This 2004 Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI Is a Great Reminder That Cheap Does Not Mean Affordable

Just because you can afford to buy it doesn't mean you can afford to own it.

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Photo: Cars & Bids

Man, the Volkswagen Touareg V10 TDI was cool. It was understated and luxurious but also made enough torque to pull stumps out of the ground. And 99.999 percent of people who saw it would never notice it was special. It was an SUV you bought to flex how much you didn’t need to flex.

I mean, how many other cars with a V10 can fly completely under the radar? The old Audi S8 that had a V10 came close, but it was still a flagship luxury sedan. That’s going to stand out in a way the Touareg never did. Even better, thanks to the magic of depreciation, this V10 TDI just sold for less than $10,000. That’s cheap!

But as the listing makes clear, inexpensive and affordable are not the same thing. Not at all. As cool as the Touareg V10 TDI is, especially in green, the list of things wrong with it is long and likely very expensive to fix. It’s a nearly 20-year-old car, so you have to expect some scratches, chips, and dings. That’s just what happens when cars get driven. But the rest of the Known Flaws list includes some scary stuff.

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Here are some highlights:

  • Clear coat failure on the hood and roof; hood has been wet sanded
  • Wrap on hood is a slightly different color
  • Sunroof is inoperative
  • Exterior door handles are loose and buttons are inoperative
  • Power-folding mirrors are inoperative
  • Parking sensors function intermittently
  • Rust on underbody and engine bay components
  • Rear hatch spring no longer holds the hatch open.
  • The seller states that height-adjustable suspension system does not stay at the highest setting and shows an error.
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Yeah, that’s going to take some real money to fix. And while you could ignore a lot of it and still drive the car, the seller said the rear air suspension has a leak that’s eventually going to have to be fixed.

Oh, and then there’s the line, “The seller purchased this Touareg in June 2022 and has added approximately 600 miles since.” Allegedly that’s because the seller is a car enthusiast who doesn’t need a big SUV, but 100 miles a month is suspiciously low. Maybe they really did have their fun over the course of 600 miles, but that’s one risky buy if you ask me.

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And as we’ve previously written, the Touareg V10 TDI can be a maintenance nightmare. When things break, they’re very expensive to fix. And that’s if you can find someone to actually do the fixing correctly. One owner who was lucky enough to get an extended warranty racked up around $10,000 in repairs over just three years. Yikes.

So remember, as the saying goes, being able to buy a car doesn’t mean you can afford to own it.