Review: Volkswagen Touareg (2010 – 2018)


Refined and sophisticated cabin. Strong but economical 3.0 TDI engine. Handles impressively well for a large 4x4.

Not available with seven seats. Hybrid version refined but not as punchy as the diesels.

Volkswagen Touareg (2010 – 2018): At A Glance

The first Volkswagen Touareg built up a reputation as strong but refined 4x4 that was also genuinely capable in proper off-road situations - something which can't be said for many new 4x4s on the market. This second generation Volkswagen Touareg builds on that with considerable improvements all round, including the introduction of a hybrid engine - the first time this has even been seen on a Volkswagen.

The hybrid model uses a supercharged 3.0-litre engine along with an electric motor, which combined deliver an impressive 380PS. At slow speeds it can run purely on electric mode, while the electric motor can also boost the petrol engine when accelerating. This means CO2 emissions are far lower than a similar-powered conventional petrol engine, while economy is better too.

However it's the diesel engines that impress much more and make the hybrid seem a little lacklustre. Most people choose the excellent 3.0 TDI and it's the engine best suited to the Touareg with good pulling power, a smooth nature and economy of 38.1mpg. There's also a 4.2-litre V8 diesel which is thunderously fast.

While on the outside this Touareg may not look radically different from the previous model, inside it's a very different story. The cabin has been given a major upgrade and feels far more upmarket with a modern luxury-car appearance plus superb fit and finish.

As before, the Touareg is a great all-rounder that's as happy towing a horse box as it is cruising on the motorway. It also handles amazingly well for what is a large vehicle and feels agile on corners without too much body roll.

What does a Volkswagen Touareg (2010 – 2018) cost?

List Price from £45,980
Buy new from £41,632
Contract hire from £368.40 per month

Volkswagen Touareg (2010 – 2018): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4795–4801 mm
Width 1940–2208 mm
Height 1732 mm
Wheelbase 2893–2895 mm

Full specifications

While the interior of the previous Touareg had a robust look to it with chunky switches, this newer model adds some much needed panache with a far slicker and modern layout. In fact, it's so good, it has the feeling of a luxury car with soft touch materials used throughout and great attention to detail.

There's plenty of metal trim, black gloss finish and leather upholstery which combine to give a high quality feel and it's stylish with a sporty-looking three-spoke steering wheel. The high central stack is great too as all the main controls such as the air conditioning switches, off-road controls and electric parking brake are all close at hand.

All models come heated front seats which are great in the winter and the seats themselves are very comfortable with decent lower back support for longer journeys. The advanced touchscreen sat nav system is also standard on the Touareg and it's very user friendly plus it includes a music hard drive, allowing you to download CDs onto the system.

The driving position is very car-like and when driving the Touareg it's very easy to forget that this is a large 4x4. It's good news for passengers too. Thanks to a slightly longer wheelbase than the previous model, the newer Touareg has more than enough room for four people, although the central transmission tunnel in the back means fitting three across can be a squeeze, mainly because of a lack of foot room.

The back seats slide forward or back to increase passenger room or luggage space when needed while folding down the rear seats is a doddle thanks to a button located in the boot. There are also adjustable reclining backrests. Of course practicality is a key area for 4x4s and the Touareg doesn't disappoint.

The boot can carry 580 litres of luggage - not far off the BMW X5 - and this can be increased to 1642 litres when the rear seats are folded down. The boot is useful too as there's a clever luggage system which uses belts and a sliding metal bar to stop things sliding around. Loading is easy as there's no boot lip, so you can easily take heavy or boxy items out.

Equipment from launch (August 2010):

SE is the 'entry-level' model and is well equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, chrome side window surrounds, leather upholstery, two-zone Climatronic climate control, a leather gearlever, remote central locking, cruise control, automatic lights, electrically folding and heated door mirrors, an electric parking brake, electric windows, a front central armrest, heated front seats, a multifunction display, rain sensitive wipers, sat nav, a CD stereo, ESP stability control, hill descent control, hill start assist, parking sensors and Isofix child seat mount in the outer rear seats.

Escape is designed for more demanding off-road use and comes with a rear differential lock, a central differential lock with an electronically controlled disk lock, a 100-litre fuel tank and underbody protectors in matt chrome.

Altitude gets 19-inch alloy wheels, heat insulating tinted glass, silver roof rails, sports suspension, aluminium effect pedals, Bluetooth and a multifunction steering wheel with paddle shifts.

Altitude V8 adds 20-inch alloys, xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, 12-way electric adjustment for driver and front passenger seats including air cushioned side bolsters, automatic dimming rearview mirrors, electric opening and closing tailgate, keyless locking system, panoramic sunroof and Vienna leather upholstery with comfort front seats.

