Volkswagen Touareg 3.0 V6 TDI SE diesel review

We drive the all new Volkswagen Touareg in 3-litre V6 diesel form and discover a real gem

Evo rating
Price
from £38,255
  • Great value and good to drive
  • The SUV image still ain't great

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.

Technical highlights

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…

Specifications

EngineV6, 2967cc, turbodiesel
Max power237bhp @ 4000rpm
Max torque406lb ft @ 2000rpm
0-607.8sec (claimed 0-62mph)
Top speed135mph
On saleNow, £38,255

Most Popular

2021 Mercedes C-class revealed – all-new 3-series rival to channel S-class luxury
2021 Mercedes C-class revealed - front tracking
Mercedes C-Class

2021 Mercedes C-class revealed – all-new 3-series rival to channel S-class luxury

New C-class to launch as four-cylinder only; AMGs expected to be the same
23 Feb 2021
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport 45 revealed – special edition marks 45 years of the GTI
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport 45
Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport hatchback

Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport 45 revealed – special edition marks 45 years of the GTI

The Golf GTI Clubsport 45 features aesthetic tweaks to celebrate 45 years since the icon first hit the road
26 Feb 2021
Will synthetic fuel save the performance car? The manufacturers weigh in
R8 Filler cap
Porsche

Will synthetic fuel save the performance car? The manufacturers weigh in

Porsche claims a car running on eFuel will have the same CO2 footprint as an EV, and BMW, Audi, Aston Martin and McLaren all agree
24 Feb 2021