Volkswagen Touareg interior
The VW Touareg’s minimalist interior looks great – especially with the range-topping 15-inch touchscreen fitted, but it’s let down by a few scratchy plastics and cheap-feeling trims.
The VW Touareg’s interior looks very different to what you find in any other large SUV. Its minimalist dashboard has the Audi Q7’s slightly old-fashioned design beaten in the style stakes, but it’s not quite as eye-catching as the swoopy shapes you’ll find in the BMW X5.
There are plenty of brushed metal-effect trims and a fair number of soft plastic surfaces. But, you’ll find more scratchy brittle trims in the VW Touareg than in the likes of the Q7, X5 or Mercedes GLE – especially on the centre console and lower down on the doors.
The steering wheel feels nice and plush, though – even if it looks very similar to what you get in a humdrum Golf hatchback.
Entry-level SEL models come with LED interior lighting, leather seats and a few decorative aluminium and stainless steel trims on dashboard and door sills. Step up to an R-Line version and you also get some embossed aluminium trims and a black roof lining to make the Touareg’s cabin feel a bit more sporty.
Fork out for a top-spec R-Line Tech model and you get some upgraded leather seats with more adjustment and some stitched R-Line logos, along with a whopping great 15-inch central touchscreen and a second digital driver’s display in place of conventional analogue dials.
The VW Touareg’s party piece is its whopping great 15-inch touchscreen. It’s bigger than anything you’ll find in any alternatives but it’s only standard in top-spec R-Line Tech cars.
The VW Touareg comes with a 9.2-inch touchscreen infotainment display as standard. It sits within a huge aluminium frame in the dashboard and is surrounded on three sides by buttons for the various parking aids and the Touareg’s climate control system.
It comes with satellite navigation, DAB digital radio, Bluetooth connectivity and smartphone mirroring for Apple and Android phones built in. So, it can do everything the Audi Q7’s system can do.
The screen is clear and bright – even in direct sunlight – but you don’t get any physical shortcut buttons to help you switch from one feature to another. There isn’t a scroll wheel on the centre console like you get in the BMW X5, either, and the menu icons are all the same colour which makes it slightly tricky to tell them apart with just a quick glance.
Pay extra for an R-Line Tech model and you get an absolutely huge 15-inch touchscreen that’s bigger than anything you’ll find in any other SUV short of a Tesla Model X. It looks absolutely fantastic and responds to your inputs just as fast as a high-end mobile phone.
The menus are just as drab as the smaller screen, but the larger icons make it easier to use. You can also swipe down from the top of the screen at any time to bring up a selection of the features you use most often.
Less intuitive are the on-screen climate control buttons which replace the conventional physical knobs and dials you get in other Touaregs. These sit in a neat row at the bottom of the screen like in a Volvo XC90, but it takes a few more presses to adjust the cabin temperature than the controls in a Q7 or X5.
This larger system also comes with sat-nav as standard. It’s dead easy to input an address using the huge on-screen keyboard and it calculates three options based on whether you fancy the shortest, quickest or most scenic route.
Adding a waypoint is a doddle and the map responds almost instantly if you swipe to pan or pinch to zoom in. The maps themselves don’t look quite as fancy as the Google-earth imagery you get in the Audi Q7, but they’re super sharp and easy to follow.
VW Touareg R-Line Tech models also come with a 12-inch digital driver’s display instead of analogue dials. This can display a combination of dial graphics and massive widescreen maps right in your eye line. It looks just as sharp as the similar screens you get in the Audi Q7 and BMW X5 and is controlled using a few intuitive buttons on the steering wheel.
Every VW Touareg comes with an eight-speaker stereo as standard, but if you fancy really turning up the volume you’ll want to upgrade to the optional Dynaudio unit. This 730-watt system comes with 14 speakers including a subwoofer in the boot to deliver clearer, more powerful bass.