Volkswagen Touareg Altitude 4.2-litre V8 TDI

It may not look much different from its predecessor but this 4x4 has lost 200kg for a start

Price: £56,530
Top speed: 150 mph
0-62 mph: 5.8 seconds
Consumption: 31.0 mpg
CO2 emissions: 239 g/km

Volkswagen's second-generation Touareg doesn't look very different to the 2002 original, but in this case appearances are deceptive. The main clues that this is no straightforward facelift or reskin are the increases in key dimensions such as wheelbase and overall length, but perhaps the most significant change is a weight saving of over 200kg.

When the first Toureg appeared on the scene, its weight, typically 2.4 tonnes, was widely commented upon but was quickly matched or even exceeded by that of other big 4x4s such as the Land Rover Discovery 3 and Mercedes GL. That meant that the fuss faded, but all of the SUV makers probably knew that in the interests of fuel consumption and the environment, the next generation of off-roaders would have to be lighter. The latest Touareg is one of the results.

But this car doesn't just rely on weight-saving for better economy; improved engines have a role to play as well. The original Touareg was available with one of the widest engine ranges of any model; six, eight and twelve cylinder petrol engines and five, six, and ten cylinder diesels. The most powerful of these, the 6.0-litre W12 petrol, was good for 450 horsepower; at the other end of the scale, the 2.5-litre five-cylinder diesel, with 174 was a slow but surprisingly pleasant option. The extremes of the Touareg's engine range have been pruned so that the car is now available, in the UK at least, with a 3.0-litre V6 diesel, a 4.2-litre V8 diesel (tested here), and a new 3.6-litre V6 petrol hybrid option.

The V8 diesel is seen as a replacement for the previous 5.0-litre V10; despite its smaller size, it delivers more power and torque, and much better economy, but Volkswagen has still withheld the BlueMotion badge that it applies to models with a full suite of fuel-saving measures. The smaller V6 diesel does, however, qualify because it has a stop-start system and regenerative braking.

On the road, the V8 is excellent; smooth, quiet and powerful, and helped by a very good new eight-speed automatic gearbox; the only real question is whether this much go (the V8 can accelerate to 100km/h, or 62mph in a mere 5.8 seconds) is just overkill for a 4x4 in British conditions. For the rest, the latest Touareg feels very much like its predecessor, which is generally no bad thing. Roomy, understated comfort is what it's all about, and even the interior is very similar to what went before, although there are worthwhile detail improvements in terms of dashboard architecture; the sat-nav screen and controls, for example, are much better than those of the last Touareg I drove a few years ago.

In standard form, the Touareg doesn't have the low-range gearbox that is the mark of a hard-core 4x4, although past versions have generally been considered capable off-roaders. This feature is, however, available in conjunction with the 3.0 V6 diesel as part of the Escape package, which also includes slightly raised off-road suspension, a larger fuel tank and altered trim.

Volkswagen sold more than 500,000 of the first-generation Touareg, a huge figure for such a big and comparatively expensive car; it is unlikely that the new one will be any less successful.

Suggested Topics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

    Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

    £16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

    Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

    £7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Syria: Influential tribal leaders hold secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over possibility of mobilising against militants

    Tribal gathering

    Influential clans in Syria have held secret talks with Western powers and Gulf states over the possibility of mobilising against Isis. But they are determined not to be pitted against each other
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    A growing population and a compromised and depleted aquifer leaves water in scarce supply for Palestinians
    Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously

    Illnesses, car crashes and suicides

    Dozens of politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen linked to Indian bribery scandal die mysteriously
    Srebrenica 20 years after the genocide: Why the survivors need closure

    Bosnia's genocide, 20 years on

    No-one is admitting where the bodies are buried - literally and metaphorically
    How Comic-Con can make or break a movie: From Batman vs Superman to Star Wars: Episode VII

    Power of the geek Gods

    Each year at Comic-Con in San Diego, Hollywood bosses nervously present blockbusters to the hallowed crowd. It can make or break a movie
    What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?

    Perfect match

    What do strawberries and cream have to do with tennis?
    10 best trays

    Get carried away with 10 best trays

    Serve with ceremony on a tray chic carrier
    Wimbledon 2015: Team Murray firing on all cylinders for SW19 title assault

    Team Murray firing on all cylinders for title assault

    Coaches Amélie Mauresmo and Jonas Bjorkman aiming to make Scot Wimbledon champion again
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    Vasek Pospisil must ignore tiredness and tell himself: I'm in the quarter-final, baby!
    Ashes 2015: Angus Fraser's top 10 moments from previous series'

    Angus Fraser's top 10 Ashes moments

    He played in five series against Australia and covered more as a newspaper correspondent. From Waugh to Warne and Hick to Headley, here are his highlights
    Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

    An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

    Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

    The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
    How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

    Heavy weather

    What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
    World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

    World Bodypainting Festival 2015

    Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
    alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

    Don't call us nerds

    Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high