of the info you read on the web will give you that impression though as it is the modern age’s complaint department. The cost is higher but the additional warranty coverage and the impressive TQ of the TDI (and MPG) over the NA options is very noticeable, especially at altitude. The upfront cost can pay dividends down the line.
Thank you for all the info. Do the extended warranties come from VW dealers, or do I have to find and negotiate with a shop? Are they mileage dependent, or are they contingent upon passing an inspection, as a CPO program might be? If I could somehow find a TDI in my price range that had a warranty on engine internals and driveshafts/axles (which I've heard can just be demolished by the engine's TQ), that would probably be my attainable dream SUV.

Also - would a used TDI from a dealer be more of an option if it came with that warranty? I'd be much more willing to deal with a dealer not having the experience with the car and the extensive service records if I knew there was a warranty behind it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
If you are finding Touareg for the cost of a Subaru there is something wrong with that Touareg unless it's a fairly old one
Subarus where I'm at are either ~1,500-3,000 with 200,000 miles or 4,000-6,000 for ~100,000-150,000 miles. Just about the same as an 04-07 Touareg. Of course I could spend much more than that if I want super low miles, TDI, newer MY, etc. Subarus are in very high demand where I live, same with Toyotas and Lexuses.
 

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Read this thread carefully:

 

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Thank you for all the info. Do the extended warranties come from VW dealers, or do I have to find and negotiate with a shop? Are they mileage dependent, or are they contingent upon passing an inspection, as a CPO program might be? If I could somehow find a TDI in my price range that had a warranty on engine internals and driveshafts/axles (which I've heard can just be demolished by the engine's TQ), that would probably be my attainable dream SUV.

Also - would a used TDI from a dealer be more of an option if it came with that warranty? I'd be much more willing to deal with a dealer not having the experience with the car and the extensive service records if I knew there was a warranty behind it.
Volkswagen over engineers their stuff. The driveline isn't a weak link in the Touareg (or even most of their cars)
 

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I went to CU back in the day!. Love my T2, but it's a money pit. I know I'm sounding like an old man here (i'm close), but don't do it! You're young. Buy a Subaru to get you through college, then buy the Touareg. I live in south Denver and have a local pic-and pull near me, and I've yet to see a T2, and only a handful of T1's in the last couple of years. But no joke, almost every third car in there is a Subaru of some sort. Yes, you are handy, but will you have a garage to work in when it breaks? Cars always break down when it's cold! Believe me, I get it. You don't want to be part of the masses, but there's a reason the masses drive Subaru's around here. Four years seems like a lifetime, but you'll never regret it later. You have your whole life to buy fun cars. Sorry... sounding like an old man again.
 

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I went to CU back in the day!. Love my T2, but it's a money pit. I know I'm sounding like an old man here (i'm close), but don't do it! You're young. Buy a Subaru to get you through college, then buy the Touareg. I live in south Denver and have a local pic-and pull near me, and I've yet to see a T2, and only a handful of T1's in the last couple of years. But no joke, almost every third car in there is a Subaru of some sort. Yes, you are handy, but will you have a garage to work in when it breaks? Cars always break down when it's cold! Believe me, I get it. You don't want to be part of the masses, but there's a reason the masses drive Subaru's around here. Four years seems like a lifetime, but you'll never regret it later. You have your whole life to buy fun cars. Sorry... sounding like an old man again.
😍🙂WOW, that is one pep talk. 👌👏👏

Admin, we need "groundskeeperwilly" as this clubs designated "talking some sense into" speaker.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I went to CU back in the day!. Love my T2, but it's a money pit. I know I'm sounding like an old man here (i'm close), but don't do it! You're young. Buy a Subaru to get you through college, then buy the Touareg. I live in south Denver and have a local pic-and pull near me, and I've yet to see a T2, and only a handful of T1's in the last couple of years. But no joke, almost every third car in there is a Subaru of some sort. Yes, you are handy, but will you have a garage to work in when it breaks? Cars always break down when it's cold! Believe me, I get it. You don't want to be part of the masses, but there's a reason the masses drive Subaru's around here. Four years seems like a lifetime, but you'll never regret it later. You have your whole life to buy fun cars. Sorry... sounding like an old man again.
You're right. I've got the rest of my life to overland in a Touareg. Even if I could stretch my budget and get a Touareg, I don't need that financial risk hanging over my head when I'm trying to make enough money to buy books and feed myself. A Subaru or a Grand Cherokee may not be the emotional choices, but they might be the best choices. Don't worry - you don't sound like an old man. I asked for a straight-up answer and that's what I got. Thanks for helping out!
 

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Buy what the heart is telling you. You have one life. Service is pretty much the same for every car.
If, after you park and lock the car you dont turn your head to look at it one more time, its not the right car.
 

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Buy what the heart is telling you. You have one life. Service is pretty much the same for every car.
If, after you park and lock the car you dont turn your head to look at it one more time, its not the right car.
This would be ok if he was not in a college. Don't mess up with a good ending :mad:
 
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