Volkswagen Touareg R Review & Prices

The VW Touareg R is the hottest version of Volkswagen’s largest SUV. It’s certainly quick, but it’s not much fun to drive - and despite being a plug-in hybrid, it’s still expensive to run

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Reviewed by Tom Wiltshire after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Superb comfort
  • Easy to use interior tech
  • Very quick

What's not so good

  • Feels heavy
  • Short electric range
  • Very expensive

Find out more about the Volkswagen Touareg R

Is the Volkswagen Touareg R a good car?

The Volkswagen Touareg R is the hottest version of the German manufacturer’s large SUV, the VW Touareg. It’s the most expensive Volkswagen you can buy - even beating out a fully-specced up ID Buzz - and as such, VW’s thrown the kitchen sink at it in terms of technology.

If the regular Touareg is like an iPhone - posh, premium and feature-packed - then the Touareg R is like the iPhone Pro Max. Bigger, pricier, and stuffed full of even more tech, whether you actually need it or not.

The ‘R’ badge is reserved for VW’s most powerful products - you’ll find it on the Golf, T-Roc SUV and Arteon fastback. But the Touareg R is the only one of these to be a plug-in hybrid - putting it into contention with a huge number of posh plug-in SUVs from the Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid to the Volvo XC90 to our favourite, the BMW X5 50e.

Inside, you wouldn’t know the Touareg was intended to be a sporty product. Though the ‘R’ badge is sprinkled liberally across the software and on the steering wheel, the Touareg R’s seats are large, comfortable and supportive, and the colour palette is a muted blue rather than the aggressive red of some more overtly macho offerings.

It’s a really nice place to sit - Volkswagen hasn’t tried to squeeze a third row of seats in, so there’s palatial room for five and a big boot too. Up front, a 15-inch touchscreen infotainment system controls most of the car’s functions through a sensible and easy-to-operate interface. The same can’t be said for the touch-sensitive controls on the steering wheel, though.

The Touareg R is a hard sell due to its price and lack of a really posh badge - but it’s much comfier than its sporty badging would suggest

The Touareg R’s plug-in hybrid engine produces a beefy 462hp, good for the benchmark 0-62mph sprint in 5.1 seconds. That’s just 0.4 seconds behind what the Golf R can manage, making it highly impressive for such a large SUV.

However, the Touareg’s sheer weight and size mean that it doesn’t feel very agile when you’re cornering. It’s more of a blunt instrument than a precision scalpel, and both the BMW X5 and Porsche Cayenne are much more satisfying to drive. The Touareg’s air suspension does mean it’s very comfortable over bumps, but that shouldn’t really be the defining feature on a car that’s badged as a special performance model.

Compared to the X5 and Cayenne, the Touareg’s plug-in hybrid system is a bit lacking, too. It’ll only do an official 31 miles on a charge - compared with around 50 for the other two - and that means it’s less useful for lowering your fuel bills, and attracts higher rates of tax too.

Considering the Touareg R is pricier than both of those cars, yet does without the attraction of a truly premium badge, you might find that a lower-tier Touareg suits you better. A plug-in hybrid is available on the lower variants, too - just with less power and without the sporty pretensions.

But if a giant R-badged Touareg suits you, check out the best Volkswagen Touareg R deals right here on Carwow. You can also browse used Volkswagen Touaregs, or other used Volkswagens - and remember that when the time comes for car-changing, you can sell your car online through Carwow too.

How much is the Volkswagen Touareg R?

The Volkswagen Touareg R has a RRP range of £80,710 to £80,710. However, with Carwow you can save on average £2,394. Prices start at £78,316 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £737. The price of a used Volkswagen Touareg R on Carwow starts at £60,992.

