In-depth reviews

Volkswagen Touareg review

The VW Touareg is a quick, comfortable and refined luxury SUV that comes loaded with clever technology

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£43,965 to £60,875
  • Interior quality
  • Tech-filled cabin
  • Refinement
  • No seven-seater
  • Lifeless steering
  • Only V6 diesels

One of the less common premium SUVs for sale is the Volkswagen Touareg. It's been available since 2003, and the latest third generation Touareg hit dealers in 2018. This time around, VW has moved the car even further into premium territory in an effort to appeal to buyers.

But that means the Touareg has to take on some pretty formidable machinery in the process. There are luxury models such as the Range Rover Sport and Land Rover Discovery, the latest BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE, not to mention the formidable Volvo XC90. But arguably the Touareg's toughest rivals are from within the VW Group, in the shape of the Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne.

Best SUVs and 4x4s on sale

Both of these cars share mechanical components with the Touareg, although all three have different characters. The VW is the luxury car of the trio, while the Porsche is a sporty alternative and the Audi sits somewhere between the two, but with the added attraction of seven seats.

Under the skin, the Touareg uses the VW Group's MLBevo platform, which is also shared with the Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus and a variety of other non-SUV Audi models. In the instance of the Touareg, power currently comes from VW's 3.0 TDI V6 diesel in two power outputs, 228bhp or 282bhp and the flagship 335bhp V6 petrol. All are linked to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and feature 4MOTION four-wheel drive. While diesel and petrol power is available at the moment, hybrid versions of the Touareg are due to appear through 2020 and 2021.

There are six versions of the Touareg on offer: SE, SEL, SEL Tech, R-Line, R-Line Tech and top-of-the-range Black Edition. All trims offer generous levels of equipment, with the entry-level SE receiving 19-inch alloys, a touchscreen infotainment system with gesture control, front and rear parking sensors and adaptive cruise control. SEL Tech cars incorporate VW’s impressive Innovision Cockpit, boasting a 12.3-inch instrument display and 15-inch infotainment screen, while the R-Line variants bring larger 20-inch wheels, sports suspension and luxuries such as four-zone climate control, a powered tailgate and park assist. 

Black Edition adds 21-inch alloys, panoramic roof, air suspension and the ubiquitous VW group black styling pack. Prices for the Touareg range start from around £46,500 and currently rise to just over £63,000, although any future plug-in hybrid version is likely to raise the ceiling on those prices.

The Volkswagen Touareg has evolved into an upmarket SUV that has the ability to battle premium rivals for quality and comfort. The cabin is beautifully built and laden with kit, and while there’s no seven-seat version, it’s more than practical enough for a family of five. And with a driving experience that emphasises the comfort of the cabin, it goes a long way to justifying its premium price tag.

The lack of powertrain options is due to be fully rectified in the near future, too. A new V6 petrol was introduced in early 2019, with a plug-in hybrid due for release in 2020. A high-performance R hybrid version is also scheduled for 2021. If you want a large and luxurious premium SUV with all the latest tech, then the Touareg is a smart choice.

Engines, performance and drive

By sticking with the tried and tested V6 diesel, the Touareg remains a strong performer

While the Volkswagen Touareg isn't the sharpest car in its class, it’s still a great all-rounder. In fact, by sticking with a range of tried and tested V6 engines, it remains one of the strongest and most refined cars for sale.

So far, we’ve only tried the more powerful of the two six-cylinder diesel engines. With 282bhp, it’s a gutsy performer, with loads of power and huge torque reserves – perfect for quick overtakes or steady motorway cruising. It’s incredibly quiet, too, which takes the pain out of long, monotonous journeys.

But while the Touareg is based on the same platform as the Porsche Cayenne, Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus, it’s clear VW has prioritised comfort rather than outright driver fun. Yes, this new car is an improvement on the last Touareg, but the numb and slightly unpredictable steering lets down what is an otherwise excellent package. It’s surprisingly nimble though, thanks to the nifty four-wheel-steering system, while body roll on the air suspension-equipped test car we tried was kept in check. The DSG gearbox can feel a little hesitant at times, but it’s not a deal breaker.

