Best & Worst Volkswagen Touareg Years

We have ranked each Volkswagen Touareg model for every generation so you can avoid picking the worst Volkswagen Touareg years and pick the best one.

In this guide, I’ll break down all Volkswagen Touareg generations, highlighting its best years to buy and the worst Volkswagen Touareg years to avoid.

I’ll provide a well-rounded view of the vehicle’s reliability, safety, and overall owner satisfaction based on data from reputable sources like NHTSA and Consumer Reports.

Explore the aspects such as technological and safety features, resale prices, common owner-reported problems, and recalls, offering a clear understanding of the notable model years.

Let’s dive right in!

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Table of ContentsShow

Volkswagen Touareg Generations

The Volkswagen Touareg, first introduced in 2004, boasted advanced features like 4XMotion all-wheel drive, an adjustable air suspension system, and a plush interior, making a mark with its impressive balance of off-road capability and on-road comfort.

Volkswagen discontinued the Touareg for sale in North America from the 2017 model year onward based on sales and the availability of the larger and less expensive Atlas.

Here are the Volkswagen Touareg generations between 2004 and 2017.

1st Generation (7L)2004-2010
2nd Generation (7P)2011-2017

These generational distinctions are essential for potential buyers or enthusiasts, as each generation of the Touareg features unique attributes and improvements.

Volkswagen Touareg Best, Neutral, and Worst Years

When evaluating the best and worst Volkswagen Touareg model years, our comprehensive analysis encompasses a variety of critical factors:

  • Owner-reported reliability (surveys)
  • Annual maintenance costs
  • Safety ratings
  • Consumer Reports reliability scores
  • Consumer Reports owner satisfaction scores
  • NHTSA recalls, investigations, and complaints
  • Edmunds owner ratings
  • JD Power owner ratings
  • Kelley’s Blue Book (KBB) owner ratings
  • VehicleHistory owner ratings
  • owner ratings

This intricate assessment results in a graph that amalgamates all these ratings, clearly and concisely visualizing Touareg’s performance across different years.

Volkswagen Touareg Car Smite Score Combined Overall Score

Here, we categorize each VW Touareg model year as best, neutral, and worst years based on the combined insights from the sources above.

GenerationBest YearsNeutral YearsWorst Years
1st Generation (7L)20102006
2nd Generation (7P)2012

“Neutral years” neither excel nor significantly falter in reliability and performance. They represent a balanced choice, often with fewer recalls and moderate owner satisfaction.

It’s important to note that factors like NHTSA recalls can significantly impact a vehicle’s reliability rating – the more complaints and recalls, the lower the dependability.

Let’s dive into the best, neutral, and worst years of the VW Touareg.

Best & Worst Years for Volkswagen Touareg 1st Generation (2004-2010)

Volkswagen Touareg 1st generation 2004 model
The 2004 Volkswagen Touareg

The first generation of the Volkswagen Touareg, introduced in 2004, marked Volkswagen’s foray into the luxury SUV segment. It was lauded for its off-road capabilities, luxurious interior, and robust engine options.

2010 is the best VW Touareg year of the generation, while 2004 and 2005 are the worst to avoid.

The Best Years: 2010

The 2010 Volkswagen Touareg, regarded as the best year of the first generation, was a culmination of years of refinement.

This model year featured robust engine options, including the powerful 4.2L V8 and 3.6L V6, providing a balance of power and efficiency with reasonable fuel consumption rates of around 14 city/19 highway mpg.

The 2010 Touareg also came with advanced safety features like an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), an Electronic Stability Program (ESP), and a suite of airbags, enhancing its safety credentials.

It offered improved interior technology with an upgraded infotainment system, providing navigation and entertainment solutions.

Despite a recall for cracked fuel flanges, the 2010 model year was well-received for its reliability and performance, making it a desirable choice for buyers.

The Neutral Years: 2006, 2007

The 2006 and 2007 models of the Touareg provided a mix of advancements and setbacks.

These years saw a continuation of the robust engine lineup, including the 3.2L V6 and the 4.2L V8, offering a blend of performance and comfort with fuel efficiencies similar to the 2010 model.

