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

    Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

    £40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

    Guru Careers: Software Developer

    £35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

    Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

    Day In a Page

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?