The Touareg has been a constant Volkswagen since 2003. For the year 2018 there’s a brand new one available but is it any better?
The Touareg was the firm’s very first off-roader and has since paved the way for what is now a four-strong SUV line-up. However, at more than eight years old the car was in big need of a refresh so for 2018 Volkswagen kicked things on by putting it on its MLB Evo platform. What this means is that it now shares its underpinnings with the likes of the Audi Q7 the Bentley Bentayga and the Porsche Cayenne. VW have also made the car slightly bigger as it’s now 77 millimetres longer and 44 millimetres wider than before. Visually it’s a more considered design than before with a wider stance and lower roofline to give it a squatter and sportier look. The wrap-around LED taillights really gives this car a purposeful stance at night while the huge horizontally slatted grille emphasises this new found dynamism.
You’ll find the biggest changes when you sit inside where the Touareg really has set a new class benchmark for interior quality and design. Integral dashboards are nothing new in this segment but VW’s Innovision Cockpit really is a cut above the rest. What it does is give the illusion of a single pane of glass running right across both screens and we have to say that it looks absolutely sensational. Not only does it look great but it works beautifully as well. The infotainment system uses a tile based setup which means you can configure all of the menus to your liking. Apple Car Play and Android Auto come as standard while real-time traffic information and sat nav are included as well. The interior quality is just superb, you’ll find swathes of leather across the dash, the doors, as well as lashings of high metal and glossy plastic - everything you touch feels built to last.
At time of typing the Touareg will launch with just one V6 diesel engine. This unit has the option of two power outputs, there’s a 228 break horse power (bhp) or 282 bhp. Before the end of the year a six cylinder petrol unit will also join the range. A V8 diesel is on the way and while a plugin version has been confirmed for China, no European launch date has yet been announced.
The car we’re reviewing for this small article has the bigger and more powerful V6 TDi engine which is as quiet and composed in this car as it is across the entire VW Group range. It will glide effortlessly on the motorway but feels sufficiently muscular to pick things up when things get twisty. The gearbox can be a bit hesitant and the throttle response is occasionally a bit sluggish but our biggest complaint, with the driving experience at least, is the really strange steering. It seems to be really inconsistently weighted and on the more twisty roads it offers very little feel or feedback. If you match this to the ginormous wheels, which somehow tend to find all the ridges and ruts in the road, you’ll find that the car just isn’t as composed as cars such as the Volvo XC90.
Take a look at the back and we can see that the Touareg really has also improved in this area. While rivals may offer seven seats Volkswagen’s engineers have chosen to keep the firm’s flagship car solely as a five-seater. You can expect to find loads of leg and head room and the doors also open nice and wide for ease of access. The Touareg’s boot is huge too and with the seats in place it will give you access to 40 litres more than you’ll find in an Audi Q7 and very nearly matches the boxier Volvo XC90 with the rear bench folded flat.
So what do we think overall? Well, the all new Volkswagen Touareg certainly sets a sky-high benchmark in the premium SUV class when it comes to interior quality and in-car technology. However, it’s a shame that it’s just not that little bit more involving to drive. Saying this, very few cars can transport you from A to B in such comfort and luxury. Our final verdict will depend very much on what it will cost UK consumers and the specs available though the initial signs are very promising indeed. If a new Touareg is a little out of your price range then why not take a look at our used Volkswagen Touareg cars for sale. We have thousands available across the entire UK. If the Touareg is a little too big then you might want to consider the smaller Volkswagen T Roc.