Volkswagen Touareg R: first details of this 155mph SUV

  • Volkswagen Touareg R is a 463hp plug-in hybrid
  • It's the first R-branded hybrid VW 
  • High performance, but it retains its brilliant towing capability

Volkswagen Touareg R (2020) driving

The Volkswagen Touareg R is the latest car to join the ever-growing ranks of high-performance SUVs. It promises to combine 155mph performance with 3.5-tonne towing capacity and around 30 miles of battery-only commuting ability. And, yes, it's the first plug-in hybrid (PHEV) R-branded Volkswagen.

Currently Volkswagen isn't giving away too many figures, so we don't know exactly how fast or economical it is, and how far its battery-only range is, but we do know it comes with permanent four-wheel drive out of the box and has all of the driving and parking aids that make it so popular with people who do lots of towing.

It goes up against some equally quick rivals including the Audi SQ7, BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE.Other rivals to consider are the Range Rover Sport and Jaguar F-Pace. So it's going to have to be good.

Not much detail yet – here's what we know

Volkswagen Touareg R (2020) interior view

Being an R-branded Volkswagen, it's a sporty-looking thing. It's packed with gloss black detailing and is sprinkled with R-branding inside and out. In standard form you get 21-inch alloy wheels, which can be upgraded to 22-inch rims.

It's powered by Volkswagen's familiar 2995cc petrol V6, which develops 330hp combined with 133hp of electric power when in full-on hybrid mode. Volkswagen says you're going to get impressive mid-range overtaking ability and outright acceleration.

The battery pack has a capacity of 14.1kWh and is built into a compartment under the boot floor. This helps create a clever four-wheel drive system that can deliver up to 70% of its power to the front or 80% to the rear, depending on conditions. Maximum speed in EV mode is 87mph.

What else do you need to know?

Like all other Volkswagen Touaregs, it comes with the excellent digital Innovision Cockpit, which combines a 12-inch instrument panel and 15-inch central touchscreen for its infotainment. There are all the usual hybrid drive modes and visual functions to play with, including an electric range monitor which offers the potential to shut down energy-consuming systems to extend battery range.

It also comes with VW's Trailer Assist package, which takes a lot of the stress out of manoeuvring and driving while towing. It can silently park for you in E-Mode, by simply hitting the 'Park Assist' function. These are all features that help make the Volkswagen Touareg our tow car of the year.

When will we know more?

Expect the Touareg to hit UK showrooms in the summer. We'd expect it to come in at around £70,000 but expect some competitive leasing packages to appear soon after it goes on sale – this is something that the Golf and Passat R do very well, and there's no reason to think that the Touareg will be any different in that respect.

>> Read more: The Parkers guide to towing
>> Read more: The Parkers guide to SUVs

Volkswagen Touareg R (2020) rear view