Wondering why the company never stressed enough on its off-roading prowess to market it

If you were to choose between a Volkswagen Touareg and a Land Rover Discovery for off-roading – wait, a Land Rover Discovery with all-terrain tires and a lift-kit – which one would you choose? I’m sure a large bunch of you would opt for the latter. However, this video by TFLCar shows that the Touareg should not be underestimated. Even in stock form, it managed to stay on par with the Land Rover Discovery, irrespective of what was thrown at it.

Off-Road Challenge: Volkswagen Touareg vs. Land Rover Discovery

Both the vehicles used in this experiment were 2004 models. The first task was to test the ground clearance. The Land Rover Discovery passed it with flying colors, thanks to the oversized tires and the lift-job. The Volkswagen Touareg, surprisingly, also cleared the test with the utmost ease.

Even in 2004, the Touareg was equipped with an air suspension and could go up to 11.8 inches off the ground in the highest ‘X’tra’ setting.

The next assignment was to pass it in a little more treacherous way. This is where the VW Touareg proved its might. The Land Rover Discovery, although high from the ground and able to clear obstacle with ease, did break a sweat to complete the task. The vehicle struggled to distribute power amongst the wheels and that was clearly evident during this test. The Touareg, on the other hand, felt a lot more connected. Before the trial, the sensors and the rear differential were locked. So, the SUV went up with ease. In fact, a Jeep owner there was quite impressed with the Touareg’s skills as well. The final test was a mix of the first two and both the SUVs did fairly well. But the Touareg won brownie points since it was riding on standard road tires and no body mods done to it.

The 2004 Land Rover Discovery Is An Old-School SUV

Is the Volkswagen Touareg Really an Undiscovered Off-Roader?
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Let’s talk about both the cars. Despite being 2004 models, the SUVs had different unique selling propositions. The Land Rover Discovery was more of a tough SUV built for off-roading.

The 2004 Land Rover Discovery has a 4.6-liter V-8 engine that makes 217 horses and 300 pound-feet of torque.

This old-school SUV is a body-on-frame construction with solid axles at the front and rear and is mated to a four-speed automatic gearbox. It uses an in-coil springs suspension system that is comparatively easier to fix in case of breakdown. This particular example even came with a recovery winch on the bumper and oversized tires apart from a lift-kit that made it a perfect off-roader. As I mentioned, there’s no rear differential and it uses a gear level to transfer grunt to a low-range case. In terms of equipment, it came with two airbags, captain chairs with leather upholstery, flat dashboard with wood inserts, tactile buttons for dual-zone AC controls, a cassette player, and halogen bulbs for the headlights, to name a few. It also comes with a full-sized spare tire and an ARB twin compressor to inflate the tires.

The 2004 Volkswagen Touareg Came With Some Surprise Elements

Is the Volkswagen Touareg Really an Undiscovered Off-Roader?
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The Volkswagen Touareg caters to people looking for a luxurious SUV that could do mild off-roading too.

It uses a 4.2-liter V-8 engine sourced from Audi that makes 310 horses and 302 pound-feet of torque.

Power is sent to all the wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. It is equipped with two locking differentials and height-adjustable air suspension. This German SUV came with a knob to engage low-range, and central and rear differential locks, eight airbags, a four-zone air conditioner, modern gauges, better infotainment system with navigation, and headlights with self-levelling projector beams. The Volkswagen Touareg comes with a small-sized spare tire in the boot. It does not come with a compressor, but it has something cooler. Since it is equipped with an air suspension, Volkswagen has provided a hose that can be plugged in and used to inflate the tire.

2004 Land Rover Discovery 2004 Volkswagen Touareg
Engine 4.6-liter, V-8 mill 4.2-liter, V-8 mill
Power 217 horsepower 310 horses
Torque 300 pound-feet 302 pound-feet
Transmission Four-speed automatic gearbox Six-speed automatic gearbox
Length 185.2-inches 187.2-inches
Width 74.4-inches 75.9-inches
Height 76.4-inches 68.0-inches
Wheelbase 100.0-inches 112.4-inches

Final Thoughts

Is the Volkswagen Touareg Really an Undiscovered Off-Roader?
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Both these vehicles were supreme in their own ways, but what the Touareg did in this video was unexpected. It gave a cut-throat competition to the mighty Land Rover Discovery here that was equipped with more off-road equipment. Can you think of more such underdogs that are actually capable off-roaders? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Further reading

2006 Volkswagen Touareg
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Volkswagen Touareg

Read our full review on the 2006 Volkswagen Touareg.

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