Touareg SE 3.0 V6 TDI Tiptronic
Touareg, a so-called legendary
people of mysterious origin
most likely a Berber ethnic group
of the Sahara
had a very apt
proverb: Better walking without
knowing where, than sitting doing
nothing. Substitute driving
and you are very much in
the 21st century...
FORTUNATELY, DRIVING IN A VOLKSWAGEN TOUAREG, even if you're not sure
where it is you're going, is no hardship whether you're crossing
a wasteland or finding your way to a restaurant that serves Soondubu in Soho
[Try Arang, 9 Golden Square, Soho Ed].
The latest Touareg, the one that hails from Volkswagen's plant in Bratislava
in the Slovak Republic, not the Sahara is a step-up
from its predecessor: it's roomier, better equipped, lighter and more economical
and even better to drive. That's meaningful progress because the original model
was itself a worthy alternative to a BMW X5. Pub quiz aficionados will want
to know that the plant also turns out Audi Q7s, Skoda Octavias and bodies for
Porsche's Cayenne. So relax; they know their stuff!
Touareg offers a range of powerplants that span the contemporary fuel spectrum
from petrol to diesel to hybrid, with prices from £38,935 for the entry-level
201bhp SE 3.0 V6 TDI to £58,690 for the Altitude 4.2 V8 TDI (the petrol/electric
Hybrid 3.0 V6 TSI costs £57,100. All Touaregs now come with VW's eight-speed
auto tiptronic transmission and grippy four-wheel drive. We 'got to grips' with
the uber-clean 236bhp £40,195 SE 3.0 V6 TDI BlueMotion model.
a range of powerplants
that span the
spectrum from petrol to
diesel to hybrid,
with prices from £38,935
The latest V6 TDI engines are significantly more efficient courtesy of VW's
BlueMotion technology which adds stop-start, a diesel particulate filter, battery
regeneration (also known as regenerative braking) and the new eight-speed tiptronic
gearbox all of which contribute to worthwhile fuel economy gains
and lower tailpipe emissions.
The sharper-suited new Touareg now has a new face one that, refreshingly
for a SUV, is not in the least 'in your face'. The new front-end owes its lines
to the so-called Volkswagen design DNA established by the Golf MkVI. And very
handsome it is too, the new Touareg looking leaner despite actually being physically
If you're harbouring the thought that that 236bhp isn't quite 'manly' enough
to haul the two-tonne Touareg around, you need to focus on the torque
406lb ft of it kicking in from 2,000rpm. Enough to do the job with one arm tied
behind its back. Not only does the new eight-speed auto 'box handle the considerable
torque with aplomb, but it does so while effecting seamlessly fast shifts.
Pressing on, there's a delightfully purposeful sense of the Touareg slurring
resolutely through the eight gears as each consecutive upshift slips seamlessly
into the next. Don't take our word for it just look at the figures:
0-62mph in 7.8 seconds (that's exactly what a Range Rover 4.4 TDV8 takes).
Staying with the comparison, this V6 TDI Touareg tops the Range Rover's maximum
speed by 5mph, at 135mph. Top speed is reached in sixth; seventh and eighth
act as overdrive gears that not only save fuel but reduce cruising engine revs
at 80mph, the V6 TDI will be spinning at a lazy 2,200rpm. And
whatever speed you're travelling at, the Touareg remains quiet, refined and
feels reassuringly stable.
away and you need to go easy on the accelerator or you'll quickly find yourself
over the limit before. Once rolling, the V6's breadth of performance is impressive
with a delightfully flexible performance spread. It's easy-going and economical
for no-hassle driving but wake it up with the loud pedal and it's instantly
alert and ready to.
The Touareg can surely
hustle in fact
it feels agile in a way
you simply wouldnt
a full-blown SUV...
good news: the Stop/Start works unnoticed. After the first twenty minutes behind
the wheel most drivers will be totally unaware of it apart from
the money it saves them at the pumps. The same goes for the regenerative braking
Dynamically, this remastered Touareg is a much more composed behemoth. Body
lean is kept tightly in check and it can surely hustle in fact
it feels agile in a way you simply wouldn't expect from a full-blown SUV. And
proves it by its unruffled stability through tight bends, which are taken flat
'n' fluent. Try it in Sport mode! The brakes substantial ventilated
discs all round scrub off speed with equanimity and if you need
to anchor seriously hard, they're always there for you.
Cushioned damping it's too compliant to be called 'soft'
contributes to the Touareg's notably fluent ride. The speed sensitive steering's
aptitude is another satisfying surprise = it's light yet accurate and makes
placing the Touareg precisely on the road a doddle.
In a Touareg, 'off-road' is never more than the press of a button away
select the appropriate setting and the Touareg's software preps all the electronic
systems (ABSPlus, stability and traction control, hill descent, tiptronic gearbox,
etc) for rocking 'n' rolling in the rough.
