From £36,0406
V6 petrol power comes to Volkswagen's flagship model but fails to make a strong case for itself

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Touareg 2018 road test review hero front

The new version of the big 4x4 is now Volkswagen’s flagship model. Is the Touareg up to the task, and can it challenge its luxury rivals?

Volkswagen Touareg 3.0 TSI 2019 UK

What is it?

The impact of Dieselgate is now being seen in the most unlikely of places. The widespread switch away from the fuel since you-know-what has now even reached big, heavy SUVs like the Volkswagen Touareg, which have almost universally been fuelled by the black pump this century.

Big diesels, with huge amounts of low-end torque and significantly better real-world fuel economy, are nearly always better suited than petrols to cars like the Touareg, but here comes a surprise new arrival in the engine range of Volkswagen's range-topper: a V6 petrol.

The turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 is familiar from other big Volkswagen Group SUVs using the MLB Evo platform, including Audi’s Q7 and Q8 and the Porsche Cayenne. It’s a potent engine, producing 335bhp and 332lb ft, and drive is sent to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

The rest of the Touareg fare is present elsewhere, although the engine does bring a 50kg weight reduction over the V6 diesel and the towing capacity remains unchanged.

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

What's it like?

Driving this Touareg makes you realise why petrols have dwindled so much in this class over the years. While the V6 is quiet and refined, and has a decent punch up the rev range, your eyes are always drawn to the live fuel economy figure on the digital instrument screen. When driving around town and on shorter journeys, you’ll struggle to get that number out of the teens. In such a high-tech car to look at and sit in, this feels a good generation or two old to experience. The official WLTP combined figure of 25.6mpg is at least a pretty accurate reflection of what you can expect on a longer run

This is worth flagging so early because such running costs undermine the case for this Touareg, when the V6 diesel version offers not only far superior economy but also better driveability in such a big car. The petrol engine lacks the low-end potency so vital in getting a heavy car like this moving, and you have to kick down to really feel its reserves (and it does then feel very brisk). Its figures might look very good indeed on paper, but the engine lacks the kind of real-world, easily accessible flexibility that we’ve become used to from large-capacity diesels. Or rather the way it has been tuned with the transmission and with a stiff throttle pedal for the first 50% of travel to try to mitigate the poor economy. 

Leave the transmission in Normal driving mode and don't press the throttle hard enough to kick down and it all feels rather lazy and glacial. Moving the shift selector to Sport mode does sharpen responses, however. It seems Sport should really be the standard mode, with the default one feeling more like a power-sapping Eco mode. It's a shame the appeal of a big, powerful engine has been blunted so much in how it's been integrated into this car. 

The lighter weight over the diesel version isn’t something you can really notice in the Touareg’s handling, given the car still weighs more than two tonnes. As such, it’s all very familiar from the diesel, which is no bad thing. Its ride is smooth and comfortable and the handling predictable if never involving. Given the engine is a quiet one, this Touareg makes for a very comfortable and compelling car for covering long distances in, if a pricey one to run while doing so.

The rest of the package also carries over unchanged from the diesel version. That means everything we liked from the Touareg we road tested last year – its spacious interior, strong equipment levels and off-road potential – is present, along with everything we were less keen on: the poor usability of the 15.0in infotainment touchscreen, the sheer size of the car and an overall lack of desirability for such an expensive product.

Should I buy one?

It’s very hard to see who this particular version of the Touareg is really aimed at. If you’re really dead against the idea of diesel, it’s likely you’re not that enamoured by the idea of a £50,000-plus Volkswagen SUV whatever powers it. And if the idea of a big petrol engine appeals, the way this one has been tuned does not. 

The Touareg, interesting car as it is, wasn’t a complete package when it was launched last year, and this latest engine option does little to further its cause.

Volkswagen Touareg 3.0 TSI specification

Where Berkshire, UK Price £57,305 On sale now Engine V6, 2995cc, turbocharged, petrol Power 335bhp at 3500-4000rpm Torque 332lb ft at 1340-5300rpm Gearbox 8-spd automatic Kerb weight 2020kg Top speed 155mph 0-62mph 5.9sec Fuel economy 25.6mpg (WLTP) CO2 tbc Rivals Audi Q7, BMW X5

Join the debate

Comments
11

4 July 2019
Peak power at 3500rpm. Another typo. Should employ me to proof read.

4 July 2019
Master Bean wrote:

Peak power at 3500rpm. Another typo. Should employ me to proof read.

Why?

289

4 July 2019

People like me who wouldnt buy a deisel under any circumstances.

I think this is a great car...would have been better torque-wise if it was a V8, but the tree huggers will never allow that again.

Frankly in a country with a 70 mph speed limit why would you need any more power...smooth, quiet - 25 mpg on a run (my ML500 does that on a run easily).

This obsession around collosal torque by Autocar is BS...only has a place where the car is being regularly used to tow heavy trailers....how many Touaregs do you see being used in this way? Plenty quick enough.

4 July 2019
Diesel is clearly the better power unit on mpg and CO2 AND driveability.

4 July 2019
Cobnapint wrote:

Diesel is clearly the better power unit on mpg and CO2 AND driveability.

but less so on noise, smoothness, NOx, particulates, realibility, servicing, initial cost, enjoyment, weight, size 

4 July 2019
xxxx wrote:

Cobnapint wrote:

Diesel is clearly the better power unit on mpg and CO2 AND driveability.

but less so on noise, smoothness, NOx, particulates, realibility, servicing, initial cost, enjoyment, weight, size 

Eh? Modern diesels at this level are smooth and quiet.
Reliability? Just about to roll over 100k miles in my diesel Cayenne - it's not missed a beat.
Servicing costs are about the same as petrol. Initial cost - the diesel was the cheapest in the whole range.
Enjoyment - love the torque, handling (for its size) and smoothness.
Weight, not an issue.
Size, ditto.
Your turn.

4 July 2019

Although I believe you could make a good argument for this diesel option if you do bigg'ish miles and want a big SUV, but what Autocar fail to mention (again) is a diesel V6 could be a couple of grand more in the first place meaning it could be 3 years before you recoup your outlay.  And don't forget to factor in AdBlue, future of diesel cars in cities effecting value, realibity etc.   MPG is not everything, especially in a £60k car. 

5 July 2019
xxxx wrote:

Although I believe you could make a good argument for this diesel option if you do bigg'ish miles and want a big SUV, but what Autocar fail to mention (again) is a diesel V6 could be a couple of grand more in the first place meaning it could be 3 years before you recoup your outlay.  And don't forget to factor in AdBlue, future of diesel cars in cities effecting value, realibity etc.   MPG is not everything, especially in a £60k car. 

I couldn't put up with a dog of a car (a V6 petrol SUV) for 3 years just for the slightly warm feeling inside that I was 'probably' going to benefit at trade in time, when I could have a better driving disel car from the outset. What's the point of the extra grand in the bank if you've had to compromise to get it? None.

4 July 2019

Why do V W persist with this  car. A slow seller  and a very poor residual keeper.

Only used by V W execs  when was the last time anybody saw  a new one

4 July 2019

Given that real world fuel databases show that the actual average mpg of V6 diesel Touregs is about 27-28mpg it will be interesting to see how far away this petrol actually is.  Especially since diesel is still generally more expensive than petrol.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week