Volkswagen Touareg

Black Edition V6 TDI

Volkswagen Touareg Black Edition, 2024, front
Volkswagen Touareg Black Edition, 2024, nose
Volkswagen Touareg Black Edition, 2024, side
Volkswagen Touareg Black Edition, 2024, rear
Volkswagen Touareg Black Edition, 2024, tail
Volkswagen Touareg Black Edition, 2024, interior

IF you hanker for a full-blown luxury SUV there's plenty of choice out there - and pretty much all of it comes with a hefty price tag.

Up there with the best, and costing less than some of its principal rivals, is a model that's been establishing a solid reputation for some 22 years, the Volkswagen Touareg.

Since its launch in 2002 the big 4x4 has shifted almost 1.2 million units, 58,000 of them in the UK, and having spent a week with the car during a spell of particularly wretched weather it's easy to understand why.

What you get with the Touareg is a wonderfully engineered SUV that strikes a welcome balance whether you are driving on-road, off-road, towing - or splashing through floodwater.

And a recent wave of upgrades and hi-tech enhancements has substantially boosted its desirability. Among the most eye-catching is the debut of what they call IQ.Light HD LED matrix headlights, which use 38,432 light-emitting diodes to turn night into day.

A trio of light modules in each headlamp project a channel of light ahead of the driver for maximum visibility without dazzle.

There's also lighting for cornering and bad weather, and an optional night vision set-up which detects people and animals using a thermal imaging camera and shows them on the cockpit and head-up display. All very impressive.

Systems like Park Assist Plus, enabling you to park the Touareg via a mobile phone app even if you aren't inside the vehicle, are also included while a semi-automated driving assistant called Travel Assist helps you keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front.

Otherwise the Touareg is available in the three spec levels of Elegance, Black Edition and flagship R, and with a choice of five powertrains each with a 3.0-litre V6 engine - two turbodiesels, a pair of plug-in hybrids and a turbocharged petrol unit.

Our model was the more powerful of the two diesels, producing 236PS as opposed to 231PS, and in mid-range Black Edition trim, an eight-speed automatic gearbox and 4MOTION all-wheel drive.

At £70,660, and that's before you add on extra-cost options like a power folding towbar at £1,195 and Chilli Red metallic paint with black Vienna leather upholstery at £1,010, you would expect something special.

Thankfully that's pretty much what you get with this car because it doesn't leave any boxes unticked in that it's beautifully put together, has striking looks, comfort and mountains of tech.

The Black Edition model name doesn't actually mean the car is black, more a case of black exterior trim and dark tinted windows along with other highlights like 21-inch wheels and black bumpers, roof rails and wing mirror housings.

It all makes a difference though and adds to the sense of class and elegance so evident in the latest Touareg.

Some may criticise the fact that a seven-seat variant isn't offered, but the room for occupants and boot space for five is cavernous, even if a centre rear passenger does have to sit on a slight perch.

Out on the road the big VW is energetic and smooth to drive, aided by air suspension that also allows you to raise the drive height for off-road work.

This higher powered diesel is pretty swift too, capable of 0-62 in 6.4 seconds. In fact its only downside is that the auto gearbox is a little slow to shift down if you need an instant response.

But there are driver profile settings aimed to suit every situation - Eco, Comfort, Normal and Sport - while the 4MOTION all-wheel drive modes comprise settings for On-road, Off-road, Off-road Individual and Snow.

FAST FACTS

Volkswagen Touareg Black Edition V6 TDI

Price:£70,660

Mechanical:286ps, 2,967cc, V6 TDI turbodiesel engine driving four wheels via eight-speed Tiptronic auto transmission

Max Speed:147mph

0-62mph: 6.4 seconds

Combined MPG:34.4

Insurance Group:45

C02 emissions:215g/km

Bik rating:37%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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