Combined with long wheel travel, practical approach and departure angles and
good ground clearance, the Touareg's off-road abilities are, for the average
owner, well in excess of what will ever be needed. For those who take their
off-roading seriously, Escape versions offer a heavier-duty 4x4 system above
and beyond the stand 4Motion 4XMotion.
larger but lighter, the Touareg remains a genuine five-seater
not everybody wants, or needs, seven seats apart from those unlucky enough to
be designated school runners. As far as passengers go, the 40mm-longer wheelbase
means more space all round but, chiefly, masses of extra leg room in the rear
cabin; those sitting in the back can stretch out in genuine comfort. Making
matters even better are adjustable backrests on the rear seats and a wide centre
wheelbase means more
space all round but,
chiefly, masses of
extra leg room in the
those sitting in the back
can stretch out
in genuine comfort...
the front, the dash is cleanly laid-out with centre-stage taken by a superb
new eight-inch, colour touch-screen SatNav with 3D mapping so there's no chance
of you missing a thing or of driving 'without knowing where'!
And just to be sure, the voice-activated navigation includes seven-digit postcode
search functionality and displays the surrounding area with 3D landmarks. Other
touch-activated features include radio, media, phone, climate and car functions.
Between the crystal clear, anti-reflective (and backlit by white LEDs) main
dials and better than most rivals' SatNav screens
is a seven-inch colour display that shows a wide range of information from various
self-explanatory and colour-coded menus covering navigation, audio, telephone
and trip data. First class detailing with chrome filleting to the switchgear
adds to the upmarket ambience.
Equipment levels are more than just good, with a touch-screen SatNav and digital
radio system (complete with 8-inch TFT display, 60GB hard disc and two SD card
readers), front and rear parking sensors (ultrasonic, optical and audible),
burr walnut trim, leather-rimmed multifunction wheel, two-zone climate control,
plush leather interior, 18-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, heated seats,
auto-dim rear-view mirror, auto one-shot electric windows, heated door mirrors
with powerfold (on demand and automatically on locking), drive-off auto central
locking, electric child security locks in the rear doors, heat insulating tinted
glass, auto lights and wipers, front fog lights with with static cornering function,
hill descent assist, hill start assist, rollover protection system, 4Motion
permanent four-wheel drive, heated front seats, full set of airbags, etc.
And not only is the cabin well kitted-out and well insulated from the outside
world but wherever you sit you'll be seated in big, supportive well-shaped chairs
(with, on the front seats, well-judged built-in lumbar support) that keep you
comfortable on even very long journeys.
front seats benefit from long squabs that provide excellent under knee support
and another appreciated feature are the button releases in the side of the headrests
for height adjustment so much easier than the usual nail-breaking
catches found on most headrests.
motorways can see as
much as 43.5mpg
commendable for a fast
During a hard-pressed
week on a mixed bag
of roads, we averaged
Underlining the thorough attention to detail is the large glovebox that's not
only cooled and lockable but has a special compartment for glasses which is
coated in a soft material to prevent scratching. And there's ample storage space
throughout the cabin, so keeping the interior clutter-free is easy.
high-up driving position is easy to get just right thanks to generous steering
wheel adjustment and height-adjustable front seat belts. Individual front centre
armrests are a nice touch; they glide forward by up to four inches so the driver
and front passenger can position their armrests independently.
There's no traditional handbrake to get in the way, either an
electronic parking brake (with auto-hold) does the same job, only better. Adding
to the cosiness are brilliant three-stage heated front seats and an especially
efficient 2Zone climate control system.
with the best customer-savvy SUV/Crossover vehicles these days, the Touareg's
rear seats can slide fore and aft through six inches so you can juggle leg room
with load space. The rear luggage blind also earns brownie points
for easier access or to accommodate taller items it can be slid up towards the
roof. At 580 litres the boot is more than big enough, but fold the 60:40 split
rear seats and you have a house-moving 1,642-litre load bay that's as flat as
Essex. More thoughtful load bay touches include a stainless steel load sill
protector strip and a large load-through hatch along with handy elasticated
straps for keeping smaller objects secure and upright.
As mentioned earlier, the Touareg is lighter and more economical. Officially,
cruising motorways can see as much as 43.5mpg commendable for
a fast heavyweight 4x4. Urban use is given as 32.1 and combined as 38.2mpg.
During a hard-pressed week on a mixed bag of roads, we recorded an average of
So if you're feeling hard done by because you need something big and practical
then cheer up Volkswagen have good news for you. For a start,
there's more than enough room to make even just sitting in a Touareg BlueMotion
doing nothing enjoyable; and more than enough driveability to banish those SUV
Volkswagen Touareg SE 3.0 V6 TDI Tiptronic | £40,195
Maximum speed: 135mph | 0-62mph: 7.8 seconds | Overall Test MPG:
Power: 236bhp | Torque: 406lb ft | CO2 195g/km