Volkswagen Touareg: Big SUV an admirable contender

Volkswagen Touareg

VOLKSWAGEN'S flagship car used to be the Phaeton sedan, which, when approached with a certain attitude, was very similar to a Bentley, only with a far lower price and a less baroque grille.

The Phaeton was sent to the pasture and the Touareg SUV is the largest, most elegant and most expensive car from VW.

It fulfills this role admirably, as it has grown steadily over the years.

For example, the model tested on this page, a SEL Tech model burnished with a few options, is a tens over £ 59,000.

This makes the Touareg a popular car for not all people. This isn't the most expensive model either. Range starts at just over £ 46,500, but the highest range Black Edition is a £ 60,000 car.

With that kind of money, you can buy a lot of savvy SUVs that have a nameplate that most people consider more desirable than the VW badge – including BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo, and then there's the new Land Rover Defender as presented elsewhere in Drive to complement the mix.

The Touareg does its trade in this context. Strengthening the case, however, is the pure quality of the matter.

Volkswagen Touareg

This iteration of Touareg came in 2018 with a sharp digital cockpit and a very large central screen, as well as a priority for driver comfort.

Unlike a BMW, for example, where the focus is on performance, the Touareg is an SUV that has been designed to be powerful, compact and practical.

It is also equipped with driver assistance systems to ensure that both occupants and pedestrians are as safe as possible.

The Touareg uses a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine that offers robust, high-torque performance that would suit a car of this type.

You can have the engine with two power outputs – 228 hp or 282 hp, with beefy torque of 369 lb ft and 443 lb ft respectively.

Whichever engine you choose, you get an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

The driving position is dominant and the Touareg is quiet and comfortable to drive, especially when the optional air suspension (around £ 1,700) is built in – it offers a luscious ride quality that is difficult to achieve with standard steel springs on a car like this.

Volkswagen Touareg

It also means that if you want, you can steady the ride as more turns come into view.

But while the engine is punchy, this isn't exactly a car you want to attach to the door handles on tight turns.

So it's not exactly a grown up Golf R. But that's fine; It's a beautiful cruiser and for most people this is just the thing most of the time.

If you're looking for an SUV that doesn't scream too much about being an SUV then the Touareg might be the car for you. Even though someone who spends north of £ 50,000 on an SUV is really trying to be that shy?

From the outside, the sheer size of the thing makes it hard to miss, although the styling isn't exactly extravagant.

If you're looking for an SUV that doesn't scream too much about being an SUV then the Touareg might be the car for you. Even though someone who spends north of £ 50,000 on an SUV is really trying to be that shy?

The Touareg was designed with practicality in mind, which is why its cabin is large and spacious, with plenty of room for five people to sit comfortably.

The front seats are well supported without being overly firm, and there's plenty of room for those in the back too.

Given the large proportions of the car, there is of course plenty of headroom so that taller drivers and passengers can also feel comfortable.

There is no seven-seat option, however, perhaps a black mark compared to competitors that come with three rows of benches.

Nevertheless, the trunk is huge with 810 liters of cargo space. This can be increased to 1,800 liters by folding down the seats.

In short, if you need more space, it is probably better to opt for a van. The trunk is square and easily accessible.

It's a very well-equipped car too, which may help it justify its price.

The SE L Tech spec tested starts at £ 52,055. In return, you get pretty much all the toys you could want, including a central 15-inch infotainment display and a customizable 12-inch digital display in front of the driver.

Volkswagen Touareg

Apple CarPay and Android Auto are both included, so you can get the most out of the huge display by plugging in your smartphone and mirroring its functions there.

Despite all the cutting-edge technology, the Volkswagen Touareg may feel a bit thrown back against some of its competitors – a big, solid, unpretentious and relaxed five-seater SUV.

It is undoubtedly comfortable, practical and tastefully designed and at the same time very well equipped inside.

Less distinctive than a Land Rover Defender, the Touareg is still an admirable and extremely capable choice.

Volkswagen Touareg

(tagsToTranslate) Volkswagen (t) Touareg (t) SUV

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