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Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2
  • 3.0-litre V6 petrol and diesel
  • Punchy performance, excellent refinement
  • Relaxed, rather than exciting, delivery

From launch a high-power V6 diesel was your only option, before a less punchy variant and a petrol followed later on. There's also talk of a 420hp TDI V8 turbodiesel, and a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) that goes on sale in China first.

Diesel engines

The 3.0-litre TDI diesel V6 under the bonnect of the Touareg is all-new, and it feels it. Refinement is impressive, and VW claims a 0-62mph time of 6.1 seconds with a maximum speed of 146mph in the most powerful 286hp, 600Nm version.

That's an impressive set of numbers - it doesn't feel that quick when you drive it for the first time, and you can put that down to a couple of factors: it feels a little sleepy to accelerate unless you're in Sport mode, and it's so refined, it does tend to mask its speed.

A lower-powered 231hp version of this engine offers up 500Nm of torque for a 0-62mph time of 7.5 seconds and a 135mph top speed. 

Petrol engine

Arriving after the diesels this powerful 3.0-litre V6 TSI brings suitable pace to the Touareg range - 0-62mph takes 5.9 seconds, making this the fastest car in the line-up. That said, 450Nm of torque means you have to work a little harder when the Touareg is up and moving, as it lacks the diesel's in-gear punch.

VW Touareg V6 petrol engine 2019

Still, if you don't do the miles to justify diesel costs then the petrol Touareg is, in many ways, the most satisfying. It's much quieter at tickover and feels super smooth in its power delivery, with a more evocative engine note when you really stretch it.

There's an additional penalty in terms of running costs as you'd imagine, and having to work the engine and gearbox harder than you would in either diesel means it's easy to see those MPG figures tumble.

Handling

  • This is a two-tonne car, and you won't forget it
  • Body roll is nicely contained
  • It's hard to place on narrow roads

Once familiar with the Touareg, you can play with the various drive modes – Eco, Comfort, Sport, Normal and Off-Road.

Volkswagen Touareg side profile driving shot

Rear-wheel steering points the back wheels in the opposite direction to the fronts at low speed to help manoeuvring and parking, and in the same direction at high speed to aid stability. This system really comes into its own in town, giving this full-size SUV a turning circle similar in size to a Golf, while on the motorway, it makes quick lane changes feel safer.

But on A- and B-roads, it feels like the large car it is, and you don't get the sense of agility that you'd hope for (and do get in a Range Rover Sport). The handling and steering are both excellent, but there's a heaviness and feeling of unweildiness that you can never escape from – so, it always feels like you're piloting a two-tonne-plus vehicle.