Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2
  • Innovision Cockpit is clear and easy to use
  • Well-equipped and packed with tech
  • Build and trim quality are very impressive

Your view from behind the wheel is dominated by what VW calls its Innovision Cockpit set-up. It's a pair of screens running from the instrument binnacle and right across the dash and, currently, nothing in its class comes close in terms of scale or sophistication.

Being able to group all of this technology behind a screen means the cabin is now clutter-free and elegantly realised with lots of airy space.

The Innovision system takes a leap forward in usability for three principle reasons: finally a car touchscreen operates as your phone might, swiping quickly and pinching accurately.

Tiles can be personalised easily to arrange your key data into sections. Because of the acreage, virtual function buttons are easy to access without the need to guide your finger home.

On top of this, the Touareg offers a head-up display, Night Vision (displayed on-screen) and new matrix LED headlights, which Volkswagen claims are the most advanced it has fitted to any car.

In a nutshell, it's a warm, friendly place to spend time, with big, comfortable multi-adjustable seats, and there's a huge amount of room to play with. But given the car's generous external dimensions, this shouldn't be a surprise.

Standard dial set up

Cars without the digital dashboard get a more coventional set of analogue dials with a smaller screen nestled in the middle to display sat-nav, driving or media information. We thought this less technical solution would look inferior but in a lot of ways it was quite desirable.

While the sweeping Innovision Cockpit looks very impressive indeed, it also absorbs many functions that would normally have their own button, which can be distracting at times to operate. Not so with the analogue version, which has physical controls for things like the climate control.

That does mean the central screen is slightly smaller than on the upgraded system but make no mistake, it's still pretty huge. This is something that will largely come down to preference, but the standard dials certainly shouldn't be discounted at face value.

Comfort

  • Ride quality on motorways is superb
  • Seats are well-shaped and supportive
  • Some pitter-patter on potholed roads

The overall refinement and low levels of mechanical noise are what dominate your first impressions, and that colour your overall perception of the comfort of the car. Up front, the driver's seat is supportive and large, and comes with a massive range of adjustment.

We raise this point because on a car that's tuned for cosseting motorway driving, this is very clearly important. Once underway, you'll be impressed by how compliant the ride quality is, and how this car compresses distances by being so effortlessly comfortable.

And so it should be – our model was fitted with active air suspension and weighs in at a bump-flattening 2,045kg. Aside from some pattering on broken urban roads and potholes, it's impressively smooth and flat – in short, this isn't so much a go-anywhere SUV, as a high-riding luxury car.

Inversely to what you might imagine we found lower spec cars with smaller 19-inch wheels even more luxurious, in terms of ride quality at least.