Finally, Volkswagen’s Touareg has ditched its run-of-the-mill wrapping and evolved into a flagship 4x4 worthy of more premium badging.
It is a quick, comfortable and refined SUV that is also laden with tech.
A 286hp V6 diesel is coupled to a super-smooth eight-speed ZF auto, while a locking centre differential and dynamic torque distribution can shuffle up to 70 per cent of drive to the front axle, or up to 80 per cent to the rear axle.
Such credentials meant it had no trouble pulling a three-axle motorhome off a beach after it got stuck, simply by using its clever 4x4 settings and manual control of the transmission. And it is equally adept at pulling trailers too.
There is a lesser powered 222hp oil burning option, but there was little to complain about with this headline power unit. Long cruises revealed 41mpg, dipping to an overall average above 32mpg.
Towing saw this dip into the mid-20s.
There is a wave of torque that makes the Touareg feel quick but, with such generous noise suppression around the cabin, you need one eye on the dashboard to ensure your licence remains safe.
It hides its size and weight extremely well. But the odd sluggish response from a delayed throttle pedal did catch us out when requiring a sharp exit from junctions. So what do you get?
Our R-Line Tech version was already a high-spec machine, but a further £15,050-worth of options had been added.
These included a professional chassis pack with air suspension, rear axle steering and electro mechanical anti-roll bars.
Cleverly, the chassis pack relaxes this 4x4 to a comfy cruiser when all you need to do is waft.
It is a hefty add-on at £4,890, but brings to life poise, agility and arrested body roll when you want to use its performance.
Air suspension without the extra remains an option but, without it, the Touareg sits on tough coil springs.
There is plenty of seat and steering wheel adjustment and the active front seats brought heating, cooling and massaging to the experience. This R-Line Tech model was also equipped with the VW’s Innovision Cockpit, which combines a 12-inch digital instrument display with a 15-inch touchscreen infotainment system.
Think of it as an extensive version of Valtra’s SmartTouch terminal. While the cabin is well-appointed, there are some lower quality plastics that really could be nicer to touch.
And the padded lid that forms the centre armrest should be height adjustable. Passengers are well catered for with countless USB charging points and an adjustable rear seat bench that moves fore and aft, depending on load space required.
Its backrest is adjustable too, from upright to laid back.
And for those reaching into the wide boot space, there is no loading lip or fold down lower door like on a Discovery, making the Touareg a much more user-friendly proposition.