All-New Volkswagen Touareg 2018

The car's been around since 2003, but this latest incarnation is entirely new, with the same platform as Bentley's Bentayga and Audi's Q7.

The Volkswagen Touareg gets easier on the eye with each generation, but what’s the SUV like to drive? It's handsome. Of that, there is no doubt. But more than that, the giant German car outdoes its predecessor in every way.
 
The car's been around since 2003, but this latest incarnation is entirely new, with the same platform as Bentley's Bentayga and Audi's Q7. This makes the car a refined and robust proposition, even though it's not the most absorbing to drive. 

Don't get me wrong; there's still a lot of fun to be had, especially if you go for the potent 286 PS six-cylinder diesel version. I was handed the key to this model, and soon discovered how quickly it likes to flex its muscles. The SUV has masses of torque, making overtaking painless and motorway mile munching effortless. The all-new Touareg in this guise will do 0-62mph in 6.1 seconds, and it'll reach more than double the UK's speed limit. Yep, 146mph is when it runs out of puff.

There's a rather clinical feeling about the driving experience, though. You feel somewhat detached from what the wheels are doing on the road, and this is down to the slightly anaesthetised steering. Then there’s the DSG transmission – it can feel a tad undecided at times. That said, none of this rains on the parade too much, especially when you realise how agile the car is. This is due to the VW’s four-wheel steering arrangement, and lack of body lean in corners.
 
Even if you’re not bothered about the driving experience, you can’t help but be wowed by the cockpit and the infotainment system. The SUV houses a bunch of digital dials that VW has named the ‘Innovision Cockpit’. The dials sit next to a massive infotainment screen that is artfully divided behind the wheel. The dual-screen set-up not only looks awesome, but it works brilliantly – with quick responses and lots of functionality. If all that’s not enough, Volkswagen has added a heads-up display, which gives you information on everything from navigation directions to trip and speed data. 
Volkswagen Touareg Tech.jpg (315 KB)
The interior is so well-made it's as though it's been hewn out of rock – and there’s more kit than you can shake a stick at in the cabin. Then there's the room – it's vast – offering a family oodles of leg and headroom. The lack of a seven-seater model could be seen as the VW's Achilles' heel, but if you need a spacious five-up SUV with a premium badge and a load of technology, the Touareg should still be on your list.

I mentioned cabin space earlier, and VW hasn't let the side down on cargo capacity either. By eschewing the need for a third tier of chairs, the Touareg has one of the most substantial boots in the premium SUV segment. There are 40 litres more room than in Audi’s Q7 - 810 litres compared with 770 litres in the Q7’s five-seater offering – and that’s with the rear seats in place. Fold them down though and space balloons to nearly as much as you’ll find in Volvo’s XC90.
Volkswagen Touareg Tech.jpg (315 KB)
Of course, if you’re after a family-sized SUV, then it’s likely safety will be on your mind. Therefore, you’ll be pleased to read that the all-new Touareg has just been awarded the full five stars from Euro NCAP. The car’s wide-ranging safety package consists of an enhanced body structure, a seat, airbag and belt network, and state-of-the-art assist systems.

Indeed, the all-new Touareg did very well in all Euro NCAP categories. In the ‘Adult occupant safety’ classification, the SUV scored 89 per cent of the top mark. It also scored 86 per cent for ‘Child occupant safety’, 81 per cent in the ‘Safety assist’ class and 72 per cent in the ‘Vulnerable road users’ assessment.


Pros ‘n’ Cons
  • Looks √
  • Space √
  • Power √
  • Safety √
  • No seven-seat option X

Fast Facts (VW Touareg 3.0 V6 TDI 286PS R-Line - as tested)
  • Max speed: 146 mph
  • 0-62 mph: 6.1 secs
  • Combined mpg: 42.8
  • Engine layout:  2967cc 6-cylinder diesel turbo
  • Max. power (PS): 286
  • CO2: 173 g/km          
  • Price: £55,095

Written by motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay.
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