They featured enhancements in safety technology, like adding a rollover sensor to the airbag system and luxury amenities in the cabin.

However, these models were affected by fuel leak issues, leading to recalls for cracked fuel filter flanges.

The Worst Years: 2004, 2005

What VW Touareg years to avoid? 2004 and 2005 are the worst Volkswagen Touareg years to avoid, with many owner complaints and recalls.

The 2004 and 2005 models faced significant issues, particularly with the powertrain and electrical systems.

They were marred by transmission failures, jerking and slipping, and electrical issues, leading to power loss and dashboard failures.

These models were notorious for suspension problems, causing misalignment and accelerated tire wear.

Recalls during these years focused on fuel pump leaks and suspension issues, which further tainted their reputation.

See NHTSA 2004, 2005 Volkswagen Touareg recalls and complaints.

Best & Worst Years for Volkswagen Touareg 2nd Generation (2011-2017)

Volkswagen Touareg 2nd generation 2011 model
The 2011 Volkswagen Touareg

The second generation of the Volkswagen Touareg, from 2011 to 2017, introduced a sleeker, more refined exterior and interior design, enhanced technological features, and improved powertrain options, reinforcing its position as a premium SUV.

2011 is the worst second-generation Volkswagen Touareg model year to avoid, while 2012, 2015, and 2017 are the best years to buy.

The Best Years: 2012, 2015, 2017

What is the optimal year of the Touareg? Based on our research, I recommend 2012, 2015, and 2017 as the best and most dependable VW Touareg model year worth purchasing.

These years offered the potent 3.6L FSI V6 and the fuel-efficient 3.0L V6 TDI, ensuring a blend of performance and economy, with fuel mileage averaging 20 city/29 highway mpg.

Safety features were top-notch, including lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and forward-collision warning.

The interior boasted high-end trim levels with luxurious materials and sophisticated technology like the touchscreen navigation system and Dynaudio sound system.

These years are known for fewer recalls and robust build quality, making them highly recommended for potential buyers.

The Neutral Years: 2013, 2014, 2016

The 2013, 2014, and 2016 models of the Touareg presented a balanced mix of quality and minor issues.

These models had impressive safety features like blind-spot monitoring and a rearview camera. The interior comfort remained high with quality materials and advanced infotainment features.

However, in the 2013 and 2014 VW Touareg models, owners reported high-pressure fuel pump failures, shaky steering wheels, and wet engine air filters filled with water, especially in the 2016 model.

These model years were subjected to a recall concerning a missing brake pedal clip, causing loss of braking.

While not as recommended as the best years, these models still offer a reliable and comfortable driving experience.

The Worst Years: 2011

What is the worst year Volkswagen Touareg? Avoid the 2011 Volkswagen Touareg in its second generation. Here is why:

This model faced problems in its fuel system, with reports of high-pressure fuel pump failures in TDI models.

While generally reliable, the 3.0L TDI was part of the affected units experiencing these problems.

The 2011 VW Touareg was also subjected to a recall concerning a missing brake pedal clip, causing a loss of braking.

Due to these issues, the 2011 model is often considered less desirable compared to other years in the second generation of the Touareg.

See NHTSA 2011 Volkswagen Touareg recalls and complaints.

Volkswagen Touareg Resale Values

This detailed graph explores how varying model years impact Volkswagen Touareg’s average resale values.

Volkswagen Touareg Average List Price


As we wrap up our comprehensive look at the Volkswagen Touareg, it’s clear that the 2012, 2015, and 2017 models shine as the best years, offering robust performance and reliability.

Conversely, the 2004, 2005, and 2011 models are the worst Volkswagen Touareg years to avoid due to their frequent issues.

Which Volkswagen Touareg model year offers the best value for money, and why?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Jonathan Eckert

Jonathan is an ASE-certified mechanic with over 22 years of hands-on experience in the automotive industry. His expertise spans a wide range of vehicles, but he specializes in diagnosing and repairing Japanese cars. His previous workplace highly commended his meticulous attention to detail, and that's exaclty what he uses at Car Smite to craft the best guides for each purpose.