Hybrid is based on the SE, but is a seperate model and comes with 19-inch wheels, xenon headlights, silver roof rails, Vienna leather upholstery with comfort front seats, 12-way electric adjustment for the driver and front passenger seats including air cushioned bolsters, Bluetooth, a multifunction steering wheel, keyless locking, a luxury dashboard and an electric tailgate.

Child seats that fit a Volkswagen Touareg (2010 – 2018)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Volkswagen Touareg (2010 – 2018) like to drive?

The big news with the second generation Touareg is the introduction of the hybrid model. This combines a 333PS 3.0-litre V6 supercharged petrol engine with an electric motor producing 47PS. Together they deliver an impressive 380bhp along with 440Nm of torque, giving it good straight-line acceleration with 0-62mph taking just 6.5 seconds - quick enough to embarrass many a hot hatch.

The engine is actually an Audi unit and this hybrid system is identical to the one used in the Porsche Cayenne. What's most impressive is how efficient it is - despite all that performance on offer it emits just 193g/km of CO2 - less than the 3.0 TDI - while fuel economy is a useful 34.4mpg. That's thanks to an engine stop/start system which cuts petrol power at low speeds (such as traffic), allowing the Touareg to run just on electric power at up to 30mph.

As with other hybrids, the batteries for the electric motor are charged by kinetic energy created from braking or coasting. Even though hybrids have been around for a while, this is still very clever stuff. There's also a display on the main screen in the cabin which shows you whether you're using electric or petrol power and how charged the batteries are.

It's good in theory, but the Touareg Hybrid isn't quite as good in the real world as it looks on paper. It often needs to be worked quite hard to get real pace, unusual considering the extra boost that comes from the electric motor.

This results in high revs and it also lacks pulling power in gear - something which is all the more highlighted once you get behind the wheel of one of the diesel models. However, it's incredibly refined and impressive in town where it moves along silently, using no fuel in the process, but the over senstive brakes are a let down, possibly an effect of the brake regeneration process.

Most people choose the 3.0 V6 TDI engine and although it's the 'entry-level' engine, it's actually the best suited to the Touareg. It has plenty of power with 240PS, but it's the 550Nm of torque which really makes it so good. It pulls effortlessly from low revs, yet remains quiet and refined, so even at high speeds there's hardly any engine noise. It certainly feels more than quick enough and is economical too with an average figure of 38.1mpg.

If you want more performance there's the thunderous 4.2 TDI. This V8 engine boasts 340PS and a mammoth 800Nm of torque which means it feels every inch as strong as those numbers suggest.

It's maybe not as quick to respond to throttle inputs as the smaller 3.0 TDI, but when the power surges in, it's like a rocket and when joining fast flowing traffic, it gains speeds immensely quickly. Like the other engines, it comes with an advanced eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard which offers smooth yet fast shifts.

If you're into more serious off-roading then the Escape model is the one to go for. It comes with the 3.0 TDI engine and has extra underbody protection plates at the front and rear. Crucially though, it gets a more advanced four-wheel-drive system called 4MOTION, which has a low-range gearbox plus centre and rear differentials. It's very impressive over tougher terrain and ideal if you have to tackle steep inclines in the winter or rutted tracks.

Of course, most Touaregs will stay firmly on the tarmac and here its equally as adept. It feels amazingly agile and realy belies its not inconsiderable size (it weighs more than two tonnes after all) feeling much like an ordinary saloon or estate car. It's actually 20 per cent lighter than the old Touareg and this certainly shows in corners where body roll is kept well in check and it feels very composed with responsive steering too.

As well as the standard spring suspension, an optional air suspension system is available. It's ideal for towing as it features a self-levelling function and can also be raised for tackling rock strewn tracks, although the standard set-up is already very impressive. 

On the motorway it's incredibly refined with virtually no engine or road noise, while the ride is exceptionally good at evening out potholes. In fact, when cruising along it feels more like a luxury saloon than a 4x4. 

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
3.0 TDI 204 40–42 mpg 8.5–8.7 s 173–184 g/km
3.0 TDI 245 39–39 mpg 7.6–8.0 s 189–193 g/km
3.0 TDI 262 41–43 mpg 7.3–7.6 s 174–180 g/km
3.0 TSI Hybrid 34 mpg 6.5 s 193 g/km
4.2 TDI 31 mpg 5.8 s 239 g/km

Real MPG average for a Volkswagen Touareg (2010 – 2018)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

23–40 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Volkswagen Touareg (2010 – 2018)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

What's the best vehicle to tow our twin-axle caravan?

We are looking to buy a vehicle to tow our twin-axle caravan. Preferably two to three years old. We have about £25k to spend. What can you recommend?
We'd suggest a Volkswagen Touareg with the 3.0-litre TDI engine. It has a maximum towing capacity of 3500kg and has lots of torque which makes towing a breeze.WeI'd recommend looking for one with the optional air suspension. Your budget will get you a late example of the last-generation model.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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