VW Touareg V6 TDI 05 | 11 | 2014Scotcars rating

    VW makes changes to its five-seat SUV: we find out if they've improved the Touareg

    OK, BEFORE WE GO ANY further, take a deep breath. This roadtest covers what must be the car with the longest name in the automotive industry: the Volkswagen Touareg V6 TDI SCR BlueMotion Technology 4Motion.

    Phew! There we go. We've cracked it. Still with us? Ok, we'll continue.

    VW has given its five-seat SUV something of a facelift — four years after the second-generation was launched — and the result is mighty impressive. The improvements certainly make the car far superior to the model it replaces, and make it one of the models which should definitely be considered if you're contemplating buying in the sector.

    And that sector's unquestionably tough. In addition to the Land Rover Discovery SDV6, there's Mercedes' ML350 BlueTec, plus the stylish and impressive X5 xDrive 30d from BMW.

    With the new well-equipped Touareg already on-sale at Scottish dealerships, and with first deliveries expected in November, it costs £44,750 and buyers have the choice — sensibly — from an all-diesel line-up.

    You don't have to look far to notice the changes to the facelifted model. In fact, VW has been somewhat aggressive in its updates which, to be honest, is no bad thing.

    The changes are instantly noticeable at the front where there's a newly-designed bumper with larger air ducts for more efficient engine bay cooling. The front-end also gets a meaner, more moody look with the relocation of the foglights which are now set low down underneath a prominent horizontal chrome strip.

    The new, sleek frontal look is further enhanced by a new wider grille which now boasts four rather than the previous two horizontal elements, plus there are stylishly reshaped headlamps which house standard Xenon main beams.

    The changes continue at the back where there's a re-profiled bumper which — like the front — features a heavily chrome strip to accentuate width. And while new tailpipes are standard, if you step up to the R-line spec you also get a shiny black valance panel which has been styled to resemble a diffuser.

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    It's difficult also to miss the striking new alloys. While 19in wheels are standard at entry-level, the new alloy range stretches to 21in diameter options.

    Ease yourself into the rather sumptuous and spacious cabin and you'll find restyled front seats with standard lumbar adjustment and a revised range of trims. There's also a lightly redesigned dashboard with new rotary switchgear.

    There's an undoubted air of luxury in VW's new SUV, and the company has also taken the step to incorporate automatic post collision brake function – as seen on all recent Volkswagen models — as standard in the new Touareg.

    Power? Well that comes from an updated and reworked version of VW's 3.0-litre V6 common-rail diesel engine which is widely used across the group. With a hike in output by 13bhp and 22lb/ft of all-important torque, it now produces 258bhp and 427lb/ft of torque.

    And utilising a combination of a selective catalytic reduction system with AdBlue urea injection technology, it'll return 42.8mpg at the pumps and emit 174g/km CO2.

    There'a also a slightly lesser-tuned version of the engine, producing 201bhp and 334lb/ft of torque: it's also good for 42.8mpg and emits 173g/km CO2. In entry-level SE spec, it costs £43,000.

    Both engines get an eight-speed auto gearbox, which now receives a coasting function as standard, and drive is channelled to all four wheels via VW's 4Motion four-wheel drive system.

    And while the 4WD coped effortlessly with a demanding offroad course during the test, VW has also turned the Touareg into something of a luxury motorway cruiser. It glided serenely over the autobahn stretch outside Munich, yet was comfortably at ease dawdling through the busy villages.

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    There's no denying too that it feels much more agile than you would expect from an offroader laden with a 2110kg kerb weight. Hustle it along winding back roads and I guarantee it'll put a smile on your face, especially if you use the 320 quid optional paddle-shift (standard on the R-Line).

    And whether the gearbox is operating in any of the three driving modes — Comfort, Normal and Sport — it shifts smoothly and intuitively.

    It's also no slouch. From standstill, 62mph comes up in 7.3secs, and it'll carry on to a max of 140mph.

    Even in SE spec — there are three trim levels, SE, Escape and R-Line — you don't struggle for kit.

    In addition to the 19in 'Salvador' alloys, you get satnav with an 8in touchscreen, DAB digital radio and Bluetooth, climate control, leather upholstery, bi-xenon headlights, front foglights, parking sensors and chrome roof rails.

    The range-topping R-Line — which, according to VW, is expected to account for 85% of sales in the UK; a fact which surprised me — has even more goodies.

    You get an impressive bodykit with bespoke bumpers, sill and wheel arch extensions, 20in alloys, 25mm-lowered sports suspension, LED daytime running lights and panoramic sunroof. Inside there's black rooflining, R-Line seats, aluminium-look pedals, heated steering wheel, electrically-operated tailgate and keyless entry and start.

    There's a £3000 premium for R-Line over the SE, but the extra goodies more than counterbalance the extra cost.

    In what has become a hugely competitive sector, VW has introduced a new model which will unnerve salesmen in Range Rover and BMW showrooms.

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    Jim McGill


    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £44,750
    Engine / Power: V6, 2967cc turbodiesel / 258bhp
    How fast?: 7.3sec; / Max 140mph
    How big/heavy?: L4801mm W2208mm H1732mm / 2110kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: 42.8mpg combined / 174g/km CO2
    InsGP/Road tax: n/a / n/a
    Alternatives: Land Rover Discovery, Mercedes ML, BMW X5

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