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On-test: Touareg does the job

Insights

Those concerned about VW’s track record with emissions needn’t worry about this latest Touareg 4x4. It gets a gutsy V6 TDi and uses SCR to help clean up its act.

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Exhaust after-treatment means the 262hp 4x4 feels lively, and is ably assisted by a super-slick ZF eight-speed auto ‘box. Progress is brisk, shifts are difficult to detect and in-car noise levels are pleasantly muted.

 

Despite the promise of 42.8mpg on the combined cycle, we struggled to coax this R-Line edition much beyond 32.5mpg over a week-long appraisal.

 

Clever tech includes a coasting function, which does help to boost green credentials. But this feature does suffer from an annoying, and almost dangerous delay, when you summon more power.

 

Interior is unmistakably VW. Feels like a big Passat though.

A dab of brakes for example, when using cruise control puts the vehicle into coasting mode. When you want to pick up the throttle, our test model often took a full two seconds to reconnect drive, pick up revs and deliver a shove of power as it reacted tardily to my right foot’s request.

 

Not good for those who cannot plan ahead. And even less rewarding for those in a hurry. And stop-start tech is equally as lethargic, though you can turn it off.

 

All of which begs the question about where this latest version sits in 4x4 hierarchy. Well, it is certainly much cheaper to buy than many of its rivals, and it comes loaded with lots of kit.

 

Deep load space and 40:20:40 rear seat folding suggests practicality is not lost on this latest model.

For long journeys, the Touareg is a comfortable and refined cruiser with a commanding driving position. It feels planted to the road too, despite the 20in wheels on this R-Line model, which sometimes give a less complaint ride on rougher road surfaces.

 

There is an Escape version offering smaller wheels, plus sharper approach and departure angles, for those favouring more frequent off-road adventures.

 

Interior finish is typically solid VW architecture. Controls are easy to use and VW’s touchscreen system is one of the most intuitive around for audio, navigation and phone.

 

However, it feels very much like a super-sized Passat. While it remains a perfectly fine vehicle, it neither excites nor disappoints. We think this new Touareg has its work cut out against BMW’s X5 and Volvo’s radical new XC90.

 

Need to know

  • Model: VW Touareg R-Line V6 TDi
  • Price: £48,405 (£50,320 as tested)
  • Engine: 3.0-litre, V6 turbo diesel, 262hp @ 3,800-4,400rpm, 580Nm @ 1,750-2,500rpm
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, 4Motion permanent four-wheel drive
  • Performance: 140mph, 42.8mpg combined, 174g/km
  • Towing capacity: 3,500kgs
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