With its ability to take on the toughest of terrains, the Touareg also boasts all the creature comforts usually associated with a luxury saloon. Packed with classy features and world class technology this is one of the best looking vehicles on the road.
The goodGreat looks, all-round capabilities and packed with technology
The badPlenty of quality competition out there these days
VW Touareg R-Line 3.0-litre V6 TDI 4MOTION
Volkswagen’s all-new third generation Touareg model has evolved into an outstanding full-sized SUV that’s perfectly capable of taking on the big guns from the premium marques and driving away totally unscathed.
The car was originally launched back in 2003, but like a fine wine, the chunky Touareg has matured and improved with age. The latest five-seat model oozes quality throughout – it’s longer, wider and lower than its predecessor so really looks the part too with dynamic styling.
The sportier R-Line version is imposing without being too brutish and boasts a muscular, high-sided design with lots of R-line body styling kit such as unique front and rear bumpers, side skirts and side sills, plus ‘R-Line’ badging. It has daytime running lights, LED rear tail lights, full LED headlights, ‘C’ signature gloss black air intakes, gloss black B pillars, lots of chrome trim, heat insulating tinted windows, twin tail pipes, roof rails, body coloured wheel arch protection and 20-inch alloy wheels. Optional extras on our test car added Matrix headlights, a panoramic sunroof and plenty more besides.
Move inside and the interior is equally impressive with a generous display of on-board technology to explore in VW’s new Innovision Cockpit. This introduces a 12-inch instrument panel that flows effortlessly into a 15-inch touchscreen behind a glass screen that is angled towards the driver. These screens can be personalised according to preference and show the likes of maps, photos, phone contacts, favourite apps, night vision images and lots, lots more. It’s one of the classiest interiors around today with sumptuous Vienna leather seats with 14-way adjustment and the finest materials throughout.
As one might expect, all this luxury comes at a price and our car started life costing £52,635 – this rose to £66,595 with all the options added. The Touareg is powered by a 3.0-litre 231PS V6 diesel engine mated to an eight-speed auto tiptronic gearbox with paddles and it could blast its way to 62mph from a standing start in just 7.5 seconds, topping out at 137mph which is pretty impressive for a vehicle weighing in at just over two tonnes. According to official figures, it can deliver a combined 34.7mpg (WLTP) with carbon emissions of 173g/km.
Despite the larger-than-life dimensions of the Touareg, it is actually quite agile, although you will need an ultra-large parking bay to park the 4.8-metres-long vehicle. It’s worth noting though that the Touareg has almost the same turning lock as a VW Golf which, along with the park assist system, makes manoeuvring into tight parking spaces a complete doddle.
Out on the open road, the acceleration through the automatic gearbox is beautifully smooth and responsive with a constant stream of power on tap at all times which helps to make light work of overtaking slower vehicles. The dynamic design of the latest model also means it is more balanced through corners with excellent road-holding.
There are different drive modes to choose from called Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport, Individual, Off-road and Snow that alter the way the car reacts and there is the added reassurance that the 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system will keep you safe and sound during more adverse weather and driving conditions.
Comfort levels within the Touareg are exceptionally high and back seat passengers will never complain about space even when the front seats are pushed right back. Storage options also impress with a boot capacity of 810 litres – a limit that increases to 1,800 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. In addition, there are numerous practical storage options scattered throughout the car, including a decent-sized lockable glovebox, front and rear cup holders, a cubby beneath the central armrest, deep door pockets and a handy tray in front of the chunky gear lever.
Safety specifications on the latest vehicle are comprehensive with a long list of driver assist systems to help prevent accidents happening in the first place. These, along with the vast number of safety functions, helped the Touareg achieve the maximum five stars when it was tested for its Euro NCAP rating.
Safety kit includes adaptive cruise control, including front assist, radar sensor controlled distance monitoring system, city emergency braking, lane assist, hill descent assist, traffic sign recognition, plus a Driver’s Assistance Pack Plus (£990 option) that introduces emergency assist, front cross traffic assist, predictive pedestrian protection, proactive occupant protection, side scan and traffic jam assist.
There is also a thermal imaging system offering night vision. It uses infrared beams to scan the road searching for thermal radiation and projects an image onto the screen so the driver is warned of any dangers ahead.
