Well, here we are, the day I most feared as come. It seems that VW finds the Atlas leaves no room for Touareg in the lineup. That makes me sad, very sad in fact, as the Touareg was one of the few VWs left I actually liked.
Everyone rightfully praises the Phaeton for what it is, a beautifully crafted, somewhat mischevious luxury sedan, albeit from a sub-luxury brand. The Touareg was the same thing in my eyes, only in SUV form. Born in the time when SUVs were all the rage, the Touareg was a noble attempt at cashing in on that, while also an attempt to bring VW upmarket, which kind of worked...emphasis on kind of.
It was beautifully equipped on the interior with all sorts of luxurious features, and could hold its own decently on an off-road trail. Sales were decent to start off with, but kind of stagnated over time. People began to prefer its platform mates and other competitors such as the Range Rover, and some people just couldn’t get around that badge on the hood. It was quite expensive, after all.
It also didn’t help that VW decided to barely do anything when it came to updating for seven years. Within that seven years, the Range Rover received three updates, the Mercedes ML received two, and the Porsche and Audi equivalents dropped. Yeah, it received a minor refresh in 2007, but it definitely felt long in the tooth. It didn’t matter to me of course.
They weren’t exactly the most reliable things in the world, but where’s the fun in reliability? To me, they were handsome, well-equipped SUVs, definitely the best looking off of the platform. If I was a well-off man in the early 2000s looking for a luxury SUV, I probably would have actually bought one of these, along with a Phaeton, just to show VW that at least I cared about their wild luxurious endeavors.
In 2010, it received an update that wasn’t nearly as handsome as the original, it almost looked like a bloated Tiguan. I found it to be okay at best, it was still a decently capable thing and was still soaked in luxury. But sales had already started dipping and the writing was on the wall for anyone who was really paying attention.
And now that the Atlas is here, the Touareg is yesterday’s news. It just feels so much like one of those stories where a new employee comes along and steals the thunder of the older, wiser one, to the point where the older one is fired. It really saddens me that it almost felt like VW never really gave a shit. But oh well, the benefit for us is these things are going for hella cheap now. I’d love to own one of those TDI V10 models...they pull some serious weight.
Anyway, goodbye Touareg. See you, space cowboy.