The VW Touareg comes loaded with stress-saving tech, including Adaptive Cruise Control with Predictive Cruise. This system automatically changes your speed according to posted limits, and on our European test route it worked really well. Other useful semi-autonomous tech includes Traffic Jam Assist and Cross Traffic Assist, as well as Proactive Occupant Protection, which closes the windows and pre-tightens the seatbelts if it senses an impending collision.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

The Volkswagen Touareg launched in the UK with a pair of 3.0-litre V6 diesels. Badged 231PS and 286PS respectively, they have 228bhp and 282bhp. A 335bhp V6 petrol was introduced in early 2019 and is the first petrol unit to be offered in the new range. At 50kg lighter than its diesel counterparts, it manages the 0-62mph sprint in 5.9 seconds and a top speed of 155mph. As you would expect, the 282bhp diesel feels strong and refined. 

The 0-62mph dash takes just 6.1 seconds and there's a top speed of 146mph, while the motor feels relatively unstressed at motorway speeds. It felt more than punchy enough, both from a standstill and in-gear. It’s incredibly quiet, too, even in the upper reaches of the rev band.

The 228bhp engine gives the Touareg a 0-62mph time of 7.5 seconds and a 135mph top speed, which is by no means slow. As both cars have a 3.5-tonne maximum towing weight and near-identical payloads, it makes the extra £2,500 or so you pay for the bigger engine seem frivolous.

All engines come with an 8-speed auto gearbox, and 4MOTION four-wheel drive is standard across the range.

MPG, CO2 and Running Costs

The Touareg is a big 4x4, and it comes with big running costs, too

Prices for the Touareg start from around £46,500 for the lower powered 3.0-litre diesel in SE spec. Upgrading to the more powerful diesel costs around £2,500, while moving up to SEL incurs an extra charge of just over £4,000. Moving up from SEL to each subsequent individual trim costs between £1,350 and £3,050, until you reach the £63,415 price of the top-spec Black Edition.

Despite VW introducing the entry-level SE version, all Touaregs are still subject to the £40,000 road tax levy, so the road fund licence that you pay for years 2-6 is £475, before it drops to the standard £150 rate. The hybrid version due later will reduce this and, providing you have regular access to a plug or charge point, fuel economy should be vastly improved.

The diesel engines have the same economy and emissions figures. CO2 figures, under WLTP testing, are quoted at 214g/km to 228g/km, depending on trim level. 

The best fuel economy quoted for the Touareg is 34.4mpg. Again, that's the same for both engines, and combined with a 75-litre fuel tank means the Touareg could theoretically travel over 550 miles between fills. The V6 petrol produces more CO2 at 239g/km and returns up to 26.6mpg.

While the new VW Touareg launched with V6 diesel engines, a plug-in hybrid (Touareg PHEV) is due later. Official figures haven’t been announced, but we can expect a 30-mile electric range and CO2 emissions of less than 70g/km, putting it on a par with plug-in rivals.

Insurance groups

With the introduction of the SE and Black Edition versions, the Touareg now sits in insurance groups ranging from 36 to 43. That's a broader range than the old car, and competes with the Audi Q7, also starting at group 36. The Touareg’s improved safety kit and semi-autonomous features will help to lower premiums, but upgrading to the more powerful diesel and V6 petrol bumps up the car's group rating.  

Depreciation

Volkswagen remains a strong and highly desirable brand, although it doesn't quite have the prestige of some rivals at the top end of the luxury SUV sector. The Touareg should hold onto around 47% after three years and 36,000 miles.

Interior, design and technology

The Touareg sets a high benchmark in the premium SUV class for its strong interior quality and innovative tech

Design-wise, the latest VW Touareg takes its smaller SUV siblings as a base and expands on them in every direction. It’s instantly recognisable as the firm’s largest model, with a wide grille and giant VW badge on the nose. It appears squatter than before thanks to its revised proportions, but this is a bulky car, whichever way you look at it.

