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Volkswagen Touareg — long-term review

Audi SQ8 or VW Touareg? A TG Garage battle

Specification:
Touareg R-Line Tech
Engine:
3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel, 281bhp, 442lb ft
Claimed MPG:
33.6mpg, 173g/km CO2
Performance:
0-62mph in 6.2sec, 144mph
Weight:
2331kg
Price:
£58,335 / £74,555 as tested / £613 PCM

We had Audi’s 4.0-litre SQ7 V8 in the TG Garage recently, so I I thought it might be interesting to compare it with our Touareg, given that they share a platform. A better comparison would have been with the Vorsprung edition Q7, which has all the cosmetic stuff the SQ7 does, but is powered by a much more sensible 3.0-litre V6 engine, just like our VW. The Vorsprung Q7 comes in at £80k – £6k more than our fully loaded Touareg – whereas the SQ7 we drove was specced to a staggering £100k. For me, Audi does interiors better than anyone and its material usage is superb. However, I prefer the single giant screen in the VW to the dual-screen system in the Audi – though the latter does allow you to write destinations into the nav with your finger rather than type them, and the haptic feedback is a good way to let you know when you’ve clicked on something.

Overall, the Touareg’s interior feels more spacious, better laid-out and, dare I say it, more modern. In terms of practicality, the two cars provide very similar bootspace, but the VW doesn’t offer the option of the seven seats, which come as standard in the Audi. Those with large families might find that to be a deciding factor.

These aren’t proper competitors, so I’m not going to compare driving experiences here, but I must say that the SQ7’s V8 is remarkable. It puts out 429bhp and gets to 62mph in under five seconds. Unlike any diesel engine I’ve ever come across, it makes a delightful growling noise that sounds like a petrol V8. However, it’s worth mentioning that the Touareg’s 281bhp and 0–62 time of 6.2secs should be more than enough for the sort of driving you are likely to do in a car like this. The Q7 has had things its own way for a while, but I think the Touareg is a genuine alternative… as long as you don’t need that third row of seats. Or quite such an addictive hit of torque…

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