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Volkswagen Touareg review

A classy and comfortable 4x4, but it's a little expensive to buy and there's no option for a seven seater.

For its updated Touareg, VW has focussed on making the big 4×4 a comfortable drive on the road, backed up by all of the latest hi-tech kit to make it a luxurious drive. For the most part, it has to be said that VW’s done a great job.

The high driving position and comfortable leather seats combined with the spacious cabin make even the longest journeys an exercise in relaxed luxury. It helps that VW has designed the Touareg for road journeys, with it stable and comfortable through tight bends. A rotating switch in front of the gearbox lets you adjust the ride for Comfort, Normal and Sports mode, helping you get the most from your driving mood and type of surface that you’re on.

We road tested the 4.2-litre V8, which is certainly no slouch and will hit 60mph in under six seconds. It should come as no surprise that this monster engine provides plenty of power for fast acceleration, while overtaking, even at speed, is easy. There’s also a 3.0-litre engine available, which still packs plenty of punch, but improves on fuel economy and puts the car in a lower tax bracket.

We found the eight-speed auto gearbox smooth, plus there’s an optional Tiptronic addition, so you can manually take control of gear changes by flicking the gearstick forwards for up and back for down. For driving in traffic we’re big fans of the Auto Hold feature, which automatically engages the handbrake if it senses the car’s starting to role. Combined with the automatic gearbox, slow-moving traffic is a breeze to drive through.

Volkswagen Touareg
Auto-hold means you can drive the Touareg through traffic with the greatest of ease.

One of the issues of driving such a big car is visibility, particularly of other vehicles. VW has a range of systems designed to make driving safer for you and other road users. The Driver’s Assistance pack (from £2,095) is the best option, getting you most of the kit that you could want.

It includes radar sensors for blind-spot elimination (Side scan lane assist). When turned on lights in the wing mirrors light up if there’s another vehicle coming up behind you or in your blind spot. Indicate and the respective light flashes quickly to warn you. In short, provided you indicate, with this system pulling out on another car unaware should be a thing of the past.

Volkswagen Touareg
Lights in the wing mirror warn you if there’s another vehicle in your blind spot.

Lane assist is also included in this pack, scanning the road ahead and warning you if you drift out of lane. It’s a useful extra, but it doesn’t automatically keep the car in the right lane, which rival systems, such as those on the new Ford Focus, do.

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