Volkswagen Touareg

The Essentials

  • Price from £40,495
  • What Car? says: 3 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 40.4mpg
  • What is it? A big, luxurious SUV that's capable off-road, but at it's best on the road

Great

  • Cheaper than most German rivals
  • Plenty of kit unless you pick the cheapest versions
  • 3.0-litre engine is the one that you want

Gripes

  • Lack of seven-seat option could be a problem
  • Want the best possible spec? It'll cost ya...
  • ...and it isn't good news when it comes to residuals
  • Drive

    Powerful engine range, and a sharp drive

  • Inside

    Get ready to get comfortable

  • Safety

    Scores well on both counts

  • Reliability

    German engineering shouldn't let you down

  • Space

    Doing the airport run? No problem, but there's no seven-seat option

  • Standard and extras

    Plenty of spec levels to choose from

  • What's it like to drive?

    The flagship Touareg has a stonking 4.2-litre V8 diesel engine, but the 242bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel makes a lot more sense. It provides all the performance you'll ever need, and is much cheaper to buy and run than the range-topper.

    Stick with standard SE suspension, which gives a great balance between comfort and control. The Touareg's ride is reasonably cushy, yet the body doesn't lollop about in bends like you might expect. Some tyre rumble can be heard over coarse road surfaces, but wind noise is always well contained and the engines are very hushed at a steady cruise.

  • What's it like inside?

    You're king of all you survey at the wheel of the Touareg, thanks to the high driving position, throne-like seats and superb visibility. There's a wide range of seat and steering wheel adjustment to help make yourself comfortable, while the touch-screen navigation system is a doddle to use.

    The Touareg lags behind some rivals by not offering a seven-seat option, although there is plenty of space inside for five. The rear seats slide back and forth, allowing you to change the balance between cabin and luggage space. The boot is well shaped, too.

    Entry-level SE cars come with leather seats, climate control, automatic lights and wipers, satellite-navigation, cruise control and parking sensors. The rugged Escape model adds locking centre- and rear differentials as well as extra underbody protection for extra off-road capabilities.

  • How reliable is it?

    The Touareg didn't feature in the most recent JD Power ownership satisfaction survey - too few were sold - however most of the car's mechanics have been tried and tested in other VW Group models.

    Every Touareg has stability control and seven airbags to keep you safe, along with active front head restraints to help minimise whiplash in a rear-end shunt. The Touareg hasn't been tested under the latest Euro NCAP crash-testing programme, but achieved four stars for both adult and child safety under the old-style system.

  • Should I buy one?

    The Touareg is cheaper than most other large 4x4s - especially after you've factored in the healthy discounts that are available. However, it's unlikely to hold its value as well as premium-badged rivals. Running costs for the diesels are competitive; fuel economy and emissions are exactly a match for the Porsche Cayenne 3.0 V6 diesel.