Combining the ego-free, functionality-first design ethos that defines a modern Volkswagen with the aura of style and lavishness that every successful luxury car needs is proving a very tricky task indeed for VW.

The original Phaeton didn’t manage it; the latest Arteon doesn’t quite succeed at it, either and, entering its third generation, the Touareg is still struggling with the necessary proportions of the recipe.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
An inoffensive if forgettable bid at a luxury-market breakthrough

Roomy, refined, easy to use and well stocked for off-road capability, the Touareg covers many of the bases required of a large SUV well. But, while its infotainment technology and features are impressive, it lacks the alluring desirability of a fully formed, £50,000 luxury family car.

To look at, it’s smart if derivative; to travel in, it’s spacious and pleasant, but lacking material richness; to drive, it’s competent but plain – and a bit sluggish at times. The luxury SUV segment isn’t short on cars that are more inviting to drive and to spend time in than this.

Broadly speaking, the Touareg is a respectable effort but it risks anonymity in too many ways to earn a really telling recommendation.

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