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The Volkswagen Touareg is a premium SUV that gives you the same kind of features, practicality and quality as cars such as the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE for less money.
On the outside the Touareg looks less flashy than some large SUVs, giving it a more subtle appeal. Inside, it feels just as premium as its rivals and comes with similar high-tech and luxury features. It’s hugely practical, although unlike some rivals there’s no seven-seat option. The latest Touareg (which was launched in 2018) costs significantly more to buy and run than the previous model but is improved in every area.
Whichever Touareg you choose, it offers a smooth, relaxing drive and plenty of power. All versions have four-wheel drive, which provides extra reassurance in poor weather conditions and when towing.
Climb aboard the Volkswagen Touareg and you’d be forgiven for thinking you were sitting inside an Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz. There’s a similar feeling of quality and this is especially true of the latest model, which features a huge display screen that gives it a real wow factor. Pre-2018 models have a similarly premium feel but don’t look as modern or distinctive inside.
All versions come with a touchscreen infotainment system as standard, but the current Touareg can be equipped with a 15-inch screen that wouldn’t look out of place in your living room.
While some SUVs of this size have seven seats as standard or as an option, the Touareg is only available with five. It’s a supremely practical car nonetheless, with generous headroom and legroom for five tall adults. Supportive seats provide excellent long-distance comfort.
Every Touareg has a huge, well-shaped boot. The latest model has a capacity of 810 litres that’s enough to accommodate four big suitcases and a pushchair and makes it one of the largest of any big SUV. The previous version has a 580-litre boot that’s still large enough for most needs.
The Touareg is a relaxing car to drive and has a high driving position that provides an excellent view of the road ahead. Front and rear parking sensors are standard across the range, so manoeuvring in and out of a car park space is straightforward despite its size.
Everything about the Touareg makes driving it a smooth and comfortable experience, so it’s a great choice if you spend a lot of time behind the wheel. Models with optional air suspension have an even smoother ride, while the latest Touareg can even be equipped with four-wheel steering, which turns the rear wheels slightly to make it even more car-park friendly and more agile at speed.
Most Touareg buyers opt for the powerful 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine, but there’s also the option of a 3.0-litre V6 petrol that gives this big SUV the performance of a sports car. A plug-in hybrid option was added to the range in 2020. An eight-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive come as standard, adding to the Touareg’s effortless, unflappable character.
Although the Touareg costs a little more than mainstream rivals such as the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento, it costs less than other premium SUVs such as the Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE, so it represents good value for money.
Fuel economy is on a par with its rivals, with an official average mpg figure in the mid-30s for pre-2018 diesel models and up to 42.8mpg for the latest version. The petrols use more fuel, while the plug-in hybrid will give you the best mpg if you keep it charged up.
If you’re buying a post-April 2017 Touareg, look out for one which costs less than £40,000 when new and you’ll save on the additional annual £325 luxury car road tax surcharge.
There’s a real sense of quality about the Touareg, which is hardly surprising given its status as the most expensive car Volkswagen makes. Many of the mechanical and electrical parts it uses are also used in the Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne, since all three brands are part of the Volkswagen Group. Volkswagen’s reliability record as a brand is merely average but it finished higher in the J.D. Power 2019 UK Vehicle Dependability Study (an independent customer satisfaction survey) than Audi.
Post-2018 models have a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, including impressive individual scores for adult and child protection. There’s also an array of safety systems designed to keep you out of trouble, including an autonomous emergency braking function.
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All versions of the Touareg give you lots of tech and luxury features, including a touchscreen infotainment system, sat nav and heated front seats. R-Line – the most popular trim – includes lowered suspension, larger alloy wheels and sportier styling details.
It’s easy to spot the latest Touareg since it has a deeper front grille that dips below the line of the headlights and sharp creases along its sides. Although you’ll pay more for the newer version, it’s bigger, safer and even more luxurious than the previous model.