Volkswagen Touareg Review & Prices
The Volkswagen Touareg is a large premium SUV with a spacious cabin, a practical boot and a bang-up-to-date infotainment system but it still doesn’t feel as posh inside as some alternatives
Find out more about the Volkswagen Touareg
Think of the Touareg, then, as Waitrose rather than Harrods Food Hall. It’s easily posh enough for the majority of people, but might not be plush enough for those used to the finer things in life.
As soon as you step inside you’ll notice a central touchscreen that blends into a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display. The central screen is larger than anything you’ll find in an Audi, BMW, Mercedes or maybe even your local Vue cinema, 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 Volkswagen Touareg R-Line Tech, Black Edition or Touareg R models – across the rest of the range you get a smaller 9.2-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 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. 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 if you choose a car with air suspension.
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
There are four engine options, but VW’s 231hp 3.0-litre diesel engine fits the bill perfectly for most. 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.
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 considering – 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, even the entry-level SEL has front and rear parking sensors. The VW Touareg R-Line and R-Line Tech come with a rear-view camera 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 helped the car to a five-star rating when it was 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. Head over to our deals page for our very best Touareg prices.
The Volkswagen Touareg has a RRP range of £67,780 to £72,210. However, with carwow you can save on average £2,705. Prices start at £65,167 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £589. The price of a used Volkswagen Touareg on carwow starts at £29,845.
Our most popular versions of the Volkswagen Touareg are:
|Model version||carwow price from|
|3.0 V6 TDI 4Motion Black Edition 5dr Tip Auto||£65,167||Compare offers|
You’ll need reasonably deep pockets to buy a Volkswagen Touareg, but they won’t need to be stuffed quite so full as if you shop for an Audi Q7, BMW X5, or Mercedes GLE. In fact, depending on exactly which car you are looking at and the spec you choose, the savings to be made by choosing the VW could be several thousand pounds.
The maths isn’t quite so favourable if you go for the high-performance R model, which is significantly more expensive to buy than the rest of the range. But the 231hp diesel in particular is good value compared with big SUVs with more exclusive badges.
Drives well, especially when fitted with air suspension, but not as fun as a BMW X5
It’s a big old thing, the VW Touareg, but for a big SUV it’s reasonably manoeuvrable. Go for a car with rear-wheel steering and it’s even better, as the rear wheels help to make a U-turn in double-quick time.
You sit high, but not armchair-on-stilts high. So the driver has a good view out, but doesn’t look down on other cars the way you do in a Land Rover Discovery. All-round visibility is pretty good, so you can see what’s behind you when reversing better than in some SUVs.
SEL-spec cars come with all-round parking sensors, but if you’d rather let the car do the hard work while parking, R-Line models and above will steer into a parking space for you so long as you take care of the accelerator and brake. The system works for both parallel parking at the side of the road and reversing into a parking bay.
Every Touareg is an automatic, and while the ’box could be quicker to respond, it’s very smooth. You glide along through stop-start traffic.
If you want to make your commute or school run emissions-free, take a closer look at the Touareg R. This plug-in hybrid can make short journeys running on electricity alone.
On the motorway
Motorways are home sweet home as far as the Touareg is concerned.
Even the least powerful model has 231hp, so you’re not short of performance, even when the car is loaded up with people and luggage. If you have a trailer or horsebox to pull then the diesels in particular make great tow cars, with lots of muscle for towing heavy loads.
Ride comfort is good on standard suspension, and excellent if you opt for air suspension. The car wafts along like a high-rise limo.
It’s quiet as well as comfortable, especially with the extra sound-deadening of the acoustics package.
On a twisty road
Turn off the motorway onto an empty back road and the Touareg handles well for such a big and heavy car. It doesn’t have the agility of a BMW X5, but it corners with poise by big SUV standards.
The steering is precise, and body lean isn’t excessive even if you arrive at a bend a little faster than you meant to. Bumpy roads won’t upset your passengers too much – again, cars with air suspension are even better than those with the standard set up.
Every Touareg is a true 4x4, which is a big plus if the weather is wet or wintery. If the twisty road turns into a twisty track, the Touareg can handle itself. It’s not as able as a Land Rover Discovery when the going gets really tough, but pulling a horsebox over wet grass shouldn’t be a problem.
Lots of space for people and luggage, but no seven-seat option
You step up into the Touareg, but you won’t need a step ladder, if you see what we mean. The seating position is not as lofty as in a Land Rover Discovery or a Range Rover, and the seat isn’t all that high from the floor on its lowest setting. There’s a good range of adjustment, though, so you can move it up high if you wish.
In SEL and R-Line cars the height adjustment is manual. From R-Line Tech upwards the seats are electrically adjustable, and there’s a memory function to store your driving position.
On all spec levels the steering wheel has lots of height and reach adjustment, so we’d be very surprised if you couldn’t find a comfortable driving position in the Touareg.
Storage is well taken care of, with the exception of the surprisingly stingy space under the driver’s armrest. There’s a lidded storage tray at the base of the centre console, and the glovebox is a reasonable size. You also get a second mini glovebox to the right of the steering wheel. The door bins are very large, with room for a flask to fit inside.
