There is much to like and not a whole lot to dislike about the new Volkswagen Touareg. It’s such a cohesive development over the already strong previous model that it’s genuinely hard to find anything serious to criticise other than its slightly plain, five-seat-only cabin.
For those buyers not looking for seven-seat capacity the Touareg gets many things right. It drives nicely, with a comfortable ride without the levels of body roll associated with large SUVs. The steering is light and crisp, while there’s excellent performance from all the engines, helped in no small part by the excellent eight-speed gearbox.
It’s spacious, too, with plenty of room for five people in a nicely appointed, if a little dull, cabin. The boot’s a good size, too – shame there aren’t a couple more seats in there.
And as large SUVs go, the Touareg is reasonably green – it won’t drink fuel at the rate of some rivals, while VW’s Bluemotion technologies help to keep emissions reasonably low – from the diesels and the petrol/electric hybrid.
On top of all that, there are generous equipment levels. It is the best-value car in the class and arguably the least pretentious. Most importantly, it is a pleasant, comfortable place in which to cover a lot of miles.
It falls slightly short of the sharp responses of the BMW X5 or the all-round on and off-road ability of the Discovery. But the Touareg offers a different rather than less complete balance of SUV qualities, and for many it will be all they could need or want.