The Luxury SUV Reinvented? Find Out In Our VW Touareg Review
The VW Touareg
4×4 owners have had a hard time of it in recent years – thanks to the fact that SUVs are all too often singled out for criticism on the green front. The VW Touareg has never been brash – which means it has always seemed to escape the worst of that criticism. The Touareg has been more about refinement than ruggedness and fans of the sleekness and luxury of the original VW Touareg will be pleased to note that these elements are all present and correct in the latest incarnations.
When it comes to the changes that have been made, the emphasis has clearly been on efficiency. There’s a range of advanced diesel engines (and even a hybrid). A lighter body and some new stop-start technology further aid emissions and economy.
All of this comes at a price of course. If you’re looking at an outright purchase option, expect to pay in the region of £40,000 upwards. It’ll hold its value though: which is why car lease deals on the Touareg are likely to be worth a close look.
The Look and Feel
So far as the exterior is concerned, the big news is that the latest model is both bigger – and lighter than the original. The wheelbase is increased by an extra 40 mm – which has the effect of lengthening the car to 4,758 mm. At the other end, there’s a reduction in height by 20 mm. In total, there’s a reduction in weight by 200 kg.
Alloy wheels are offered across the range – starting at 19-inch for the entry-level SE model and going up to 20 inches for the Altitude and R-Line and 21 inches for the top-end R-Line V8.
The look is sporty rather than rugged; with a wide shallow grille and LED lighting.
Inside the vehicle, there’s the type of cabin that wouldn’t look out of place in any luxury-end SUV. This isn’t a people carrier by any stretch of the imagination (there’s no 7-seat option). The upside is that there is plenty of room for five occupants to recline in comfort. Storage space is generous as well: the Touareg boot gives you 580 litres – increasing to an impressive 1642 litres once the back seats are folded down.
Performance and Drive
So far as handling and general drive experience is concerned, there are no complaints (which is what you’d expect from a high-end SUV of course). The entry-level engine is the 237 bhp VW 3.0-litre V6 TDI diesel model. This is likely to be powerful enough for the vast majority of Touareg owners. For motorists looking for car lease deals on something that gives them a little more power (particularly if you want a 4×4 for towing or for lots of tough terrain) it may be worth turning to the real workhorse of the group: the 4.2-litre V8 TDI. This engine comes with 335bhp.
The hybrid version is likely to get a lot of attention. The 3.3-litre supercharged V6 petrol engine is coupled to an electric motor – and the fact that this is a ‘full hybrid’ means that the motor can operate independently of the engine up to speeds of 30 mph. The hybrid element of the Touareg will come in particularly useful in heavy town traffic – something that’s further enhanced by stop-start technology.
Surprisingly, it’s not the hybrid that’s the most fuel-efficient of the Touareg range. Coming out on top in the economy stakes is the entry-level 3.0-litre diesel at 38mpg. The Hybrid gives you 34.4 mpg – whereas the 4.2-litre V8 manages 31 mpg. Drivers who take out car leasing deals on SUVs seldom have fuel economy at the top of their priorities list. Nonetheless, the figures for the VW Touareg are respectable compared to other vehicles in the same class.
There are three trim levels (four if you count the Hybrid which has its own unique features). An eight-speed gearbox comes as standard. Sat-nav and leather trim comes with most models. At the top end is the Escape trim level: featuring five settings for the drive system, which can be flicked through according to the terrain. If you’re serious about off-road stuff, this is probably the spec level to go for.
The Final Word…
If you’re looking for car lease deals on something that doubles as a luxurious family car – but one that’s capable of going off-road when you need to, the VW Touareg is definitely worthy of attention.
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