Our senior road-test editor had an unusual experience with this long-termer. On the way home from the office one night, the Touareg began spraying a reddish, greasy fluid onto its windshield. It appeared to be transmission fluid, so he pulled over and called VW roadside assistance. Fast forward to a repair bill for $1372.41 to replace the transmission cooler. Yikes! All we can figure is some hard object must have hit the cooler, causing it to fracture.

We wonder how susceptible to damage that component may be, however, and whether it would be a problem during moderate off-roading. While the 'Egg was in for the repair, it got the 10,000-mile service, including the first tire rotation and checking on a rear-center seatbelt latched in the closed position and pulling tightly on the leather seat material. The tire rotation was cheap (at $23), but the additional $43.80 to recalibrate the tire-pressure-monitoring system caught us off guard. The rear-center seatbelt was replaced under warranty, and the seat material proved fine once the tension was released. We later discovered that our Touareg received an infusion of plain old petroleum oil this time around. Last time, the dealer filled it with synthetic. Go figure.