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

When it comes to engine range, Touareg buyers have a simple choice. There are two two diesels – a 231 and 286hp version of the same 3.0-litre V6 diesel TDI – and a 340hp 3.0-litre V6 petrol, badged the TSI.

Diesel engines

The 3.0-litre TDI diesel V6 under the bonnet of the Touareg was new when the model was launched, and has a wide range of abilities. The entry-level 231hp diesel develops 500Nm of torque for a 0-62mph time of 7.5 seconds and a 135mph top speed. It's a refined power unit, that's muted at idle and near silent at speed. On the road, its relaxed demeanor and effortless performance makes light work of the steepest incline or heaviest load.

As you'd expect, it has ample pulling power from low revs, which is useful as when it's driven in Eco mode, the transmission changes up into the highest possible gear at the earliest opportunity. Motorway cruising is effortless, and although it never feels fast, it does build speed and momentum impressively.

The higher-powered 286hp diesel shares the 231hp version's excellent refinement, but adds more urgency. It delivers bags of performance with a 0-62mph time of 6.1 seconds and a maximum speed of 146mph. That's an impressive set of numbers – and although it doesn't feel that quick when you drive it for the first time, you soon learn to use Sport mode for a little more excitement.

Volkswagen Touareg (2020) front view

Petrol engine

The powerful 3.0-litre V6 TSI brings more 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.

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.

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 or BMW X5). 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.