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First Drive: Volkswagen Touareg R-Line Tech

The story:
Volkswagen describes its third-generation Touareg large off-roader as its most advanced SUV to date and the pinnacle of its car making capabilities.
Category:Large off-roader
Key rival:Audi Q7
Volkswagen Touareg R-Line Tech 3.0 TDI V6 286hp
On sale:Now

This new Volkswagen Touareg, the company’s biggest model, is described by the brand as the “pinnacle” of its car-making capabilities, and introduces new technology to the VW range.

Coming with a choice of 231hp or 286hp 3.0-litre diesel engines, both of which offer the same 173g/km emissions figure, the new five-seat off-roader is offered with three trim levels of SEL, R-Line and R-Line Tech. Prices kick off at £47,700 and topping out at £56,900 before any options list dabbling is added.All-new VW Touareg 2018 - Image 4

The R-Line Tech, as its name betrays, exhibits the latest technology. It gets the huge 15-inch infotainment screen that blends into the 12-inch instrument display that, combined, VW calls the Innovision Cockpit. It gives a great view of the navigation screen, but is, if anything, too big when you’ve just got the radio display on the screen, and is at least as large as screens need to be in cars.

It’s impressive, though. The satnav also includes a self-learning function that can recognise where alternatives might be required, and can offer 3D displays of cities.

The new Touareg handles well for a big off-roader, offering a pleasing lack or wallow, body roll or off-putting behaviour that might be expected from something tipping the scales at more than two tonnes. The 286hp diesel in our test vehicle has plenty of punch to it, and the Touareg’s four-wheel-steering system, which is a £2370 option, can cut the turning circle to equal a Golf.

The inside is as impressively plush as a car at this price bracket should be, so very pleasant and comfortable, while offering huge amounts of rear passenger space and a massive 810-litre luggage area.All-new VW Touareg 2018 - Image 5The Touareg sits well above the Kia Sorento or Hyundai Santa Fe for price and appeal, and in fact its biggest challenge comes from within its own stable, with VW-owned Audi’s Q7 S-Line Tech being not too far off on price, and running it close for whole-life costs, while also offering a third row of seats that the VW doesn’t.


Paul Barker

The verdict

The new Touareg is rightly described as the pinnacle by VW, and it drives nicely, looks great and is packed with technology at the higher trim levels. But it’s also not cheap, and efficiency is an issue as it sits in the maximum BIK band.