Inside, the Touareg sets a high benchmark for its intuitive layout and quality materials. It not only looks great, but it’s packed with functional features and practical touches. There’s leather everywhere you look, with lashings of metal and high-quality plastic throughout. You wouldn’t expect much more if you were sitting in a car costing twice the price.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

There’s no denying the VW Touareg sets a benchmark for infotainment and interior technology in the premium SUV class. The seamless dual-screen set-up not only looks great, but it works beautifully – with loads of functionality and crisp responses.

VW calls its flashiest display option ‘Innovision Cockpit’, and it's standard on SEL Tech, R-Line Tech and Black Edition cars, costing around £3,500 to add to the rest of the range. It comprises a set of 12.3-inch digital dials next to a huge 15-inch central infotainment screen. It offers the illusion of a single pane of glass, and while it is subtly split in two just behind the steering wheel, VW tells us the only reason for this is to reduce the cost of replacement should one get damaged.

All the menus are configurable in a tile formation, meaning you can bring frequently used functions to the forefront, and push those less important to the back. It’s a remarkably intuitive set-up, and can be used alongside the standard-fit Apple CarPlay and Android Auto systems.

Ahead of the digital dials you an add a crystal clear head-up display for around £1,000. This shows everything from speed and trip info to navigation directions.

Practicality, comfort and boot space

The VW Touareg is big and spacious inside, but unlike some rivals there's no seven-seat option

The five-door Volkswagen Touareg is a big, comfortable and super-practical family car. While it doesn't offer a seven-seat layout as you'll find in the Land Rover Discovery, Volvo XC90 or Audi Q7, it is still an incredibly spacious SUV with room for five tall adults. 

Size

The VW Touareg is a big car, whichever way you look at it. It’s almost five metres long and 1,984mm wide, which is 44mm wider than before. This does create more interior and luggage space than the previous-generation SUV, but means the Touareg will be trickier to position on narrow city streets than before.

However, it’s still not as long as the biggest cars in this class. At more than five metres, an Audi Q7 (complete with its seven-seat layout) is almost 8cm longer than the latest Touareg.

Leg room, head room & passenger space

Whichever seat you’re in, there’s plenty of room inside the VW Touareg. By avoiding the temptation to put two seats in the boot, VW has made accommodation generous for all five passengers. Despite being 7mm lower than before, there’s loads of headroom and kneeroom, and the doors open wide to make fitting child seats nice and simple.

Boot

Again, by avoiding the need for a third row of seats, the VW Touareg has one of the biggest boots in the premium SUV class. With the rear seats in place there’s 40 litres more than you’ll find in an Audi Q7 (810 litres versus 770 litres in the Audi’s five-seat configuration), while folding everything flat offers 1,800 litres - almost as much room as in a Volvo XC90. Cars fitted with all-round air suspension can be lowered from a button in the boot, too, making it even easier to load heavy or bulky items.

Towing capacity

Both the V6 diesel and petrol engines give the Touareg a towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes, which is similar to most of its premium SUV rivals. Plus, clever tech like Trailer Assist makes reversing your caravan or horsebox a supremely simple affair.

Reliability and safety

The Touareg provides five-star safety levels and should prove to be reliable

The Touareg is filled with cutting-edge technology, although thankfully a lot of this tech has already been tested, or is a development of existing systems, so it should prove reliable here. Factor in that the V6 diesel is a known unit found in other VW Group models, and the MLBevo platform is the foundation for a wide variety of other models, and the Touareg should prove to be a reliable performer.

Volkswagen has a good reputation for reliability, so we have no reason to believe the all-new Touareg will be anything other than incredibly easy to live with. However, the firm finished 19th out of 30 manufacturers in the 2020 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey. A set of very average marks resulted in a surprising dip from 5th place in 2018. Exterior styling and interior design were only given standard scores, although infotainment and connectivity ranked highly.

