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The Top Gear car review:Volkswagen Touareg
For:Quality and size of interior, no need for bigger engines
Against:Same-price rivals wear more premium badges
3.0 V6 TDI BlueMotion Tech 262 SE 5dr Tip Auto
Volkswagen’s big SUV gets a fresh face, more power and a new cabin. Ollie Kew climbs aboard
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An impressive hybrid system with vaguely green intentions. Big and fast, with a small slice of guilt removed
Explaining to your whale-kissing neighbours exactly why you just bought a Touareg is tricky. After all, the new three-litre V6 diesel does 25.9...
What we say:
Often forgotten in favour of more exotic fare, the Touareg’s a hidden SUV hero
What is it?
Volkswagen’s answer to the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz M-Class and the Porsche Cayenne. That’s a heavyweight battle if ever there was one. The current Touareg is the second-generation of the car and it is significantly better than the old model. Cabin ambience and quality have leapt forward, while an extreme weight-loss diet means the big SUV is more efficient than ever. A range of diesel engines are complemented by a hybrid version, though that’s a bit rubbish.
Of the two diesel V6s available, the higher powered, 262bhp one is the choice of the lot, returning decent fuel economy while pushing the Touareg along with gusto. It’s refined too. The same can be said for the slick eight-speed automatic gearbox. Thank god it’s automatic. Imagine trying to remember what gear you’re in if you had an eight-speed manual?
The Touareg majors on driver and passenger comfort, making it easy to while away miles of motorway at the wheel, and it doesn’t fare too badly when the road turns twisty. There’s precious little feel or feedback through the steering, but it clings on gamely and the wide track ensures there’s loads of grip and it’s very stable.
On the inside
It’s massive. You’ll fit your family of five in and then go back into the house because you think you’ve forgotten someone. The boot is enormous and some of the cubbies in the cabin are almost as large. Just as noticeable is the quality. Leather is standard and it’s particularly nice, while every switch and control has a deliciously damped action. Standard equipment is pretty generous and the infotainment touchscreen is a joy to use. The on-board computer set between the dials is a bit of a marvel as well.
Touaregs all manage nigh on 40mpg. That’s impressive given the size of this car and is partly due to the gearing of the eight-speed auto and the standard stop-start. It’s a quick-working system, too. The lower-power 3.0 V6 ducks into band I for VED, which is good in this class, while the Touareg is in a lower insurance group than many of its premium adversaries helping keep your costs to a minimum.
The fastest3.0 V6 TDI BlueMotion Tech 262 R Line 5dr Tip Auto
The cheapest3.0 V6 TDI BlueMtn Tech 262 Response 5dr Tip Auto
The greenest3.0 V6 TDI BlueMotion Tec R Line Plus 5dr Tip Auto