What is it?
Given the relentless association of big SUVs with prestige and 'premium-ness' it’s a pleasure to come across an unpretentious model, especially when it has several key advantages over most peers — excellent space, comfort, and comparative lightness.
This is the cheapest version of the refreshed Touareg you can buy – a 3.0-litre SE diesel with only 201bhp, instead of the 258bhp available in other V6 models, but it’s by no means a poor relation. It comes with all conventional luxuries, such as an infotainment system that includes DAB radio and a full navigation system, plus two-zone climate control, bi-xenon headlights and 19-inch alloys. For its place in the range, the SE is a well-rounded car.
One reason why the VW Touareg is so good is that it that it provides the underpinnings of the pricier Porsche Cayenne, the profitable cornerstone of the Stuttgart-based company’s modern era, and VW has used this mid-life refresh to round off some of the car’s rougher edges and make it more civilised.
The Touareg has an imposing a shape made mostly of steel, which still manages to undercut Land Rover’s latest full-size aluminium crop on weight, possibly because it doesn’t make quite such big claims about robustness for full-on off-roading duty as its British rival, and it offers only five seats.
It has very generous interior and boot space — and especially spectacular kneeroom — yet still avoids being truly cumbersome because its actually quite compact, with an overall length of just 4.8m from headlights to towing eye.