What is it?
The new Volkswagen Touareg, the sibling of the Porsche Cayenne – a somewhat controversial car in enthusiast circles, but one that’s dynamically impressive. This is the 3.0 TDI in SE trim, costing £38,255.
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For starters there’s a punchy but smooth V6 diesel mated to an eight-speed auto tiptronic gearbox. It’s probably not the most enticing combination you’ve read about on this website, but engine and transmission work together very well, and can hustle the two-ton Touareg along with plenty of vigour.
There’s a host of technology beneath the skin that stops the big VW feeling cumbersome, with 4MOTION four-wheel drive working with a Torsen limited-slip differential and an electronic diff lock on all four wheels. It’s no doubt a help for those who take the Touareg off road, but it’s kit that makes it handy on road, too.
On a green note, there’s a stop-start function and regenerative braking.
What’s it like to drive?
Good. And probably a lot better than you’d expect. There’s no getting away from its size and weight, yet along a tight, twisting road the Touareg shrinks around you, and when tackling corners it feels like a slightly podgy hot hatch rather than a full-size SUV. Sharing much with the Porsche Cayenne, this is perhaps no revelation, but it’s further proof that those lumbered with the need for big, practical transport needn’t despair.
The ride isn’t far short of superb. It swallowed up some incredibly gnarly Yorkshire roads when we drove it and is utterly refined when cruising. It all helps the car feel like a real luxury product.
How does it compare?
To its Cayenne compatriot, very well indeed. Despite being incredibly similar cars – the engine and gearbox are identical – the £38,255 VW is six grand cheaper than the Porsche, yet boasts two-zone climate control, a touchscreen DVD/satnav system and a luxurious leather interior. A similarly powered Range Rover Sport diesel weighs in at £46,995, yet has the same 3500kg towing limit as the far cheaper Touareg.
Anything else I need to know?
With a claimed 38.2mpg combined economy figure and 195g/km CO2 emissions, the sensible numbers are similar to those of hot hatchbacks, with tax costing £235 a year. That Range Rover will set you back £425 annually…
|Engine||V6, 2967cc, turbodiesel|
|Max power||237bhp @ 4000rpm|
|Max torque||406lb ft @ 2000rpm|
|0-60||7.8sec (claimed 0-62mph)|
|On sale||Now, £38,255|