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Volkswagen Touareg SE 3.0 V6 TDI

Click to view picture gallery“The new version of Volkswagen’s
  Touareg is in the showrooms now
  so early purchasers can buy one
  before the price goes up in January
  due to the increase in VAT

THE ALL-NEW VERSION maintains all the virtues of space, comfort, refinement and off-road and towing ability that have made it relatively popular in a conservative sort of way. The latest Touareg benefits from lightweight construction and more fuel-efficient engines and, for the first time, offers a hybrid variant. Prices range from 38,255 to 56,530.

Despite being lower and thus appearing sleeker, the new Touareg is physically larger than the previous model — 40mm longer in wheelbase and overall length it may be, but it weighs over 200kg less and is up to 20 per cent more fuel-efficient.

The drive for more efficiency is highlighted by the new 3.0-litre V6 TDI diesel and Hybrid petrol/electric models as well as the standard fitment of a new eight-speed tiptronic gearbox.

Expected to be the volume seller is the 3.0-litre 236bhp TDI that returns 38.2mpg on the combined cycle while emitting 195g/km of CO2 to place it in VED band J which is 425 for the first year and then 235 annually

The yet-to-arrive Hybrid model can out-accelerate many hot hatches with a zero to 62mph time of 6.5 seconds through its combination of a supercharged 3.0-litre V6 TSI petrol engine developing 328bhp and an electric motor generating 46bhp resulting in a total output of 374bhp and 428lb ft of torque. The Hybrid is also capable of returning 34.4mpg on the combined cycle while emitting 193g/km of CO2.

A brief test drive in
the 3.0-litre V6
turbodiesel with the
8-speed tiptronic
transmission showed
the all-new version
will be enjoyed in
many ways
A new 4.2-litre TDI V8 engine producing 340PS and 590lb ft of torque completes the range. For the record, a 3.0-litre V6 TDI with 201bhp will be offered early in 2011.

All diesel Touaregs, apart from the V8, are badged as BlueMotion Technology models and feature a number of economy-enhancing features including battery regeneration (recuperation or energy recovery during braking phases) and a Stop/Start function.

Standard equipment on the Touareg across the four ranges — SE, Altitude, Escape and Hybrid — is comprehensive. On the entry-level SE model, leather trim, touchscreen satellite navigation with DAB radio, six airbags, burr walnut interior trim, 2Zone climate control and 4MOTION four-wheel drive are all standard.

A choice of advanced new options is available including a driver's assistance pack which incorporates a range of features such as Lane Assist, Side Scan and Area View, as well as dynamic air suspension and air-conditioned seats.

A brief test drive in the best-selling Touareg SE 3.0-litre 236bhp V6 turbodiesel with the eight-speed tiptronic auto transmission showed the all-new version will be enjoyed in many ways. The extra interior space is most welcome; the engine is strong and responsive; and the eight-speed auto 'box seamless in operation.

The 38.2mpg combined cycle fuel economy is another bonus. The smart new looks are still conservative and that, too, is a plus feature given some of the brash looking offerings in this sector. The latest generation Touaregs are easily identified by the new, sharply-styled VW family 'face' they wear, pioneered with the latest Golf and Polo passenger cars.

Where Volkswagen excels these days, in addition to fuel-miserly engines and transmissions, is in their first class handling characteristics with fine lightweight floorpans and well-sorted suspension settings which combine for sharp handling but still with a comfortable ride. This model, priced at 38,255, will be the pick of the bunch and it is a very decent, big and imposing SUV. — David Miles

Volkswagen Touareg SE 3.0 V6 TDI
| 38,255
Maximum speed: 135mph | 0-62mph: 7.8 seconds | Overall MPG: 38.2mpg
Power: 236bhp | Torque: 406lb ft | CO2 195g/km