Our most popular versions of the Volkswagen Touareg R are:

Model version Carwow price from
3.0 V6 TSI eHybrid 4Motion R 5dr Tip Auto £78,316 Compare offers

With a starting price of over £80,000 the Touareg R is more expensive than either a Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid or a BMW X5 50e. Neither of those cars paints itself as a true sports SUV, and they’re both slower than the Touareg - but they are significantly cheaper to run thanks to better plug-in hybrid systems, and are actually nicer to drive day-to-day too.

Performance and drive comfort

Comfortable, quiet and relaxing - just what you want from an £80,000 sports SUV?

In town

The Touareg R’s engine pairs a 3.0-litre V6 petrol with an electric motor and battery pack. It’s capable of an official 31 miles (more like 22-ish in the real world) on electric power alone, during which it’s a pleasure to drive around town. It’s smooth, silent and more than powerful enough to keep up with traffic right up to the faster roads.

Even when the engine cuts in the silence isn’t spoiled, as it’s well insulated and when you do hear some engine noise come through it’s not an unpleasant tone. The Touareg R has air suspension too, which deals really well with bumps and potholes - though the massive wheels (22 inches!) do put a sharper edge on speed bumps and the like.

On the motorway

Obviously with so much power on tap the Touareg R makes mincemeat of short sliproads or snappy overtakes. The benchmark 0-62mph sprint takes just 5.1 seconds, and the added grunt of the electric motor means that power is relentless right up to the legal limit and beyond. 

When you’re cruising, wind noise is impressively quiet, and the engine’s almost silent. Only the road roar from those massive 22-inch wheels disturbs the silence, though it’s far from noisy. The Touareg R’s air suspension makes for a really cushioned, pillowy ride even on poorly surfaced motorways.

On a twisty road

A twisting B-road does show the limitations of the Touareg R. There’s loads of tech - you can put the suspension into sport mode to firm it up, and there’s an active anti-roll system that helps to stop it leaning like a ship in bends. However, there’s no disguising the car’s size and weight, and combined with steering that isn’t particularly satisfying or accurate it means there’s no real reward to be had in pressing on through the bends.

The gearbox - which is totally unobtrusive in regular operation - is a little recalcitrant when you’re pressing on, occasionally changing up when you don’t want it to. You can take manual control, but even then it’s a bit unresponsive. 

While it’s impressively fast, it’s not very much fun - in contrast to other cars that wear the R badge, which feel significantly more agile. A BMW X5 50e or Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid, though they may lack the Touareg R’s outright pace, feel much lighter on their feet and have more accurate steering, making them more fun on a good road.

Space and practicality

Loads of interior space, but only five seats

All versions of the Touareg are five-seater, despite the car’s imposing size. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does mean you don’t get the versatility of a BMW X5 (where a third row is an optional extra). 

VW’s made the most of the ample space available to it, though, and you’ll really be able to stretch out in the Touareg R. The front seats aren’t particularly sporty - this does mean they’re not super supportive in the corners, but it also means that drivers of all shapes and sizes will be able to get comfortable without feeling like they’re being hemmed in.

The seats adjust electrically, of course, and there’s loads of travel in them as well as in the adjustable steering wheel. Storage up front is okay - there’s a pair of cupholders (with a smaller one in between them to hold a can of energy drink securely) and a big cubby under the central armrest, plus a large glovebox and reasonable door bins. Ahead of the gear selector you’ll find a deep storage area with a wireless phone charging pad.

Space in the back seats

A six-foot adult can really stretch out in the rear of the Touareg. There’s ample legroom and headroom, even with the panoramic sunroof eating up a little bit of vertical space.

It’s even wide enough for three adults to sit across the rear bench, with enough shoulder room that they won’t be suffering for space. The middle seat is wide and flat, making it plenty comfortable enough, and while there’s a slight hump in the floor it’s wide rather than high - so the middle passenger’s feet have somewhere to go. Rear passengers get big door bins, a wide central armrest (if there’s no middle passenger), plus a couple of USB ports and their own set of climate controls.

