Volkswagen Touareg

The Black Edition’s 3.0-litre V6 diesel, in midfield 282bhp spec, felt very much in tune with the Touareg’s size and weight and suited the car exceptionally well. Also boasting 442lb ft torque there is more than enough punch and more.

Only at lower speeds do you detect a bit of gruffness from the engine, but that soon fades into the background once up to speed. Even around town it’s smooth, melding nicely with the eight-speed automatic gearbox. 

Sure, in some instances the powertrain can feel a bit unresponsive: the gearbox takes a moment to find a gear when more forceful pedal inputs are applied. There are a few modes to choose from too. Sport helps to dial up performance, removing some of the lag experienced in Normal mode; although the latter feels smoother in all environments.

In the standard eHybrid, available only in £69,150 Elegance trim, it was a bit of a different experience. It uses the same set-up as the £80,370 R – a 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine paired with a gearbox-mounted electric motor – but with a lesser system output of 375bhp (compared with the R’s 455bhp).

Both hybrids retain the same 14.3kWh battery pack as before, bucking the trend from rivals who’ve increased capacity as part of recent facelifts – the X5 and GLE now offer much larger 25.7kWh and 31.2kWh respectively.

Like its diesel sibling, it too offer fantastic comfort, performance and luxury befitting its flagship status. 

What was disappointing was the Touareg’s electric performance. On the one hand, the SUV showed decent efficiency on medium-length  journeys (highs of 60-70mpg) , but the battery depleted at a rather alarming rate, leaving longer runs an economical  challenge and again raising questions  about VW’s choice to not upgrade that tiny battery.

On its own, the petrol V6 suits the Touareg, with heaps of punchy torque to keep the chunky family motor interesting. But when a potter around town returns no more than 12mpg, and highs of mid-20s are all that can be expected, it shows how needed that electrical assistance really is. 

In electric-only mode, VW quotes a range of 31 miles. We averaged 24, which was a good return, but still under half of the 51 we managed in the bigger-batteried X5 earlier this year. 

Once the battery is depleted, it’ll take 2.5hours to recharge via a 7.2kW charger (8.5h via a three-pin). The Touareg can of course also self-charge; we found it retrieved as much as five miles of  range in 30 minutes of driving.

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