As we pulled the 2008 Volkswagen Touareg 2 up a rocky slope for its photo shoot, we started thinking about taking the car through even more hostile terrain, such as out near Moab, Utah, or from San Francisco to Dakar. With the Touareg's four-wheel drive, lockable center differential and adjustable ride height, it seems like it can handle all obstacles, slopes, and surfaces. But we were restricted to paved roads during our time with the car, which we didn't really mind as the leather interior, comfortable ride, and modern exterior are perfectly at home in an urban environment.
Unfortunately, the urban environment also reveals one of the Touareg's major flaws, as fuel economy drops close to 10mpg with our V-8 version. The cabin gadgets in the Touareg are also a major problem, as it has the worst factory-installed navigation unit we've seen. And, although the stereo sounds decent enough, its ridiculous configuration when the navigation system is present really doesn't improve matters.