From £41,1706
The Touareg is well built and comes loaded with kit, but there are better large SUVs with more attractive price tags
28 November 2014

What is it?

This is most expensive model in the recently facelifted Volkswagen Touareg line-up, all of which are now better equipped and more efficient than before.  

Under the bonnet is the more powerful of two 3.0-litre V6 diesels that complete the engine line-up. It produces 258bhp and a healthy 428lb ft of torque from a usefully low 1750rpm.

As part of the revamp, the Touareg’s standard eight-speed automatic gearbox now comes with a coasting function. This, and the Touareg’s new stop-start and battery regeneration technology, mean this particular model’s emissions are down by 11g/km over its predecessor to 174g/km, while fuel economy is 2.3mpg better at 42.8mpg combined. 

Outside, the facelift brings a revised front end, with new, larger bi-xenon headlights as standard, a new grille and a redesigned lower bumper and spoiler. At the back, the bumper has also been tweaked, with integrated LED foglights. 

The rest of the standard equipment is impressive, too. R-Line models get more aggressive styling touches, 20-inch alloy wheels, leather seats, climate control, sat-nav, automatic headlights and wipers and front and rear parking sensors.

However, priced as it is, it’s up against some talented rivals such as BMW’s X5 and Audi’s Q5

What's it like?

This 258bhp version of the V6 diesel is noticeably more muscular than the 201bhp version. It starts pulling, as promised, from low revs and delivers that power over a relatively wide band to ensure confident overtaking at all speeds.

It’s slightly coarse at its top end, sending a fizz back through the pedals and steering wheel, but it’s not bad enough to ruin what’s otherwise a relatively smooth six-cylinder experience. 

The slick eight-speed gearbox helps, too, and is rarely caught out, but the Touareg’s new coasting function interrupts the calm. The decoupling part isn’t the issue; instead, there’s a noticeable jolt that's felt inside the car when the engine and gearbox are reintroduced. The Touareg’s stop-start system feels rudimentary, too, leaving you waiting for power longer than you’d like once the brakes are released. Happily, both can be switched off. 


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There’s little to get excited about with the Touareg’s handling. Ultimately, grip is good and its steering is light enough to help tight urban parking, but there’s little feedback for the driver and its body isn’t quite as well behaved in tight bends as that of BMW’s X5. 

The ride isn’t up to the standards of the best cars in this class, either. Standard R-Line suspension is 25mm lower than the entry-level SE’s set-up, and it struggles to smooth out broken asphalt at low speeds, even if the ride as higher motorway speeds is better. 

Cabin quality isn’t class-leading, but everything feels solid and the switchgear is logically laid out. Even so, the Touareg’s touchscreen system is looking and feeling old with its dated graphics. Four adults will sit comfortably inside, although three across the back will be a bit of a squeeze. There's more load space than in an Audi Q5 but less than what's on offer in the X5.

Should I buy one?

We can see why you might be tempted. The Touareg is well built, has a strong engine and comes with lots of standard equipment. It is, however, a decent way short of being the best large SUV you can buy. 

BMW will sell you an X5 xDrive25d SE for considerably less money, and it comes with its own long list of equipment, better infotainment and a sharper drive. Its four-cylinder engine is also smooth and considerably cleaner and more frugal.

For around £3000 less, you could also drive away in a twin-turbo six-cylinder diesel Audi SQ5. It offers more power and is quicker in an outright sprint, yet it emits barely any more CO2 and uses only marginally more fuel while doing so. 

Volkswagen Touareg 3.0 V6 TDI SCR 262 R-Line 

Price £48,215; 0-62mph 7.3sec; Top speed 140mph; Economy 42.8mpg; CO2 174g/km; Kerb weight 2185kg; Engine V6, 2967cc, turbodiesel; Power 258bhp at 2500rpm; Torque 428lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox 8-speed automatic

Join the debate


28 November 2014
Autocar wrote:

For around £3000 less, you could also drive away in a twin-turbo six-cylinder diesel Audi SQ5.

Comparing list price with this type of vehicle is a bit of a nonsense. VW will sell vastly more of the Touareg R-Line 262 than Audi will SQ5 because of attractive lease rates.

28 November 2014
What about the weight?,all that mass must affect how it steers,especially if your going for it n greasy roads for instance?

28 November 2014
...diesel was quite something. Am sure they didn't sell that many. But the halo effects for the rest of the range. Quite expensive at the time, bit more than this version. But the share power on offer.


28 November 2014
... quite agree Einarbb, I have driven the V10 and it was an amazing piece of kit. Fear of maintenance complexity scared me off!
I like the Touareg and this one looks great, although since my SUV needs to be able to handle off road use, I cant see the point of 25mm lowered suspension. Since I only buy secondhand I guess one of these when two years old - with optional Air suspension would be the answer, so that you could raise the ride height when off road. Touaregs are quite good value secondhand, although they do seem to have a propensity for blowing-up their gearboxes at about 60-70k miles. Don't understand why since ML's use the same gearbox and don't have this issue,
However, the best secondhand value (if you have the balls) is the Audi Q7 6 litre V12 TDI. Less than £40 k will buy you one of these monsters (over £100k new), now that's depreciation!
If anything went wrong you would have to write the car off...or sell your soul to the Devil!!!

28 November 2014
but not only leases - you can get big discounts on these, which make it cheaper than X5. And I am not convinced 4 cylinders are the way to go (looking forward to seeing if Volvo can persuade me otherwise with the new XC90!)

28 November 2014
Can Volkswagen not afford to fund a Styling Department of some sort?

29 November 2014
Yes, remember seeing people driving large Beamers and Mercedes' clearly second or third hand, probably with lots of miles in them. And have precisely wondered about it what on Earth they do - whenever the they brake down. Owning a second hand luxury car with 100-200k miles or even more. Is most certainly not for the faint hearted. If your financial means aren't substantive.

29 November 2014
Do not assume buying second hand means having 100k+ miles on the clock! I have bought a 2 year old 3 litreTouareg with 50k on the clock and it drives like a dream. So much better than my Mercedes ML320 that it replaced.


29 November 2014
...have you had to replace the gearbox...or did the last owner as a matter of interest?
What year is it?
I am interested to hear any personal experiences.

30 November 2014
It is 2012 and has not had any replacement parts. My 2006 ML320 however had a rotten gearbox, blew bulbs like nothing else I know and the electrics had a mind of their own. It was however a very comfortable place to be annoyed in!


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