All in all, the new Touareg is quite the complete package. It looks fabulous, drives beautifully, is packed with technology. It is a most practical option and most definitely ups the ante in the full-sized SUV sector.
VW Touareg (2018) – first drive
It’s hard to believe it was way back in 2003 that the VW Touareg first graced the scene and now the all-new third generation has been launched and it’s bigger and better in every way.
It features a much more dynamic appearance and is packed to bursting with the latest on-board technology all delivered in a beautiful interface that is easily customised to taste.
The Touareg, which is VW’s flagship SUV, is priced from £48,995 to £55,595 and available in three trim levels called SEL, R-Line and R-Line Tech. At launch, all models are powered by a punchy 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine with either 231PS or 286PS. These powertrains are paired to an eight-speed gearbox. A petrol engine will be introduced a little later on and a hybrid model will be tested out in China.
From a design viewpoint, new Touareg has come a long way from the original model launched 15 years ago. The latest car is 77mm longer, 44mm wider and 7mm lower than its predecessor giving it a more dynamic and imposing presence on the road. Other design cues include chunky alloys, a distinctive grille housing the VW badge that sweeps into the headlight clusters, ultra-bright LED Matrix lights that work in tandem with a camera to detect what’s happening ahead and also a night vision system that uses infrared beams to scan the road searching for thermal radiation and projecting an image onto the screen.
However, the real headline-grabbing upgrades are to be found within the car with VW’s new Innovision Cockpit. This features a 12-inch instrument panel that flows effortlessly into a 15-inch touchscreen behind a glass screen that is angled towards the driver. These screens can be personalised according to taste and can show the likes of maps, favourite apps, photos, phone contacts, night vision images and plenty more besides. This smart-looking and easy-to-operate system replaces almost all the controls, buttons and switches on the outgoing Touareg and gives the car a fresh, clutter-free and ultra-modern appearance.
The Touareghas a luxurious feel to it with fine leather upholstery, massaging seats, upmarket trim, a premium sound system and full smartphone connectivity via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto which works effortlessly alongside the Innovation Cockpit.
And the vehicle scores highly on the practicality front too with ample space for five adults to sit comfortably. The boot capacity has increased slightly thanks to the newly increased dimensions, so with the rear seats in an upright position the capacity is a generous 810 litres. Drop the 40:20:40 split-folding rear seats and the boot can swallow a whopping 1,800 litres. It’s worth mentioning that customers looking for seven-seat versatility will need to look elsewhere as the Touareg is strictly a five-seat model with no plans to get a third row of seats.
We tested the 3.0-litre V6 TDI 286PS car in R-Line Tech spec priced at £58,195. A number of optional extras such as a head-up display, Drivers Assistance Pack, air suspension, the IQ LED Matrix lighting system, ambient lighting with 30 colours, 21-inch alloys and a panoramic sunroof bumped up the final price-tag to £72,975.
Despite its larger-than-life dimensions, the Touareg is a powerhouse of a vehicle and can sprint to 62mph from a standing start in just 6.2 seconds, topping out at 146mph. According to official figures, it can deliver combined fuel economy of 42.8mpg with carbon emissions of 173g/km.
I have to say for such a large car (it measures more than 4.8 metres in length) the Touareg handles incredibly well. There is all the gutsy brute force necessary from the V6 engine when quick bursts of acceleration are required and the road-holding is ultra-grippy and assured. The vehicle features all-wheel steering which makes light work of cornering on country lanes and this also increases the driving stability so you can drive more dynamically with increased agility.
And talking of agility, the Touareg has almost the same turning lock as a Golf which, with the aid of the park assist system, makes manoeuvring into tight parking spaces a complete doddle.
It’s a fact that high-sided SUVs often suffer with body roll when pushed into long sweeping bends, but the Touareg boasts a highly-effective air suspension system which keeps the car in check at all times.
On fast-moving motorways and dual carriageways, reaching and maintaining the national speed limit is effortless and very smoothly achieved. Another plus factor is the refinement of the car – the cabin remains beautifully hushed with barely a sound from the road or engine filtering through.
