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First drive: Volkswagen Touareg. Image by Volkswagen.

First drive: Volkswagen Touareg
Subtle mid-life revisions for the Volkswagen Touareg bring greater efficiency and increased standard equipment.

   



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Volkswagen Touareg

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

Volkswagen has sold nearly 800,000 Touaregs since it was introduced in 2002 and now it's time for this second-generation car to get some mid-life changes to retain its appeal among newer, tougher competition. Its quality and rounded ability appeal, for those buyers not overly concerned about having a premium badge on their grille.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Volkswagen Touareg V6 TDI 262 SE
Pricing: 44,500
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel
Transmission: four-wheel drive, eight-speed automatic
Body style: five-door, five-seat SUV
CO2 emissions: 174g/km (Band H, 205 per year)
Combined economy: 42.8mpg
Top speed: 139mph
0-62mph: 7.3 seconds
Power: 262hp at 3,800- to 4,400rpm
Torque: 580Nm at 1,750- to 2,500rpm

What's this?

A quietly big-selling SUV. The Volkswagen Touareg has been around since 2002 and since then it has sold nearly 800,000 examples - as much as its Porsche Cayenne cousin. While the Porsche is all show (and not insignificant go) the Touareg goes about its business with a little more restraint - if you ignore the 5.0-litre V10 TDI Volkswagen offered once upon a time. No such brawny flagship now, the Touareg coming to the UK with one 3.0-litre V6 TDI engine, in either 204- or 262hp outputs. It's the latter that will be the significantly bigger seller, says Volkswagen, as will be the R-Line model, which adds a more sporting body kit, 20-inch alloy wheels, lowered sports suspension, LED running lights and a panoramic glass roof.

Usefully there are no R-Lines available on the launch, as the Europeans evidently are taking a more prosaic stance on their model choices, so it's an SE spec car being tested here. Still, even in its less assertive guise the Touareg remains as attractive as ever, the styling changes very much in the mould of a traditional mid-life revision, so new grille, bumpers, head- and taillights and wheel and colour choices. Standard equipment gets a bump too, with bi-Xenon lights now featuring across the entire range. There's some more hope-you'll-never-need-it safety kit in the changes list, notably a post-collision braking system. Inside it's as demonstrably Volkswagen as it ever was, though some alloy knobs add a bit more upmarket feel to the controls in the neat, spacious interior.

How does it drive?

Volkswagen doesn't position the Touareg as a sporting SUV, and rightly so. If you want a 4x4 that'll do an impression of a sports car then the Cayenne achieves that ably, so the Touareg is for those who aren't so obviously in a hurry. That's reflected in the chassis, which is clearly more comfort orientated than many of its rivals. The Touareg hangs on impressively in bends, but does so with a fair bit of body roll. It's possible to fiddle with the suspension if you add Continuous Damping Control. This comes with three settings of Comfort, Normal and Sport: the first being particularly soft, Sport tightening things up, but still not turning the Touareg into a back-road hero. It's capable off-road though, particularly if you choose the Escape spec, which adds differential locks, underbody protection and a 100-litre fuel tank - as you'll potentially be further away from fuel stations in it. Few will go for that Escape model, but it's nice to know that even in standard guise the 4x4 system will get you almost anywhere.

It'll be stable for towing too, up to 3.5 tonnes with a braked trailer, so the Touareg is popular among caravanists or people needing to haul boats and the like. The V6 engine's easy performance, ample torque and the eight-speed automatic gearbox all help here, refinement levels very high, with only the mildest wind rush, even at speeds only possible on the enlightened autobahns in Germany. All as previously then, only a tiny bit better.

Verdict

More of the same here, Volkswagen's update of the Touareg doing nothing to change its enduring appeal, but polishing up emissions, equipment levels and adding a bit of shine to its looks. Its biggest failings remain the lack of a seven-seat option like the Range Rover Sport, Land Rover Discovery and BMW X5, though that has not overly hurt sales previously. Its toughest rival remains its Porsche Cayenne relation, which, with the same V6 TDI engine does everything the Touareg does and some more. Still, that more isn't likely to appeal to everyone, and for them the Touareg remains just about perfect.

4 4 4 4 4 Exterior Design

4 4 4 4 4 Interior Ambience

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Passenger Space

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Luggage Space

4 4 4 4 4 Safety

4 4 4 4 4 Comfort

3 3 3 3 3 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain


Kyle Fortune - 24 Sep 2014



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2015 Volkswagen Touareg. Image by Volkswagen.2015 Volkswagen Touareg. Image by Volkswagen.2015 Volkswagen Touareg. Image by Volkswagen.2015 Volkswagen Touareg. Image by Volkswagen.2015 Volkswagen Touareg. Image by Volkswagen.

2015 Volkswagen Touareg. Image by Volkswagen.2015 Volkswagen Touareg. Image by Volkswagen.2015 Volkswagen Touareg. Image by Volkswagen.2015 Volkswagen Touareg. Image by Volkswagen.2015 Volkswagen Touareg. Image by Volkswagen.



2015 Volkswagen Touareg. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Touareg. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Touareg. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Touareg. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Touareg. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Touareg. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Touareg. Image by Volkswagen.
 

2015 Volkswagen Touareg. Image by Volkswagen.
 






 

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