The Volkswagen Touareg is a very large SUV with a spacious cabin, a practical boot and a bang-up-to-date infotainment system but it doesn’t feel as posh inside as some alternatives
The Volkswagen Touareg is an imposing, yet relatively affordable, alternative to the likes of the Audi Q7 and Mercedes GLE that comes with a very spacious cabin and some seriously high-tech kit.
In fact, step inside the Touareg’s interior and the first thing you’ll notice is a vast 15-inch touchscreen infotainment system on the dashboard that blends seamlessly into a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display. The central screen is larger than anything you’ll find in a BMW, Mercedes or Audi and controls almost all of the VW’s features – from the standard sat nav to the climate control.
Unfortunately, it only comes as standard on top-spec Volkswagen Touareg R-Line Tech – across the rest of the range you get a smaller 9.0-inch display without the digital dials.
Thankfully, the Volkswagen Touareg comes with a slick, minimalist cabin design that looks even more modern than the one in a Q7. A few cheap-feeling materials do let the VW Touareg down a bit, such as on the centre console and lower surfaces of the dashboard, but overall it’s still a very plush place to sit.
The VW Touareg’s excellent practicality means you won’t be worrying about a few scratchy pieces of plastic, however. There’s ample space for very tall adults in both the front and rear seats, and – besides the rather shallow tray under the armrest – all its cubby holes and storage bins are pretty generous.
Even with the panoramic glass roof fitted, there’s enough headroom for a six-foot-tall passenger to sit in the central rear seat and the VW Touareg’s wide body means three adults can fit side-by-side without fighting over shoulder room. The Isofix anchor points are a doddle to access, too, and the large rear door openings make it easy to fit a bulky child seat.
It’s not just spacious in the back seats, the Volkswagen Touareg comes with a seriously spacious boot, too. With the back seats in place, there’s more room for a few sets of golf clubs or a large baby buggy than in either the Audi Q7 or Mercedes GLE and the Touareg only lags slightly behind the capacious Q7 with them folded away. The flat floor makes it a doddle to load bulky items – such as a bike with its wheels attached – and you can even lower the Volkswagen Touareg by 4cm at the touch of a button to make it easier to lift in some heavy boxes.
Go for a top-spec VW Touareg, and you get a huge touchscreen infotainment display that looks more like it belongs in Piccadilly Circus than sitting on the dashboard of a family SUV
If you plan to regularly carry lots of heavy luggage, the VW Touareg’s 231hp 3.0-litre diesel engine fits the bill perfectly. This turbocharged V6 has plenty of grunt to pull heavy trailers or blast past slow-moving traffic. It’s impressively quiet around town and whispers along almost silently at motorway speeds. VW claims it’ll return 42.8mpg, but you can expect to see a figure in the high thirties in normal driving conditions.
Driving the Volkswagen Touareg is pretty relaxing – despite its daunting size. You get a good view out and the light steering makes squeezing through tight spaces as easy as in any large SUV. If you spend lots of time driving in town, the optional four-wheel steering is well worth paying for – it helps make the VW Touareg even more manoeuvrable by altering the angle of both the front and rear wheels to help you turn as tightly as possible.
The standard automatic gearbox changes gear smoothly and doesn’t jerk or stutter at slow speeds – such as when you’re parking. Speaking of which, the VW Touareg R-Line and R-Line Tech come with parking sensors, a surround-view camera system and even park assist features that’ll steer you into parallel and bay spaces automatically.
In addition to these creature comforts, you also get plenty of must-have safety kit that’s designed to prevent avoidable collisions. Automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control and traffic-sign recognition come fitted as standard in the VW Touareg, which should help it score highly when it’s crash-tested by Euro NCAP.
The VW Touareg makes a stylish, spacious and safe family SUV that’s worthy of consideration over more expensive alternatives – especially if the latest tech features high up on your list of priorities.