One of the less common premium SUVs for sale is the Volkswagen Touareg. It's been available since 2003, and the latest third generation Touareg hit dealers in 2018. This time around, VW has moved the car even further into premium territory in an effort to appeal to buyers.
Touareg's toughest rivals are from within the VW Group, in the shape of the Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne. Both of these cars share mechanical components with the Touareg, although all three have different characters. The VW is the luxury car of the trio, while the Porsche is a sporty alternative and the Audi sits somewhere between the two, but with the added attraction of seven seats.
There are six versions of the Touareg on offer: SE, SEL, R-Line, R-Line Tech, Black Edition and the Touareg R, which could be considered a standalone model. All trims offer generous levels of equipment, with the entry-level SE receiving 19-inch alloys, a touchscreen infotainment system with gesture control, front and rear parking sensors and adaptive cruise control. SEL cars incorporate more metallic trim elements and leather upholstery, while the R-Line variants bring larger 20-inch wheels, sports suspension and luxuries such as four-zone climate control, heated front seats, wireless phone charging, a powered tailgate and park assist. As of spring 2021, R-Line Tech is now the cheapest trim to get a fully digital instrument cluster and the larger 15-inch touchscreen, leaving lesser grades feeling a little at odds with the Touareg’s luxury billing. R-Line Tech also includes electric front seats, with a memory function for the driver’s side, keyless entry and high-beam assist.
Black Edition adds 21-inch alloys, panoramic roof, air suspension and the ubiquitous VW group black styling pack.
The Volkswagen Touareg has evolved into an upmarket SUV that has the ability to battle premium rivals for quality and comfort. The cabin is beautifully built and laden with kit, and while there’s no seven-seat version, it’s more than practical enough for a family of five. And with a driving experience that emphasises the comfort of the cabin, it goes a long way to justifying its premium price tag.
Design-wise, the latest VW Touareg takes its smaller SUV siblings as a base and expands on them in every direction. It’s instantly recognisable as the firm’s largest model, with a wide grille and giant VW badge on the nose. It appears squatter than before thanks to its revised proportions, but this is a bulky car, whichever way you look at it.
Inside, the Touareg sets a high benchmark for its intuitive layout and quality materials. It not only looks great, but it’s packed with functional features and practical touches. There’s leather everywhere you look, with lashings of metal and high-quality plastic throughout. You wouldn’t expect much more if you were sitting in a car costing twice the price.
The Touareg is filled with cutting-edge technology, although thankfully a lot of this tech has already been tested, or is a development of existing systems, so it should prove reliable here. Factor in that the V6 diesel is a known unit found in other VW Group models, and the MLBevo platform is the foundation for a wide variety of other models, and the Touareg should prove to be a reliable performer.