Euro NCAP tested the Touareg at the end of 2018, and it earned a full five-star crash test rating. There’s loads of safety kit on board, with clever kit like Predictive Cruise – a system that adjusts your speed according to the posted limit – raising the bar in this class. Volkswagen’s engineers tell us the lane departure warning system turns on every time the car is started just to gain an extra half-star in the stringent NCAP tests. Other innovative features include Traffic Jam Assist and Cross Traffic Assist.

Warranty

Every new Volkswagen Touareg comes with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, which is broadly in line with its key rivals. While this should suffice for most buyers, the firm offer an additional two years of extended warranty cover for an additional fee.  

Servicing

As with all VW models, the Touareg has variable service intervals. If you cover less than 10,000 miles a year and do numerous short trips, then you need to do an oil change service after the first 12 months or 10,000 miles, whichever comes sooner. Then there are 20,000 miles/1 year gaps between services.

With the variable service schedule, you only need to change the oil after two years (or when the service light illuminates), and then there are 20,000 mile/1 year intervals. As with rivals, VW offers a variety of service plans that you can add to your finance arrangements within 12 months of the Touareg being registered.

For an alternative review of the latest Volkswagen Touareg SUV visit our sister site carbuyer.co.uk

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    3.0 V6 TDI 4Motion 231 SE 5dr Tip Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £43,965

Most Economical

  • Name
    3.0 V6 TDI 4Motion 231 SEL Tech 5dr Tip Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £49,515

Fastest

  • Name
    3.0 V6 TSI 4Motion SEL 5dr Tip Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £51,775

More on Touareg

Show me:
New 2020 VW Touareg R revealed with plug-in power and 456bhp
Volkswagen Touareg
24 Feb 2020

New 2020 VW Touareg R revealed with plug-in power and 456bhp

The hot Volkswagen Touareg R SUV combines a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 with a 134bhp electric motor
Volkswagen Touareg R-Line: long-term test review
VW Touareg
Volkswagen Touareg SUV
10 Dec 2019

Volkswagen Touareg R-Line: long-term test review

Final report: VW’s V6 diesel has been a highlight of our time with big SUV
New VW Touareg One Million celebrates production landmark
VW Touareg One Million - front
Volkswagen Touareg
23 Jul 2019

New VW Touareg One Million celebrates production landmark

The special edition model celebrates the production of the one millionth Volkswagen Touareg by adding a range of extra equipment
Volkswagen Touareg gets new 3.0-litre V6 petrol
VW Touareg 3.0 V6 petrol - front
Volkswagen Touareg
7 Mar 2019

Volkswagen Touareg gets new 3.0-litre V6 petrol

Volkswagen adds a new 335bhp V6 petrol engine to the Touareg’s UK line-up, priced from £52,635
Volkswagen Touareg V8 TDI unveiled at Geneva
volkswagen touareg v8 static front quarter
Volkswagen Touareg
7 Mar 2019

Volkswagen Touareg V8 TDI unveiled at Geneva

Volkswagen unwrapped its new 4.0-litre V8 diesel SUV at the Geneva Motor Show, boasting a torque figure of 900Nm
BMW X5 vs Volkswagen Touareg vs Porsche Cayenne
BMW X5
29 Jan 2019

BMW X5 vs Volkswagen Touareg vs Porsche Cayenne

Can the all-new BMW X5 keep pace in the talented premium SUV sector? We test it against the Volkswagen Touareg and Porsche Cayenne
New Volkswagen Touareg 2018 review
Volkswagen Touareg - front
Volkswagen Touareg SUV
13 Jul 2018

New Volkswagen Touareg 2018 review

The new VW Touareg shares a platform with the Audi Q7 and Lamborghini Urus, matching their talents for less cash
New 2018 Volkswagen Touareg: UK launch prices and specs revealed
Volkswagen Touareg - front
Volkswagen Touareg
21 Jun 2018

