10.5.2019VW Touareg review
The Touareg has been VW's flagship model for a number of years now, and this new version looks to push that premium feel forward. A new look is backed by a plethora of new equipment, with the Touareg looking to take the fight back to the premium manufacturers in the SUV stakes.
Review by Chris Lilly
This Toureg uses VW's 3.0 litre TDI V6 diesel engine, which produces 231 hp and makes a lot of sense for a car like this. It's a smooth and powerful unit, with enough about it to prevent the Toureg from struggling, even when fully-loaded. Many Touareg's are used as family workhorses - with a significant number used a tow cars too - so oomph must be there on tap for buyers to be persuaded. As such, VW provides 231 hp and a significant 500 Nm of torque. These figures see the Touareg complete the 0-62 mh time in a surprisingly sprightly 7.5 seconds with a top speed of 135 mph possible. Power goes to all four wheels via an extremely smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox, which suits the car nicely. You can't drive the Touareg in a hurry and enjoy it, but settle back and let the VW take the strain and the V6/automatic combo will perform beautifully. Well suited to carting a car full of stuff and people and cruising along at motorway pace, the Touareg is accomplished around rural routes too
Cars like the Touareg are not really meant to be drivers' cars, but the VW performs well in terms of driving dynamics despite this fact. It's sharp to turn in and more agile than you might suspect, which is good news for tackling the supermarket car park at least. Stick to the Touareg's more familiar driving environments however and it shines. The suspension is set up to try and remove all hints of road imperfections from the cabin, and does a good job of it. Air suspension is available, but the test car had standard springs and didn't feel compromised at all. Because the car is lighter and wider than before, it turns in with relative composure, though body roll is noticeable - as you would expect from a large and softly sprung SUV. It's able to be driven down country lanes with confidence however, before reaching faster roads where it simply smooths everything out and provides an extremely refined ride.
The styling is considerably sharper than the previous generation Touareg, and although the new front grille is far from subtle, the rest of the design works nicely. The changes to dimensions mean that the Touareg is even more practical inside than before, with a large boot and vast levels of leg and head room for occupants in the rear.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
This is an area where the Touareg excels, with a number of systems fitted here that are new to VW. The most prominent is a huge 15-inch touchscreen system that effectively replaces a centre console and works with a 12-inch digital driver's display. Installed in the car tested is the 'basic' system - a mere 9.2-inch set-up, but it still works well even if it's not got the visual impact of the headline unit. There are a number of buttons laid out around the screen, but to many were blanked off in this instance in my opinion, lessening the premium feel a little. The driver doesn't get a bad time of it however with a large central screen between two analogue dials, which can display navigation and a number of other bits of information. The controls feel well put together and the interior is nicely designed even in the entry-level trim tested; it looks great in higher specifications. Safe to say, comfort levels are high, with plush seats aiding with the Touareg's wafty nature.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
We've driven the most frugal Touareg which has an official rating of 34.9 MPG. That's a figure that is comfortably achievable, as the trip computer was displaying 40.2 MPG after more than 600 miles. A 250 mile motorway run aided with that figure, but the rest saw a mixture of motorway, town work, and country roads, with a particularly narrow and winding drive climbing over some Welsh mountains ensuring I didn't just set the VW to work on easy terrain.
This is the section where the Touareg scores lowest, which is only to be expected with a large SUV. However, it performs relatively well with a fuel economy figure above that is a realistic target, and CO2 emissions of 173 g/km. Helping things along are a significant weight saving over the old model thanks to increased use of lighter materials in the bodywork. There's also a drive mode selection system with Eco available, tweaking the throttle and gearbox settings for improved efficiency. VW has fitted battery regeneration under braking and auto stop/start.
SEl trim tested is the lowest of three levels, with R-Line and R-Line Tech also offered. Fitted as standard are a comprehensive suite of safety systems, two-zone climate control, 9.2-inch infotainment system with DAB, Bluetooth, USB, smartphone compatibility, and voice control, parking sensors front and rear, 19-inch alloys, LED headlights, 40:20:40 split rear seats, leather upholstery, and heated electric front seats. Fitted to the test car were rear privacy glass, upgraded leather ergoComfort seats, memory pack, and keyless entry. Higher trim levels get elements such as the headline dual-screen infotainment/instrument set-up, 20-inch alloys, keyless entry and start, sports suspension, air suspension, electric tailgate, four-zone climate control, and self-learning navigation.
The Touareg builds on what has become a highly reputable name, with a comfortable and surprisingly good to drive SUV proving a practical workhorse.
Model tested: Volkswagen Touareg 3.0 TDI SEL
Engine / CO2: 3.0 litre diesel / 173 g/km
On-road price: from £49,095. Price as tested: £53,825
Warranty: Three year / 60,000 miles
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 3.0 Stars