Drive modes called Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport, Individual, Off-Road and Snow alter the way the car handles and the steering wheel mounted paddles are great fun when you fancy taking a little more control.
Safety features on the new Touareg are also comprehensive. The car has just been awarded the maximum five stars when it was tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating. Features include adaptive cruise control, intersection assist to help navigate blind exits, park assist and traffic jam assist. There is also an emergency assist system that detects if the driver is no longer controlling the car. It alerts the driver and if they ignore the warning, it activates the hazard lights and begins to brake the vehicle whilst monitoring following traffic to avoid a shunt.
The Touareg line-up also features 4MOTION four-wheel drive. So, with a wading limit of 500mm or 580mm if fitted with air suspension, the Touareg is definitely a go-anywhere model that will keep you on the road in more testing driving conditions.
All in all, the latest VW Touareg is a fabulous upmarket and competent full-sized SUV. It looks awesome, drives beautifully, it’s practical, packed with all the latest techno treats and it’s a safe and sound vehicle too. Little wonder then that it has clocked up more than a million sales globally.
VW Touareg Escape 3.0 V6 TDI 4MOTION 262PS Tiptronic
Volkswagen’s Touareg has built its reputation on quality, performance and versatility, but the latest model features additional design tweaks, improved efficiency and a whole host of new innovative on-board technology.
Powered by a 3.0 V6 262PS diesel engine, the second generation Touareg has undergone a facelift and really looks the business with its muscular stance, distinctive large grille, privacy glass, black roof rails, 18-inch alloys, body-coloured front and rear bumpers, sweeping light clusters and twin tailpipes.
The interior has also been spruced up and boasts an eight-inch colour touchscreen with 60GB hard drive, sat nav, DVD player, DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity, leather seats, dual-zone climate control and a whole lot more.
The test car also featured a number of optional extras such as a ‘Dynaudio’ sound pack costing £1,165 which introduces a 10-channel digital amplifier, 600 watt output and 12 speakers. There was also an electrically-heated, leather trimmed multi-function steering wheel with paddle shifts (£325), front rear and side cameras (£925), a swivelling tow bar that locks way underneath the bumper when not in use (£765), an advanced air suspension system (£2,180) and a range of additional safety features in a Driver’s Assistance Pack priced at £2,395.
These options along with the metallic paintwork did bump up the asking price from £45,420 to £53,925, which although high, is still reasonably competitive in the sector.
But the Touareg, complete with its 4XMOTION permanent four-wheel-drive, is not just about looks and creature comforts.
It’s a full-sized SUV that knows how to perform when put to the test and stats such as the 0-62mph sprint time of 7.6 seconds and top speed of 137mph are testament to the vehicle’s impressive capabilities.
Despite its size, the Touareg is relatively agile and the manoeuvrability also impresses – those cameras and parking sensors are an added bonus when parking. But be warned – you will need an extra-large bay to leave the car in.
In busy town centres, the high seated driver’s position is invaluable with cars and pedestrians darting out from all angles and then out on the faster country lanes and motorways the vehicle really comes into its own.
The acceleration is beautifully smooth and constant as it moves effortlessly through the eight-speed automatic transmission with plenty of power on tap for overtaking.
And even when pushed hard, the cabin remains perfectly hushed thanks to the car’s highly efficient insulation which stifles any road, engine or wind noise.
The road-holding is sure-footed and the precise and light steering is another positive factor especially when driving down long, winding lanes. Once again the added height for the driver is worth noting when looking ahead and across the hedgerows for emerging tractors etc.
All occupants are treated to high levels of comfort and there is plenty of room in the back for two or three adults.
Storage options are decent too with a boot capacity of 580 litres, which can be increased to 1,642 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped down.
In addition, there is a good-sized glovebox with the CD/DVD stashed away inside, a deep central bin, cup holders, large door pockets, a covered tray on top of the dashboard, plus a fold-down arm in the middle of the rear seats that houses another storage tray and further cup holders.
Another attribute of note is economy as according to official figures, the Touareg can deliver a creditable 40.9mpg on a combined run with carbon emissions of 180g/km which, for a vehicle of its size, is impressive.
