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Touareg Notes

I started a thread on one of the VW forums (right here, since I was curious where it was too) asking people what their "favorite little things" are, and my own list (the extended version) is below. First, some general notes.

The manual is rather amusing. It's obviously a translation, because some of the grammar is, well, let's go with "amusing." It's better than the previous year's version, or so I've heard, but there are still some interesting parts and some unusual pictures (like the baby-throwing lady on page 55).

The car's a six-speed automatic transmission, and boy does it get through the first four gears quickly. When I hit 30 MPH on flat ground I'm in fifth gear. At 40 I'm in sixth. I barely even notice first, and the RPM meter really never gets above 1250. Uphill, they extend out, and they go to about 5000 RPM in "Sports" mode. Lower RPM = better gas consumption, so I'm okay with all of this for now. I'll have to play with the Tiptronic stuff some more, though…

It's amazing what a difference the lumbar support makes. Wowee. My Aztek didn't have lumbar support, though it does have an adjustable seat, and on long trips my back would begin to ache. I can already tell that this won't be an issue in the Touareg.

The moonroof works nicely with a twist of a dial. None of that "hold this lever while you're driving to make the moon roof open." Also, it's extremely quiet and it stays inside the roof.

Oil changes cost more, but they're only recommended every 5k to 10k miles (5k, 10k, 20k, 30k, etc.). I'm guessing that both are the way they are because the Touareg takes synthetic oil.

The four-year, 50,000-mile warranty includes a one-year, 12,000-mile warranty where VW will fix just about anything that isn't broken or worn through normal wear and tear (i.e. tires don't count). I've heard of a few cases where the wood trim has cracked, and VW has taken care of the customers quickly.

Consumer Reports
The early 2004 Touaregs, apparently, sucked. Electrical issues out the wazoo. That's been fixed, but I haven't seen an updated Consumer Reports, uhh, report.

I've already programmed two of the three buttons (one and three) to correspond to the two garage doors on my house. I don't have any radio-controlled lights, so for now, button two will remain unused.

Touchy Trunk
The trunk opens with a touch - similar to Apple's iPod controls (with the capacitors that sense touch), but not quite that easy. They require a light touch and a small tug, but aren't mechanical like most cars and trucks. Plus, the rear window can be opened independent of the trunk.

Safety and Security
I believe the car has anti-tow settings and internal motion sensing, but my car lacks the buttons listed in the manual, so maybe it's an option. Either way, the safety ratings are astounding, and the number of airbags in this thing are incredible. It brakes well, too - the more sensitive brakes bug some, the dealer told me, but they feel great to me.

I first purchased a Neo iOn, but I think I'm going to return it. I've been talked into a Dension iceLink which, though requires the temporary removal of the radio during installation, has a few more features than the iceLink Neo iOn. The text display does not work, supposedly, but I intend to write to Dension about that. They may be able to offer a firmware update to fix that. With the iceLink, I can control the iPod via the steering wheel or radio controls in addition to the iPod's controls.

I'll get about 15-16 MPG during the first 1,000 miles or so. The break-in period is 500 miles and I'm simply supposed to vary my speed every three minutes. After it's broken in, the way I drive, I expect about 22 MPG. My Aztek, for comparison, gets 30 but isn't all-time 4WD.

The headlights are nifty. They're auto-leveling bi-Xenon headlights with their very own little window washer fluid. Apparently, Xenon headlights show shadows a lot more than your typical halogen headlights. Plus, they automatically turn on - something Gabe's Jetta didn't do two or three years ago.

The full-size spare is self-inflating and stored easily in the trunk. The Touareg also comes with an air pump, which means the one I had for the Aztek can stay with the Aztek.

Cargo Space
The Aztek has 93 cubic feet of cargo space. The Touareg has 73. You can tell, too, and a large part of the reason is easy to understand: the full-size spare and the fact that the rear seats can't be removed.

I bought a new car seat (which may be returned) today for $180 because it can convert to a booster seat, even though Little One may not be ready for a booster seat for 27 more years. 😛 Carey and I made the mistake of buying a really crappy car seat a few months ago for my Aztek. Her Camry's car seat will go in the Aztek and the new one (with a "mat" to protect the leather) will go in the Touareg, if we keep it.

The controls in the Touareg are so much easier to use - particularly while driving - than I'm used to because most of the time you'll simply use the "auto" mode. Twist the dial to set your temperature and let the system decide how much cooling or heating and the fan speed on its own.

