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Andy Harris
Motoring and Property Editor
5:25 PM 13th July 2020

Touareg Tales – VW’s Super SUV On Test

The third generation of Volkswagen’s Touareg has been on sale for a couple of years and it sits at the top of company’s range of SUVs. It is a comprehensive collection too comprising T-Cross, T-Roc, Tiguan and Tiguan Allspace. Plenty to choose from…

What is it?

In order to broaden the Touareg’s appeal, Volkswagen as added some new models to its line-up, including a new entry-level SE model, the subject of this test.
Striking and imposing looks are the order of the day, but under all that chrome and metal sits a platform shared with, amongst others, the Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus. If it is good enough for them. The ‘Antimonial Silver’ paint is an £885 option – other more striking colours are available…

Power comes from a 231PS V6 diesel engine which is mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and 4MOTION all-wheel drive

Equipment count is high and the list exhaustive. Highlights include a 9.2-inch touch-screen infotainment system with gesture control, adaptive cruise control and smart 19-inch alloy wheels. Missing, and missed by this driver, were electric leather seats. The cloth upholstery felt a little low rent and the lack of comprehensive adjustment meant I was never completely comfortable behind the wheel.

Vital statistics

Volkswagen Touareg SE TDI 4MOTION
Price £46,505 (OTR), £50,120 as tested
231PS V6 diesel engine
8-speed Tiptronic automatic gearbox
4MOTION permanent all-wheel drive
0-62mph in 7.5 seconds
Top speed 135mph
Combined economy 34.6mpg
Emissions 214g/km CO2 (WLTP)
BIK tax 37%

How does it drive?

Despite the Touareg’s considerable 2,070kg kerb weight, the powerful motor ensures that there is power aplenty for all situations, the key here being the 500Nm of torque. Overtaking manoeuvres are thus drama free.

Aiding progress is a super smooth Tiptronic gearbox with steering wheel paddles for ultimate control. There is also a dedicated sport mode for when you are in a hurry and as it aids progress away from rest, it was my default mode.

Away from terra firma, the Touareg can maintain progress thanks to its 4MOTION system. A centre differential lock with torque distribution allows a maximum of 70% of the drive force to reach the front axle and up to 80% can be sent to the rear axle. It is enough to keep the big SUV moving in all situations and provides added security in day to day driving.

The Touareg is a big car, something that prevents it being hustled down a country lane, but overall, the handling is safe and secure. Low speed ride is a little on the brittle side even with modest 19-inch wheels. Air suspension is available on top models and from experience it does improve matters. Increase the speed and the ride feels more composed.

Motorway cruising is a relaxed affair with wind and road noise well muted and with just 1,500rpm showing on the tachometer, the engine is completely inaudible.
After around 500 miles behind the wheel, the trip computer indicated 36.1mpg, a good result in my opinion.

Should I buy one?

If you are looking for an imposing SUV with room for five adult and their chattels to travel in comfort, then yes.
Almost all Touaregs are likely to be either a company purchase or bought privately on a finance plan.

Volkswagen’s Personal Contract Scheme offers the following on an SEL model:

VW deposit contribution £8,000
Customer deposit £5,070.52
Cash Price £50,705
44 x £548.21 monthly payments
Optional £17,538.30 to keep
10,000 miles per annum
APR 3.6%

Rivals

The list is endless. The Germans field the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and the Mercedes-Benz GLC, whilst the Jaguar F-PACE and Range Rover Velar should not be overlooked.

Those in need of seven seats may look at the Land Rover Discovery.

And let us not forget Volvo with the XC60 and 90 models, both strong contenders.

Verdict

The Touareg sets a new standard for Volkswagen and allows it to compete at the very highest level. Ample space for five, high quality materials and a decent driving experience will no doubt endear it to buyers looking for a prestige family SUV.

However, I would suggest spending a little more cash on a SEL model. It comes with leather seats more befitting this class of car.