Volkswagen Touareg (2018) Review

Looking for a Volkswagen Touareg (2018 on)?
Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

Volkswagen Touareg (2018) At A Glance

3/5
Honest John Overall Rating
The Volkswagen Touareg is a big, luxurious five-seater SUV that tries to temp buyers away from the more obvious choices in the class by offering its own brand of clever technology.

+Luxurious and sophisticated interior, massive levels of storage, excellent ride quality on air suspension, fully digital cabin is a tour de force.

-Most of the smart tech costs extra, only marginally cheaper than the Audi Q7, sluggish and indecisive eight-speed auto gearbox, not a seven-seater.

New prices start from £42,254, brokers can source from £38,974
On average it achieves 90% of the official MPG figure

SUVs are enormously popular at the moment, and none more so than big, luxurious ones. Buyers love their style, their desirability and their image, plus the fact that all this is combined with the practicality they need from their family car. If you’re a car manufacturer, you really can’t afford to be without one.

The Touareg is Volkswagen’s four-by-four flagship and compared with other luxury SUVs, it does things its own way. Some try to tempt you with the ultimate practicality of seven seats with clever folding mechanisms (the Touareg only comes as a five-seater), while others make claims of being the sportiest-driving car in the class. With the Touareg, though, it’s all about the tech.

Looking for a Volkswagen Touareg (2018 on)?
Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

All Touaregs have a very clever infotainment system, while the one you get on high-grade versions is nothing short of jaw-dropping. It’s roomy, practical, high in quality and good to drive, but sadly, it’s not quite as good in any of those areas as its best rivals. Unfortunately for Volkswagen’s flagship, it’s a good car that competes in a class of excellent ones, such as the Audi Q7 and BMW X5.

Tech from an infotainment point of view, mainly. Whichever version of the car you go for, you’ll get a touchscreen system of at least 9.2-inches that has all sorts of clever functionality you might not have come across before: gesture controls, various connected services, the ability to operate the system through your smartphone. 

Pick a higher spec model, though, and the cabin is transformed by an even cleverer system that combines a 15-inch infotainment touchscreen with another 12-inch one behind the steering wheel to serve as the instruments. Properly ground-breaking stuff.

There’s technology elsewhere, too. The car shares the same underpinnings as the Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus, and clever optional upgrades such as air suspension, four-wheel steering and active body roll mitigation are offered, even if they are very pricey indeed.

But even in its standard form, the car is still a very capable thing to drive. It has an athletic edge (but not as overtly sporting as a Porsche Cayenne or BMW X5) and offers reasonable comfort (although it’s not as cosseting as an Audi Q7 or Mercedes GLE). That’s some pretty esteemed company to be in, and before you go thinking that VW’s offering could be a cheap option, don’t. It really isn’t.

Unfortunately, though, there’s one important area in which the Touareg can’t match the rest: quality. Yes, it’s a very posh-feeling car overall, and most of the surfaces you look at and touch most often are as lustrous as you’d expect. Look elsewhere, though, and you’ll see signs of cost-cutting that you just don’t see in the rest, and that might leave you feeling a little short-changed.

It does have its own set of unique advantages, though. It looks good, it can tow an impressive 3.5 tonnes and as a more left-field choice, it won’t be anywhere near as ubiquitous as the rest. If that appeals to you, then the Touareg could be right up your street.

What does a Volkswagen Touareg (2018) cost?

Buy new from £38,974 (list price from £50,160)