And of course, VW has packed a whole host of safety systems into the car making it an ideal family vehicle that would not look out of place on any trendy school run, but is equally happy and accomplished when clocking up thousands of business motorway miles – quite an all-rounder then!
VW Touareg SE 3.0 V6 TDI 240PS
It was VW’s first venture into the luxury off-road market when the Touareg was launched back in 2003, but since then it has attracted a loyal following worldwide.
And after a week behind the wheel, it’s easy to see why the Touareg has been such a success story for VW as it boasts excellent handling, luxurious comfort, wizardry galore and a competitive asking price too.
It’s these accolades that have buyers returning time and time again without hesitation to their VW showroom when it’s time to renew their vehicle.
First impressions are vital and the Touareg doesn’t disappoint with rugged, ready-for-action good looks complimented by 19-inch alloys, roof rails, chrome trim, smart light clusters with daytime running lights.
And the interior is just as impressive with an abundance of creature comforts to make every journey that little bit special. For example, there is a highly efficient dual-zone climate control, cruise control, dusk sensor, rain sensor, automatic dimming rearview mirror and stop/start technology.
Then there are the heated front sports-style seats with 12-way automatic adjustment, a multi-function computer with seven-inch colour screen, sat nav and an audio system that is compatible with every modern device imaginable.
The cabin is exceptionally comfortable and there is ample space for five adults to travel in style with plenty of leg, head and elbow room in the back.
The generously-sized boot means storage options are plentiful and there is an abundance of conveniently-located smaller storage compartments scattered throughout.
So, the Touareg certainly looks the business and it has every luxurious touch you could wish for, but how about the drive itself?
Once again the vehicle is a winner. The handling is excellent even in very wet and gusty conditions and the cabin noise is surprisingly quiet. In and around town, the Touareg proved deceptively agile and the all-round visibility was excellent thanks to the high-seated driving position. Front and rear parking sensors make squeezing into tight spots all the easier too.
Then, out on the faster roads, the 3.0-litre, diesel-powered engine delivered ample power and acceleration.
The automatic transmission was smooth and responsive as it moved effortlessly though the eight gears.
The test model was priced at £40,215, although it was fitted with a number of optional extras which raised the asking price by a further £8,625 which means the Touareg is not exactly cheap, but it’s still very competitively priced for its class.
And as one would expect, VW has fitted a very comprehensive list of safety specifications, including a Driver’s Assistance Pack which features a radar sensor controlled distance monitoring system, lane assist, blind spot warning system, hill descent assist and don’t forget the all-wheel drive to tackle any winter conditions that may come your way.
All in all, the VW Touareg is a brilliant all-rounder that seems to gather strength with every update and with a choice of engine types and trims to choose from, there are plenty of variations to suit all requirements.
Volkswagen Touareg 3.0 V6 TDi SE
FOR a first venture into the world of 4x4s, the VW Touareg certainly announced its arrival in style.
Comfort along with gadgets galore and top notch spec were always going to be in abundance because it’s a VW, but now the second generation turbodiesel Touareg is offering a whole lot more.
But for just a minute, forget the luxury and let’s concentrate on the performance – and it’s here that this stunning vehicle delivers on all counts.
The high-seated driving position means all-round visibility is good, although somewhat obscured at times by the massive wing mirrors.
And the deceptively agile vehicle was easily manoeuvred through narrow streets and tight turns in town. Then, out on the more open road, the Touareg, with its permanent four-wheel drive, really excels. The 3.0-litre engine delivers plenty of oomph and the transition through the gears is very smooth.
There is an abundance of room inside the light and spacious cabin, which can comfortably house five adults with ease. The large luggage space and handy storage compartments throughout simply add to the ease of journey.
Luxurious features include a multi-functional steering wheel with controls for cruise control, the on-board computer and sound system options.
And there is a list of optional extras as long as your arm to further enhance comfort levels, including an automatic dimming rearview mirror, self-levelling headlights and an audible and visual parking sensor.
The safety specification is most impressive too with advanced anti-lock brakes, hydraulic brake assist, electronic stabilisation programme, numerous airbags and even a crash sensor which results in the doors automatically unlocking in the event of an accident.
The Touareg has already scooped many accolades and as far as I am concerned, there will be more honours just around the corner.