There are two cupholders between the front seats, with a third smaller cupholder sandwiched between the two for holding a cup of espresso.
Space in the back seats
Plenty of SUVs of this size have space for seven, but the Touareg can only seat five. That’s bad news for big families, but because Volkswagen hasn’t had to split the available space between three rows of seats there’s loads of spare room in the back. Even with a panoramic sunroof there’s plenty of headroom, and legroom is more than generous. There’s space for passengers to put their feet under the seat in front so they can really stretch out.
If you have three rear passengers, whoever is in the middle will be perched up a little higher than those on either side, but it’s certainly not an uncomfortable space to sit.
There’s an armrest which folds down out of the middle seat back when it’s not in use. But it’s annoying that there’s no cover for the twin cupholders, as the plastic digs into your elbow.
Four-zone climate control with separate controls for those in the back is standard on all but the most basic SEL model.
You get lots of room for bags in the Touareg. Again, it helps that Volkswagen hasn’t needed to squeeze in a third row of seats.
The boot opening is nice and wide and there’s hardly any load lip to lift your luggage over. Volkswagen has put some thought into getting the most out of the space, with tie-down points and hooks for holding bags upright.
Levers either side of the tailgate fold the seats down, although we’ve found that you’ll need to run around to the rear doors and give the seats a shove to lock them into position.
It’s a shame that the load cover is quite fiddly to remove, and that there isn’t a dedicated space for storing it under the floor.
Stylish and high-tech, but not as well finished as the best premium SUVs
When does the motoring mainstream end and the premium brands begin? We pose the question because the Touareg seems poised a little awkwardly in the middle. It’s not as posh as an Audi or Mercedes, but it’s arguably more upmarket than a Hyundai or Kia.
Having some badge appeal without being snobby serves Volkswagen well with the likes of the Golf, Passat, and Tiguan. But with a price tag of well over £50k, the Touareg is stretching into snootier territory.
It doesn’t help that the cabin can’t quite match the showroom appeal of the Audi Q7’s or the Mercedes GLE’s. It’s an off-the-peg number at a price that many expect haute couture.
There are some scratchy plastics on the doors, and some of the trim looks and feels a bit ordinary compared with the best luxury 4x4s’. The plastics on the top of the dash are much better, and the higher up the range you go the nicer the cabin looks. It’s a plush interior by most standards, it’s just that some similar cars are even better.
Entry-level models with the 9.2-inch touchscreen and conventional dials lack a bit of visual drama and feel quite conservative. It’s amazing how much difference the 15.0-inch screen and 12.0-inch dash display makes. They are fitted to R-Line Tech models and up.
The driver can configure the dash display using buttons on the steering wheel, so you can choose what information you want to prioritise. It’s really useful if you want to show a map right in front of you, for example. A head-up display is optional. It’s a great feature, appealing to your inner geek while being genuinely useful.
Tech fans will love the large-screen infotainment system. It’s responsive, clear, and very clever. It could be a bit easier to use, though. The smaller system has shortcut buttons around the screen making it simpler to find the right menu, and the air con controls are less fiddly in the more affordable models.
For the lowest emissions, take a close look at the Touareg R. Despite being the fastest and most powerful model in the range with 462hp, as a plug-in hybrid it’s also the most fuel efficient. So long as you keep the batteries charged up you can cover a lot of miles on electricity alone.
Whether or not you match the official economy of up to 97.4mpg is a moot point, but thanks to its all-electric range and low emissions it’s a solid choice for company car drivers. It sits in a lower benefit-in-kind tax band than the rest of the Touareg line-up.
There’s almost nothing to choose between the 231hp and 286hp diesels. Both achieve 32-35mpg depending on the exact spec, with carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions of 212-229g/km.
Both sip a gallon more slowly than the 3.0-litre petrol, which returns around 25mpg in official tests. Anyone with a heavy right foot may struggle to match that.
Because the Touareg range costs well over £40,000, even if you go for the entry-level model, there’s extra Vehicle Excise Duty to pay. For five years once the first year’s tax expires, there’s an annual £355 surcharge at time of writing.
The Touareg earned the maximum five stars when it was tested by Euro NCAP’s safety experts in 2018. It scored 89% for adult occupant protection, 86% for child occupants, 72% for pedestrian protection and 81% for its safety assistance systems.
Every car comes with an active bonnet that lifts up in a collision with a pedestrian to prevent them hitting the engine. Front Assist, Volkswagen’s name for its autonomous emergency braking system, is also fitted to every Touareg. This applies the brakes if a collision is about to happen and the driver doesn’t react.
Security equipment includes an alarm and remote central locking.
The Touareg presents a mixed picture in reliability surveys. It does very well in some, and not so well in others. But we’re not hearing of many problems with the current generation, which has been on sale since 2018. If you want cast-iron reliability, a Lexus SUV is tough to beat, but we wouldn’t expect much trouble from a Touareg.
Like other Volkswagens, the Touareg comes with a three-year warranty. There’s no mileage restriction for the first two years, but a 60,000-mile limit applies in the third year.
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