VW Touareg Review
When on the look out for a large SUV the likes of the Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne, Volvo XC90, BMW X5 and Mercedes GL all come to mind. However if you are on a budget, or want something a little different, then VW’s Touareg stands front and centre as a serious choice.
The Touareg, the big brother of the Tiguan, shares a lot with its cousins the Q7, Cayenne, and even mega expensive Bentayga, by way of chassis and technology. What this means is that the Touareg is a very smart choice with all that VAG R&D, but without the price tag.
Looks wise, the Touareg is perhaps a little dated by comparison to the boxier flat fronted cousins and competitors. However, in doing so it is retaining its strong VW identity shared across all models. This is by no means a bad thing, it is clearly a VW and VW fans look for this. The deep but soft front end is not intimidating to look at, but in its R-Line trim level (tested) the gloss black trim, more assertive styling and bi-colour alloy wheels give it a bit of an edge.
On the inside it is again typically VW, with a functional and efficient look and feel. The shiny finish you find in its contemporaries are more satin/matt. This does not mean it is not well specced though. Everything is there technology wise, apart from the conspicuous absence of electric seats. Sporting Auto Lights & Wipers, Leather Upholstery, Heated Front Seats, Bluetooth Hands Free, DAB Radio/MDI, Satellite Navigation, 2-Zone Climate Control, Cruise Control, Front & Rear Parking Sensors, and 19³ Alloy Wheels, the base SE model has everything. The R-Line on test is enhanced with larger 20³ Alloy Wheels, Lowered Suspension, more assertive body styling, Tinted Rear Glass, Keyless Entry & Go, Multi-Function Steering Wheel with Gear Paddles, Electric Opening Tailgate and Panoramic Glass Roof which are welcome additions. For those wanting even more spec as standard, the R-Line Plus adds the missing electric front seats, and Area View (cameras giving the driver a 360 degree view around the car for manoeuvring.
In spite of the high specification and R-Line enhancements, the Touareg it does not feel luxurious. At the end of the day it is a VW and the seats are not the sort you sink into rather sit on, being firm and a little too unforgiving, with the rear seats looking and feeling akin to a London Bus Seat. The car overall on the inside has a high quality and hardwearing, almost utilitarian feel, which whilst aiding in VW’s well renowned high residual values does leaving you feel a little underwhelmed and the fit and finish is not 100%.
To drive, the Touareg R Line is taught and powerful. The 3.0l 262hp engine on test is powerful giving good acceleration, however married to the 8-speed auto-box it felt like it had one or two too many gears with almost constant gear changing interrupting the flow.
Having said this, it will take you from 0-62 in a mere 7.3s and on to 140mph. The lesser 204hp de-tuned variant of the same engine is still sufficiently powerful for most situations although the reduction in torque from 428 ft.lbs to 332 ft.lbs will be felt when towing or when faced with a steep hill. The ride is firm, not helped by the aforementioned hard seats, but very stable at the same time. After an hours drive you do not feel as relaxed as you would in its contemporaries, its just like stepping out of a VW Golf, just a very big one.
As an overall proposition, the VW Touareg is a very capable large SUV offering most of the mod-cons people have come to expect as standard, however it just lacks that finish meaning it is not a premium SUV. With a price-tag of nearly £49,000 it is a little cheaper than than its cousin the Q7 on a spec for spec basis, however with the entry level Q7 coming in at around £48k I think many would go with that instead as a cash purchase.
As a proposition for the company car driver, if you are able to get over the relatively high BIK rate at 34%, it is incredibly cheap to lease with deals on the market coming in under £400+VAT/Month on a standard 3 year, 10,ooompa contract hire.
Facts & Figures (Touareg 3.0 V6 TDi  R Line on test):
Engine: 3.0l V6 Diesel
Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic
Top Speed: 140mph
Fuel Economy (Combined): 42.2mpg
CO2 Emissions: 177g/km
If you would like to find out more about leasing the VW Touareg or any other vehicle through JCS Fleet, please contact us using the online enquiry form below or call us on 01223 911 761.