Extended test: 2020 Volkswagen Touareg SEL Tech review

Tina Milton and family get acquainted with Volkswagen's large, luxury SUV

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Volkswagen Touareg specifications

Model Volkswagen Touareg V6 SEL Tech 3.0 TDI 4MOTION 231PS 8spd auto tiptronic
Price From £51,510 OTR
Price with options £59,010 OTR
Colour Aquamarine Blue Ultra Metallic
Cost options fitted Air suspension (£1,705), Park Assist including area view (£115), Towbar (£1,130), Headlight Washers (£185), Driver’s Assistance Pack Plus (£1,000), Tyre pressure monitoring system (£175), High Beam Assist (£135), ‘Vienna’ leather front ergoComfort seats with 14-way adjustment (£1,180), Memory pack (£115)
Engine 2,967c, 6-cylinder, diesel
Power output 228bhp at 3,250-4,750rpm
Torque 368 lb ft at 1,750-3,000 rpm
Weight (DIN/EU) 2,092kg / 2,167kg
Towing capacity 3,500kg (braked) / 750kg (unbraked)
Luggage capacity 1,051 / 1,910 litres (seats up/ down)
Top speed 135mph
0-62mph 7.5sec
Fuel consumption (WLTP combined cycle) 34.6mpg
CO2 emissions (WLTP) 214 g/km
VED (road tax) £1,305 for first year; £475 for years 2-6; £150 thereafter
BIK tax payable (2020/21) 37%; £3,264 (20%) or £6,528 (40%)
Insurance group 37E

Test details

Test period November 2020 – May 2021
Starting mileage 6,525 miles

VW Touareg test updates

1. December 17, 2020 Introducing the Volkswagen Touareg


December 17, 2020: Introducing the Volkswagen Touareg

2020 Volkswagen Touareg SEL Tech long-term review by Tina Milton for Sunday Times Driving.co.uk

Let’s address the name, Touareg, right from the start. Derived from a Saharan nomadic group, it’s clearly a nod to the car’s rugged, 4×4 capabilities. This seems a bit silly as most of us won’t get the chance of a desert-based test drive, but I can confidently confirm from my first impressions of the VW Touareg that there is nothing silly about the car itself. This is a full-on sensible SUV, highly functional but with a luxury feel. Big engine, spacious cabin, huge boot and, in its latest incarnation, an impressive amount of technology.

Volkswagen landed Manufacturer of the Year at our Sunday Times Motor Awards 2020, partly because of its huge investment in electric vehicles, but the big Touareg shows what it can still deliver at the other end of the automotive spectrum — a long-distance, diesel-powered luxury contender in the highly competitive large SUV segment.

From a comfort, price and practicality perspective, the Touareg most closely rivals the BMW X5, though families are also likely to look at the Volvo XC90 or Land Rover Discovery, which both offer seven seats — the Touareg is strictly a five-seater. The Skoda Kodiaq and Kia Sorento also feature a third row of seats in the boot, and would save you a bit of cash, too, but they don’t offer anything like the comfort of the big VW.

Actually, in terms of luxury, the Touareg SEL Tech has competitors a little closer to home within the Volkswagen Group: the Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne. At more than £50,000, VW certainly needs to pack a punch to sway prospective buyers.

2020 Volkswagen Touareg SEL Tech long-term review by Tina Milton for Sunday Times Driving.co.uk

With a month of driving in the tank, the Touareg has been an enjoyable addition to the family fleet. Stand out features explored and welcomed so far include: the easy to set up Apple Car Play (its real-time traffic updates beating VW’s integrated sat nav system); cruise control and lane guidance (perfect for that M4 50mph zone that has no end in sight); and park assist (an added option on the model I’m reviewing with the 360-degree birds eye view around the car, shown on the screen, which is great for squeezing into tight spots on the Ikea run).

The Touareg is a very large car, a bit of a bruiser in size to be honest, but its styling and premium trim levels compensate for this. You certainly notice the size in car parks, filling every drop of space within the white lines — quite often with a little bit of overhang, too, depending on the car park.

The size issue comes with a few advantages, making it a very comfortable ride, seamlessly riding over any lumps and bumps in the road. There are plenty of drive and suspension modes to play around with, so can suit those who want to adjust to their preference.

2020 Volkswagen Touareg SEL Tech long-term review by Tina Milton for Sunday Times Driving.co.uk

With darker days descended and the walking boots now in permanent residence in the boot, the Touareg is set for a thorough winter work-out. My husband Rob (a News UK employee) and I have two football-playing muddy boys and Jessie the Cavapoo as part of the reviewing process, too, so we’ll have a range of trials for the Touareg to navigate over the next six months.

Test period November 2020 – May 2021
Starting mileage 6,425 miles
Miles to date 612 miles

As ever with our extended tests, you can ask questions at any time via Tina’s Twitter account or the comments below.