The sheer lack of pretence about the Touareg’s character makes it a car of which the spectacular would be a surprise.
It’s the kind of big, laid-back, premium SUV whose appeal to its customer base isn’t likely to be adversely affected at all by the news that it’s a touch reluctant to be hurried along. But when a hesitant powertrain begins to erode the overall drivability of a new car, as the Touareg’s just begins to, it’s worth pointing out.
Despite having a slightly more powerful 3.0-litre TDI diesel engine than the Q7 we tested in 2015, our Touareg test car needed a second longer than the Audi (a car with which the VW shares a platform and plenty else besides, don’t forget) to accelerate to 60mph from rest. The eight-speed automatic gearbox and Torsen four-wheel-drive system take their time to respond when you want to urge the car quickly into motion.
Likewise, if you need to pick up a bit of haste while the car’s moving, along a slip road or similar, you’ll find the transmission hesitates for a moment when you dig deep into the accelerator pedal, before dropping one too many gears and generating a surge of performance that feels quite treacly at first.
In-gear, part-throttle acceleration is certainly better, though, so most of the time the Touareg gets along with the authoritative ease that you’d want from a big SUV. It’s easy to drive in the flow of traffic and, once you’re used to the moment’s pause it needs to get going, in stop-start situations, too. And if you have something heavy to tow or tricky terrain to cover, the car’s slightly circumspect step-off might be useful to you, of course.