Touareg heads for

top of the class

Volkswagen Touareg 2018 front action
Volkswagen Touareg 2018 static
Volkswagen Touareg 2018 side action
Volkswagen Touareg 2018 fascia
Volkswagen Touareg, 2018, front
Volkswagen Touareg, 2018, instrument panel
Volkswagen Touareg, 2018, display screen
Volkswagen Touareg, 2018, rear seats
Volkswagen Touareg, 2018, rear

IT'S a combination of brawn and brain that's giving the new third generation Volkswagen Touareg a place at the top table of luxury SUVs.

The latest Touareg only hit UK streets in June and it is already loading up with a series of coveted awards for excellence.

For a model developed to both travel and tug, securing the Parkers Best Tow Car 2019 title as well as being named best in its class in the Caravan and Motorhome Club Towcar of the Year Awards represents serious endorsement of the Touareg's ability.

But it doesn't stop there, as the big Volkswagen is also amongst Europe's safest cars having received a Euro NCAP five-star rating.

It's down to a comprehensive safety package consisting of an optimised body structure, a belt, seat, and airbag network, and innovative assist systems along with high percentage results in the categories of adult occupant safety, child occupant safety, safety assist and vulnerable road users.

As a big, luxurious and beautifully engineered SUV, the Touareg is Volkswagen's flagship model and accordingly doesn't come cheap - prices starting at £48,995.

That said it's everything you would hope for and demand from a vehicle like this, even though it doesn't come with the option of seven seats.

Volkswagen are quick to assure potential customers that the Touareg represents the pinnacle of the brand's car-making capability.

And while there's a very Germanic, corporate and clean ambience to the cabin with its piano black and brushed alloy panelling, there's no denying the level of new technology and quality of the sturdy leather upholstery.

Pride of place goes to a nine-inch touchscreen with a 12-inch multi-mode instrument panel that runs in to a vast touchscreen set in the centre of the dash and angled towards the driver.

With everything from camera displays to night vision screens and virtual maps, the menus can be accessed either via steering-wheel mounted buttons or from the touchscreen itself.

Both longer and wider than its predecessor, the latest model is also hugely spacious with its adjustable rear seats and carrying capacity of 1,800 litres.

Our varaint featured the higher powered of the two diesel engines available in the Touareg, a 3.0-litre TDI unit developing 286PS and mated to an eight-speed Tiptronic auto transmission.

Smooth, strong and silent to drive, the car comes with the benefit of all-wheel steering which assists the Touareg's manoeuvrability and improves its turning circle. There's also a new suspension that controls body roll.

Official figures see the average fuel consumption set at 40.9 miles per gallon, so the 37.0 we achieved augurs well for everyday economy - especially from a car of this size.

As for towing, carvanners can make use of Volkswagen's optional Trailer Assist technology which allows the driver to forget the counter-intuitive skills traditionally associated with reversing a trailer.

It works alongside other systems like Park Assist and Rear View, activated via the rotary switch of the electric window adjustment knob.

Prices are from £48,995 for a Touareg 3.0 V6 TDI SEL 231ps model rising to £58,195 for a 3.0 V6 TDI R-Line Tech 286ps version.

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