For 2005, the Volkswagen Touareg receives minor changes. The V6 and V8 models have a slightly modified suspension, with a slightly lower ride height on models ordered without an air suspension. The V6 engine’s horsepower has been increased from 217 to 240, while the V10 TDI model has a new design for its standard 18-inch alloy wheels.

Named for a nomadic Sahara desert tribe, the Touareg is Volkswagen’s only SUV. Its base V6 engine is also used in the Porsche Cayenne, after the Porsche engineers tweak it to their specifications. Other available engines are a 4.2-litre V8 and a 5.0-litre V10 turbodiesel. All use Volkswagen’s 4Motion permanent four-wheel-drive system and a six-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic manual shift mode, Dynamic Shift Program, sport mode and low range gear.

The V6 includes dual steel exhaust pipes, trailer hitch preparation, privacy glass, automatic halogen headlamps, fog lamps, heated mirrors with reverse tilt, puddle lamps and integrated turn signals, power sunroof, black roof rack, 17-inch alloy wheels, rain sensor, heated washer nozzles, intermittent rear wiper, automatic dual-zone climate control, cruise, automatic locking, aluminum and walnut interior trim, CD player with ten speakers, eight-way manually adjusted heated front seats, 60/40 folding rear seat, Homelink garage door opener, leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, “leatherette” upholstery and power windows.

The V8 adds chrome-tipped exhaust pipes, chrome door sills, automatic bi-Xenon headlamps with washers, power flush-folding mirrors with auto dimming and memory, 18-inch alloy wheels, sliding illuminated centre armrest, twelve-way power adjustable front seats with memory and lumbar support, heated rear seats, ski sack, heated steering wheel, manually-operated rear side sunshades and leather interior.

The V10 adds adjustable air suspension, Servotronic power steering, larger brakes, additional grille chrome, silver roof rack and multi-coloured trip and onboard computer display.

In a crowded field of luxury SUVs, the Touareg is a standout: it’s comfortable, very well built, and surprisingly capable when asked to go off the beaten path. It only holds five passengers, but then, most SUV third-row seats are pretty much that in name only, with very little room for real people. The V6 tends to stretch to its limits easily with this very heavy vehicle, and the V8 is a better choice. The V10 is a very hefty jump up the price ladder, but it’s a stump-puller, and you won’t be stopping to refuel as often. The Touareg can tow up to 3500 kg (7716 lbs) and take 100 kg (220 lbs) of cargo on its roof. With transportation this nice, it’s no wonder the Touareg tribe moved around so much.

The Touareg is built in Bratislava, Slovakia.

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