The Volkswagen Touareg is the German brand's answer to the likes of the Mercedes GLE and BMW X5, but it shares many parts with the previous Audi Q7 and the Porsche Cayenne. It's the largest and most luxurious model in the Volkswagen range, and its high price reflects this – it's also the most expensive.
Style-wise, the Touareg is clearly a VW, with all the same design cues found on everything from the Golf hatchback to the latest Tiguan, including a full-width radiator grille, slim headlamp units with smart LED daytime running lights and plenty of neat design touches. It's not the most interesting design, but it looks classy and upmarket in a restrained way.
It's the same story inside. There's a simple dashboard design with a central touchscreen infotainment system, a raised centre console and plenty of high-quality materials and leather upholstery. It's only got five seats, so you’ll have to look at something like the Audi Q7 or Land Rover Discovery for more space, but the Touareg is still very spacious with a big boot.
Under the bonnet is a 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel available in two power outputs – 201bhp or 258bhp. Volkswagen claims the Touareg will return more than 40mpg, while the 258bhp version will go from 0-62mph in just over seven seconds, so it's no slouch, despite its size.
Buyers can choose from four Touareg trim levels called SE, R-Line, R-Line Plus and Escape. The first two will appeal to those who just use the car around town and on the road in general, whereas the Escape version is aimed at going off-road, with slightly different bumpers that are better-suited to off-roading with greater approach and departure angles for steep slopes. R-Line models add large alloy wheels, a sporty-looking bodykit and sports seats that will appeal to those looking for a cheaper alternative to the Range Rover Sport and Porsche Cayenne. Top spec R-Line PLus models add even bigger alloy wheels, plus luxurious cabin materials and extra safety systems.
On the subject of price, the entry-level Touareg costs £43,900 which seems a lot for a Volkswagen. However, all models come with DAB radio, sat-nav, climate control and leather upholstery, plus it should retain a good portion of its original value over the years. The Land Rover Discovery and Porsche Cayenne will perform better in this area, though.