The rear-view mirror has a compass and a clock in it. I have had a radar detector for a number of years, but I used it primarily as a compass. I don't foresee adding a fuzzbuster to the Touareg.

Windshield Wipers
The windshield wipers can automatically sense rain and will adjust the speed to keep your line of sight clear. Some have reported that they don't like the wipers because they'll change speeds (slow, slow, fastfastfast, medium, slow, fastfast, etc.), which can be annoying. Hey, worst case, I'll just use the intermittent mode. The rear window has a wiper too.

Not only do my side mirrors mechanically fold, but they defrost and un-dew when it's a tad chilly outside. So too do the front two seats. Gabe's Jetta had ass warmers, as we came to call them, but they didn't serve much purpose in south Florida. In Erie, PA, it's a different story.

Flip the signal up or down and the Touareg blinks your turn signal three times. Great when changing lanes, though I think I'll VAG-COM it to five blinks when I get the chance.

German Engineering
It is what it is. I popped the trunk and was incredibly impressed with the simple beauty of what lay beneath. The clean lines from the exterior continue under the hood.

The Touareg can tow just over 7500 pounds. It costs around a thousand bucks to get the tow hitch installed and set up, and it takes a day or two to do it. I'll have it done at 5,000 miles (if I have it done at all) when it needs its first oil change. I'll get a Passat loaner car in the meantime. 🙂 When/if we get the tow hitch installed, we'll get one of those bike racks, too.

Roof Rack
The roof rack locks. People stole roof racks in Florida all the time. I imagine it's less common here, but still, locks are good. The roof rack mechanism is also a lot sturdier than the Aztek's, which have already lost two springs. Anyway, the whole "looks like a spoiler when you put them together in the back" thing is somewhat true. Eh…

Dark grey "anthracite" leather interior: looks great, but I've gotta learn how to take care of it. Quickly. Many have recommended Meguiar's, so I'll take a look.

Four Wheels
The Aztek has traction control, which was great when it kicked in. However, if I'm staring at a snow-covered slope, it's good to know that all of my tires will be digging in sooner than "when my front tires begin slipping." The tires are larger by three inches, too, which makes for a more comfortable ride with more clearance.

The REST feature re-circulates hot or cool air for up to 30 minutes after you've left the car. In other words, if it's hot, you can come back to a cool car and vice versa. I've not had much of a chance to try this yet, but others report that it works well.

The Touareg is about six inches longer than my Aztek and about two inches taller and wider.

The car can be programmed for up to three users. Mirror and seat positions are stored and can be coded to each key. If Carey unlocks the car with her key fob, the seats will adjust for her. Otherwise, they remain where I last set them.

When you switch to reverse, the passenger side view mirror tilts in and down to help you better see the curb.

I've got some other things on my list, but I think this is quite big as it is. Perhaps I'll make another notes entry later or add comments to this one. We shall see…

7 Responses to "Touareg Notes"

  1. "temporary removal of the radio during installation, has a few more features than the iceLink."

    you mean iOn i think?

    So Carey is driving the Aztek?! I'd rather have the Camry 😛

    Just trolling through…

  2. Yes, the iOn. It's been corrected.

  3. It's amazing that you have so much time to write about your VW since you are constantly looking at it and running errands to protect it! 🙂

  4. and some unusual pictures (like the baby-throwing lady on page 55)

    Picture please??? 🙂

    When you switch to reverse, the passenger side view mirror tilts in and down to help you better see the curb.

    Bless the Germans.

    It's these little things that make me love German cars. I had a 1987 BMW 535iS that had a christmas tree panel for systems throughout the car. Ex: there was a light to indicate a failed license plate light (which cops down in MD seem to be particular anal about…). A friend of mine joked that he was quite sure that somewhere on the panel was a light to indicate failure of a light that indicates failures (alas, there wasn't, but there was a test button that would illuminate all the lights letting you know if one had failed).

  5. Neo iOn
    I had never heard of the Neo iOn, however just looking into it now it "supposedly" supports my car. All of the other iPod car kits I have seen so far do not... requiring me to buy a NEW stereo which I don't want to do.

    What didn't you like about the iOn, and why are you returning it? Is it just because you would rather have a proper display and control? or did it not work well for you?

  6. For the leather use Lexol. They have the best leather products I have ever used.


  7. MPG - I currently get around 16, no better. At 25kmi. It's a gas guzzler alright. Even with the puny 2004 V6 that I have. Apparently 2006 V6's are more powerful, and have better economy...