Thanks to that 40mm increase in wheelbase, there is notably more room inside the new Volkswagen Touareg than in the previous model, particularly in its rear seats – to the extent that there is now a genuine sense of luxury to the interior in terms of its proportions, even if the design remains fairly simple at heart.
What’s not in question is the flexibility that VW has engineered into the Touareg’s cabin. The rear bench seat slides so you can trade load space for leg room, and with the rear seats down there’s a generous 1642 litres of load space. You can also specify an automatic-opening tailgate to make access to the boot that much easier if required.
What’s disappointing, however, is the absence, even as an option, of an extra pair of seats in the rear. The Touareg remains strictly a five-seater, which will limit its appeal with a certain audience, namely the school run mums and dads. With the BMW, Land Rover, Mercedes, Volvo and Audi rivals all offering seven-seat SUVs, we can’t help but think VW has missed a trick here – especially as there appears to be enough room for an extra pair of seats in the boot.
Up front, the dashboard has been redesigned with mild success; it looks clean and functional but is hardly a thing of beauty to behold, despite featuring a new eight-inch touch-screen radio/sat-nav system and a decidedly upmarket new ignition key that twists, for some strange reason, in both directions to start the engine.
Equipment levels are reasonably generous, with three trims to choose from - SE, R-Line and R-Line Plus. Entry-level models get 19in alloy wheels, permanent four-wheel-drive, bi-xenon headlights, lots of chrome exterior details, a rear diffuser, electric windows, electrically folding and heated door mirrors, cruise control, parking sensors and automatic wipers on the outside as standard. Inside there is dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, manually adjustable front seats, and Volkswagen's 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system complete with sat nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth, USB connectivity and a 60GB hard drive.
Upgrade to R-Line and you'll find 20in alloy wheels, a sporty bodykit, panoramic sunroof, keyless entry and start, sports suspension and a heated steering wheel fitted, while the range-topping R-Line Plus includes 21in alloy wheels, a 360-degree camera and electrically adjustable front seats.