Volkswagen Touareg (2014-2017) review
The original Volkswagen Touareg was famous for offering a 5.0-litre V10 diesel engine that made it one of the most powerful models in its class.
What's not so good
Volkswagen Touareg (2014-2017): what would you like to read next?
Sadly, the second generation model (released in 2010) signalled its demise, but the new car offers much of what the old one did – it’s a big SUV that’s cheaper to buy than an equivalent BMW X5, Audi Q7 or Volvo XC90. That last point is particularly true if you factor in the huge average saving you’ll make if you buy one via carwow.
Despite offering more space inside, the new Touareg is 10 per cent lighter than the model it replaces. Its interior is also solidly built, but lacks the premium feel of the upmarket models the Touareg competes with.
The quality of the drive is much improved. It may not offer the thrills of a BMW X5, but some testers report it feels like a big Golf to drive – an impressive feat for something so large.
In many ways the Touareg feels like a very, very big Golf
Volkswagen hasn’t bothered offering a petrol option (sales would simply be too low) instead buyers get two 3.0-litre diesels to choose from, with either 204 or 262hp. Both offer decent performance, but fall behind the best in class in terms of fuel economy.
For a more in-depth look at the VW Touareg, read the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our review over the following pages. And, to see what sort of offers are available on the Touareg, visit our deals page.
The Volkswagen Touareg has loads of room inside for five people; but, while the boot is pretty big, there are plenty of alternatives that give you more space and the option of seven seats
It's all well and good making a big car, but when the Touareg only has five seats inside, it's not as clever as several of the alternatives
The wheelbase in the new Touareg has been increased by 40mm and that’s most telling in the back, where you’ll find an abundance of rear legroom and a seat that can be slid back and forth for even more legroom or extra boot space. Passenger space up front is also excellent and the VW’s tall SUV body means there is plenty of headroom, too. What there isn’t, though, is the option to fit a pair of extra seats in the boot, which puts it at a distinct disadvantage against models such as the X5 and Q7.
Rummage through the Touareg’s interior and you’ll find there is no shortage of cubbies. The door bins are large and the glovebox is similarly capacious. In all, there are four cupholders and you’ll find yet more storage in the centre of the dashboard, and under the front centre armrest.
With 580 litres to play with, the Touareg’s boot sounds big enough on paper, and for most people’s needs it probably is. But most rivals now offer more – an Audi Q7 gives a huge 770 litres, the BMW X5 650 litres and the Volvo XC90 450 litres, even with all its seven seats in use. Nevertheless, the VW’s boot lid reveals a huge opening and there’s no lip to lift heavy luggage over.
The Touareg is almost as easy to manoeuvre as a VW Golf. The steering is accurate enough to make it easy to thread through tight city streets (helped by the excellent view from the high driving position), while on quick A-roads there’s little body lean and the car feels agile and nimble.
Accurate steering, grippy four-wheel-drive and minimal body roll mean the VW can hold its own on a country road
The Touareg is only available with diesel engines – buyers get two 3.0-litre models to choose from.
The basic car offers 204hp and 332Ib ft of torque. It’s the latter figure that is of most relevance in a car like this and allows the VW to get from 0-62mph in 8.7 seconds. Fuel economy comes in at 42.8mpg, while CO2 emissions of 172g/km.
Go for the more powerful model (with 262hp and 423Ib ft of torque) and running costs go up slightly – fuel economy now sits at 40.9mpg – but, as it shaves more than a second off the 0-62mph time, we think it’s worth the extra cost.
The biggest problem for the Touareg is the competition. A new Q7 fitted with a 272hp diesel engine is not only quite a bit quicker than the VW, 0-62mph takes 6.5 seconds, it is also cheaper to run thanks to an official fuel economy figure of 47.9mpg.
The standard eight-speed automatic gearbox offers smooth changes, but it can be slow to change down gears for fast overtakes. Although you can always change down using the steering-wheel-mounted paddles.
Unlike some of its rivals (the X5 sticks out here), the Touareg is a handy off-roader thanks to a switch that lets you set up the car for a variety of off-road conditions. All models also come with hill descent, which allows the car to safely tackle steep inclines.
Thanks to being a heavy four-wheel-drive drive, all Touaregs have an impressive maximum towing capacity of 3,500kgs.
Get comfortable in the driver’s seat of the Touareg and you’ll be greeted by a dashboard that is neatly laid out and simple to use for a car that features such a lot of gadgets.