Today we’ve got our hands on the Touareg, the latest version of Volkswagen’s large SUV. First unveiled at the Beijing Auto Show in 2014, bi-xenon headlights are now standard, and there’s a new four-bar grille along with reprofiled bumpers front and rear. Overall the Touareg now looks just that bit wider and meaner. Under the skin, the biggest changes include a coasting function for the eight-speed gearbox and tweaks to the diesel engine, all geared towards making the Touareg more affordable to run. Starting at just over £40,000 there’s no doubting the Touareg is a premium model. Even the entry-level SE we’re driving gets leather upholstery as standard, along with dual zone climate control and this vast and easy-to-use 8-inch touch-screen. The wooden trim might not be to everyone’s taste, but there’s no doubting the quality of everything in here and all the controls are well laid-out.Space is ample, particularly shoulder room, and there’s lots of room in the back seats for children or adults. They can also slide back and forth and recline for extra comfort on long trips. But, this brings us on to our main criticism, which is the lack of a seven-seat version, as offered by most rivals. There’s 580-litres of luggage volume behind the rear seats, extending to 1,642 litres, which is less than the 650-litres found in the BMW X5 and the vast boot in the Land Rover Discovery.The Touareg shares its basic underpinnings with the Porsche Cayenne, but the two feel very different to drive. The Volkswagen has relaxed driving manners and feels much softer in its responses than the Porsche. Its meaty controls, flexible V6 diesel and smooth automatic remind us more of a luxury saloon than an off-roader, but the Touareg can get you over rough terrain. Along a twisty road the Touareg has little body roll and plenty of grip, even if there’s still a sense you are driving a large, heavy vehicle.One benefit of its size is the Touareg’s ability to haul large trailers and caravans with ease, thanks to its 3.5 tonne towing capacity. Just one engine is available, a 3.0-litre V6 diesel in either the 204bhp version we’re testing or with 262bhp. To be honest, either feels brisk enough, with the sprint to 62mph shrinking from the 8.7 seconds of this model to just over 7 seconds. The automatic gearbox changes gear swiftly and smoothly, and the coasting function allows the car to freewheel when you back off
the throttle, saving fuel. Both can return 43mpg.The Touareg is a smart looking and solid contender amongst SUVs, undercutting some of its more premium rivals on price. Our main niggles are its five-seat-only layout and smallish boot, but if these don’t concern you, the Touareg is more economical than the likes of the Discovery and a little more car-like to drive. But, what do you think of the Volkswagen Touareg? Let us know in the comments section and for more videos don’t forget to subscribe. To watch reviews of its rivals, click on the links at the end of the video. .