New 2018 Volkswagen Touareg: UK launch prices and specs revealed

New range-topping Volkswagen Touareg SUV is now on sale in the UK, costing from £51,995
Volkswagen Touareg (2014-2018) review
VW Touareg front action
Volkswagen Touareg SUV
16 Feb 2018

Volkswagen Touareg (2014-2018) review

It’s a little long in the tooth, but the VW Touareg SUV offers plenty of space, refinement and luxury
Used Volkswagen Touareg review
Used Volkswagen Touareg - front
Volkswagen Touareg SUV
23 Aug 2016

Used Volkswagen Touareg review

A full used buyer’s guide on the Volkswagen Touareg covering the Touareg Mk2 (2010-date)
Top-spec VW Touareg R-Line Plus revealed
VW Touareg R-Line Plus
Volkswagen Touareg
23 May 2016

Top-spec VW Touareg R-Line Plus revealed

Luxurious new R-Line Plus trim level adds sporty appeal to the Volkswagen Touareg range, starting from £48,095
Porsche Cayenne and VW Touareg recalled for brake fault
Porsche Cayenne - front driving
Volkswagen Touareg
30 Mar 2016

Porsche Cayenne and VW Touareg recalled for brake fault

Up to 800,000 examples of the Cayenne and Touareg SUVs to be recalled globally for brake pedal problem, with over 32,000 in UK
VW Touareg R-Line review
Volkswagen Touareg SUV
27 Nov 2014

VW Touareg R-Line review

Will quality revisions be enough to give VW Touareg R-Line an edge?
New VW Touareg TDI 2015 review
VW Touareg front action
Volkswagen Touareg SUV
20 Sep 2014

New VW Touareg TDI 2015 review

Can a midlife refresh stop VW Touareg TDI diesel SUV falling out of favour?
Volkswagen Touareg facelift: price, specs and release date
Volkswagen Touareg front angle
Volkswagen Touareg
15 Aug 2014

Volkswagen Touareg facelift: price, specs and release date

VW confirms facelifted Touareg will cost from £43,000 when it goes on sale later this month, featuring updated styling, engines and tech
Jeep Grand Cherokee vs rivals
Jeep Grand Cherokee vs rivals
Jeep Grand Cherokee
2 Aug 2014

Jeep Grand Cherokee vs rivals

Tough yet luxurious Jeep Grand Cherokee battles VW and Infiniti off-roaders
Volkswagen Touareg gets a facelift in Beijing
Volkswagen Touareg
19 Apr 2014

Volkswagen Touareg gets a facelift in Beijing

Updated VW Touareg debuts at the Beijing Motor Show, will arrive this summer
VW Touareg R-Line
Volkswagen Touareg SUV
23 Jan 2013

VW Touareg R-Line

Volkswagen has unveiled a sporty-looking Touareg R-Line and dropped the price of its CC
7. VW Touareg
VW Touareg
Volkswagen Touareg SUV
26 Dec 2012

7. VW Touareg

VW Touareg Hybrid
VW Touareg Hybrid front tracking
Volkswagen Touareg SUV
7 Jan 2011

VW Touareg Hybrid

We give our verdict as the Hybrid version of the luxury 4x4 hits British roads for the first time - is the innovative petrol electric drivetrain worth…
4x4 Mega-test
4x4 Mega-test
Volkswagen Touareg SUV
13 Aug 2010

4x4 Mega-test

Big SUVs are beginning to win buyers’ affections again... as can be seen by four new models on the market. So which is our star?
VW Touareg BlueMotion
VW Touareg BlueMotion
Volkswagen Touareg SUV
16 Apr 2010

VW Touareg BlueMotion

Greener version of diesel 4x4 muscles in
Volkswagen Touareg TDI
Volkswagen Touareg TDI
Volkswagen Touareg SUV
19 Mar 2010

Volkswagen Touareg TDI

SUV has been refined in all areas – so we deliver our verdict