The flagship Touareg features a 258bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine, which provides all the performance you’ll need. It pulls strongly from low revs and delivers its power over a relatively wide band to ensure confident overtaking at all speeds. It is ideal for towing, too, thanks to a huge 428lb ft of torque.
The entry-level 201bhp 3.0-litre version is noticeably less muscular and produces 332lb ft of torque (albeit over an even wider spread of revs), but it’s still brisk enough.
In either specification, the Touareg performs well against its rivals and comes with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Volkswagen Touareg ride comfort
SE models offer the best ride quality and are generally comfortable
The suspension on SE versions gives a reasonably cushy ride. It can get caught out on sharp bumps, but is generally comfortable around town and on country roads. Escape models have raised suspension for off-road use, while sportier R-line gets lowered suspension and big wheels that make the ride fidgety around town. All Touaregs are comfortable and settled on the motorway, but overall they lag behind the class leaders for ride quality.
The optional air suspension improves comfort, but it’s pricey.
Volkswagen Touareg handling
Decent body control, but many rivals have superior handling
All versions of the Touareg are decently grippy and feel more nimble than the car’s size might suggest. SE versions have the most comfort-oriented suspension, but it still does a good job of stopping the car’s body from lolloping about excessively in bends. R-line models get lowered suspension for tighter body control, but while they feel slightly more nimble than other versions, a BMW X5 is more capable in corners. Considering the Touareg’s weight, though, it performs well and doesn’t feel uncomfortable or unsettled, even when being driven briskly down twisty country lanes.
The steering is accurate and light enough to help when manoeuvring, although the set-ups in several rivals are better at telling you what the tyres are up to.
Volkswagen Touareg refinement
Quiet cabin but clunky stop-start system
Some tyre noise intrudes over coarse surfaces, but wind noise is always well controlled and the engines are hushed at a cruise. Both engines are slightly coarse at high revs, but it’s not a big issue – you just get a slight buzz through the steering wheel and pedals.
The eight-speed automatic gearbox shifts smoothly most of the time, but the stop-start system (which cuts the engine when you come to a standstill and starts it again when you release the brake pedal) isn’t the most responsive around. It can leave you waiting for a little too long and you feel a slight jolt when the engine springs back to life.
All VW Touaregs have a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine. This is the lower-powered version, and while it’s brisk enough, it feels noticeably less muscular than the higher-powered one. It has marginally better CO2 emissions, although the difference isn’t enough to bring any tax benefits. This engine is not available in off-road-biased Escape trim.
Our pick 3.0 V6 TDI 262
There’s a bit of a premium for this more powerful diesel engine, but we’d recommend paying it, primarily because it brings stronger performance with no economy penalty. It’s available in every trim level, too.