Video: I Take 5,000 Pounds of Volkswagen Touareg Into the Softest Sand I’ve Ever Seen! Will It Get Stuck?

This SUV has been a pretty solid tank of an off-roader so far

Tommy takes his 2004 VW Touareg into the dunes of Moab, Utah and gets and goes wild. Well, a little bit.

Out of all of the unusual, under-appreciated 4x4s we’ve collected, many of us feel that the 2004 Volkswagen Touareg is one of the best. It’s also one of the most misunderstood. Over the past few years, our Touareg has proven to be an absolute tank in the rough, a comfortable ride on the road – and totally reliable. This is a good thing, because Tommy was planning an off-road trip that requires about 700 miles of driving mixed, with a charge up the Moab dunes at the end.

Tommy and a few of his friends wanted to blow off some steam, and they took their vehicles to Utah to commence in some dune havoc. Many visitors to Moab are not fully aware of ORV dunes. Usually, boulders, slick rock and dirt trails get the top billing. Still, Moab has some fantastic dune areas that you are able to play in. As Tommy says, though this is some of the softest sand he’s seen. Take precautions before you go.

Tommy’s VW Touareg was a technological bargain

Sharing its Volkswagen Group PL71 platform with Porsche and Audi, the trick with the first generation Touareg was its combination of good power, outstanding suspensions and lockers. Tommy’s VW is equipped with a 4.2-liter V8 that makes 310 horsepower and 302 lbs-feet of torque. Power is fed through a six-speed automatic to a proper low-range transfer case. Tommy’s model has an electronic rear locker, and a center locking differential.

This VW Touareg has the optional air suspension that can give you amazing ground clearance (up to 11.8 inches). We did not need to lift it, or mess with the powertrain at all. In fact, the only modification made was the addition of chunky BFG K02s.

All of that tech and capability, he managed to get for under $5,000.

One thing we’re dreading is getting a major service on the big VW. That’s the one thing that scares many potential buyers away. The service fees can be astronomical for a Touareg – especially the diesel. Most people who vilify the VW tend to talk about service as a red flag. Fortunately, Tommy’s has been rock solid. Check out how it performs in the video below!

Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism - Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. Brought up in the California car culture and educated in theater, childhood education, film, journalism and history, Nathan now lives with his family in Denver, CO. His words, good humor and video are enjoyed worldwide.