Boot space

The Touareg R’s boot is pretty hefty at 655 litres - smaller than the 800+ litres that other versions of the Touareg have, but the space is eaten up by components in the hybrid system. It’s on par with the 645 litres offered by a Cayenne e-Hybrid and well ahead of the BMW X5 plug-in hybrid’s 500 litre space.

The electric tailgate reveals a space that’s seriously wide, and there’s room underneath the floor to store your charging cable too. The seats fold flat via handles in the rear, and they go in a 40:20:40 split so you can still carry two passengers and have room for long, thin items. And if you’re struggling to reach right to the back, a press of a button will have the Touareg squat down on its air suspension to help you reach.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

Almost all screen, but better to use than many of VWs other offerings

When the pre-facelift Touareg was launched in 2018, its 15-inch touchscreen display seemed unbelievably massive. How the times change, and in 2024 it feels pretty normal - and even a little bit workaday compared with alternatives offering screens that run the full width of the dash.

Still, it’s a setup that works notably better than many of VW’s other cars. The screen is bright, crisp and responsive, and instead of being perched on top of the dash like in the company’s electric vehicles, it’s set flush into the fascia and notably lower. This makes it much easier to operate on the move, as your hand doesn’t have to wobble about in midair and you can rest your thumb on the ledge underneath as you operate it.

It’s still far from perfect - the climate controls can be frustrating to operate through a touchscreen, and while there are a few shortcut keys down the side of the display they’re touch-sensitive too and therefore don’t offer any feedback. Volkswagen’s also fitted its touch-sensitive haptic controls to the steering wheel - these are incredibly frustrating, and can be difficult to use without taking your eyes off the road, which somewhat defeats the object of having buttons on the wheel in the first place…

The cabin is quite dark, but bright blue stitching and detailing does lift it somewhat. So too does the ambient lighting, which is extensive and multi-configurable - endless fun to play with. Quality, meanwhile, is tip-top - everything you touch is swathed in solid-feeling materials, though a BMW X5 does feel notably more luxurious if not necessarily better-built. To match the Touareg, you’d need to specify the extended leather package on a Porsche Cayenne e-Hybrid.

MPG, emissions and tax

The Touareg R officially claims to do 122.8mpg. If you’re familiar with plug-in hybrids you’ll know that number is something of a pipe dream, and is highly dependent on the type of journeys you do. If you plug in every night, and stay within the Touareg R’s real-world electric range of around 22 miles, then yes - you’ll use very little petrol, though you’ll see a hit on your electricity bill.

Don’t plug in, meanwhile, and a Touareg with a flat battery settles at around 33mpg on a cruise, or rather less if you’re giving it the beans. Still not bad for a car of this size, but less than a BMW X5 plug-in hybrid will do.

The Touareg R’s official CO2 emissions are 54g/km, which tips it over the magic 50g/km threshold to unlock cheaper company car tax. As a result your bills will be a fair bit heftier, though much cheaper than they would be with a plain petrol or diesel. 

Safety and security

When tested in 2018, the regular Volkswagen Touareg scored a full five-star rating from crash test body Euro NCAP. It’s fair to expect the current model would still perform well, though newer alternatives may offer slightly better crash protection.

It gets more safety systems than any other VW, though, with sensors and systems galore to help protect you in a crash as well as stop it happening in the first place. Particularly notable are the IQ Light headlights - a Matrix LED system that’s among the best we’ve ever used. There’s even Night Vision available, as well as Volkswagen’s Travel Assist providing assisted driving features at speeds up to 130mph.

Reliability and problems

The Touareg is one of Volkswagen’s more reliable cars, with fewer complaints than many of its models, especially the electric ones.

Volkswagen’s overall reputation isn’t fantastic though, finishing 27th out of 32 manufacturers in the 2023 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey.

You get a distinctly average warranty offering with the Touareg R, too - just three years and 60,000 miles of cover.

Buy or lease the Volkswagen Touareg R at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £80,710 Avg. Carwow saving £2,394 off RRP
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