When Volkswagen’s first Touareg was launched in 2003, it was the outrageously torquey V10 TDI that grabbed the headlines, along with its poor ride quality. The first model sold in huge numbers, reaching over half a million homes worldwide. This Mk2 model, also based on the new Porsche Cayenne, is lighter, roomier and more economical.

The secret to the original Touareg's success lay in offering BMW X5 levels of space and performance at a significantly reduced price. And that’s a recipe on which this all-new model seeks to improve.

The big news concerning the new Touareg is its weight, which has been reduced by fully 10 per cent across the range. At the same time, however, the new Touareg is roomier, more economical, better equipped and, says VW, better than ever to drive, thanks to its new range of engines and brand new, lightweight steel suspension.

The most popular Touareg model will be the 3.0 V6 TDI, which is available in two states of tune and comes complete with an eight-speed auto ’box and BlueMotion Technology pack, both of which are standard across the range. That monstrous V10 TDI has been replaced by a 4.2 V8 TDi, while a petrol hybrid model is also available. The hybrid is a standalone model, while the V6 TDI is available in a very un-SUV-sounding SE trim, or significantly more exciting Escape and Altitude trims. The range-topping V8 diesel is only available in Altitude trim.

Top 5 Luxury SUVs

  • Range Rover Sport
    The new Sport, from a keen driver’s point of view, might just be the best SUV in the world at the moment

    Range Rover Sport

    1
  • Volvo XC90
    The new Volvo XC90 costs from £45,750

    Volvo XC90

    2
  • Porsche Cayenne
    The Porsche Cayenne is available as a hybrid for the first time

    Porsche Cayenne

    3
  • Land Rover Discovery
    The Discovery really is the defining go-anywhere super-utility vehicle

    Land Rover Discovery

    4
  • The second generation Audi Q7
    Audi Q7 is priced from £47,755

    Audi Q7

    5

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  •  Kia Optima PHEV
    First Drive
    25 August 2016
    Plug-in hybrid Optima is a practical, tax-efficient PHEV that undercuts rivals and fulfils its main remit well, but keen drivers need not apply
  • Kia Optima Sportwagon
    First Drive
    25 August 2016
    New Kia estate looks the part, has good space and handles tidily, but its engine's flexibility and refinement let it down
  • Lamborghini Huracán LP610-4 Spyder
    First Drive
    24 August 2016
    Awful driving position aside, drop-top Huracán handles UK roads well. It's more dynamically rounded than its rangemates, but lacks rivals' handling bite
  • Porsche Panamera 4S Diesel
    First Drive
    23 August 2016
    Its predecessor may have been a bit limp, but the Porsche Panamera 4S Diesel is crushingly rapid and suitably luxurious
  • Car review
    23 August 2016
    Can the best sports coupé of the decade absorb a contentious new engine?