Volkswagen is relentless in its pursuit of a high ranking in the large SUV sector and the new Touareg R-Line is proof of the company’s determination.
Based on the well-equipped Touareg Altitude, the Touareg R-Line adds luxurious extra equipment and unique R-Line styling in the battle to stand out in a crowded market.
Someone in the VW camp probably pointed out that it would be a useless exercise trying to emulate the off-road capabilities of Land Rover Discovery or Range Rover and instead said let’s produce an up-market model that’s more at home on the road.
Well they succeeded. Most models will never see a muddy track and while Touareg doesn’t excel off-road it’s capable enough thanks to its high ground clearance and 4MOTION permanent four-wheel drive.
On the road Touareg has impressive comfort levels and refinement and sharp handling for such a huge car.
Sitting on 20-inch ‘Tarragona’ alloy wheels with 275/45 R20 tyres, the R-Line stands out because of distinctive front and rear bumpers and side skirts and distinctive badging on the front wings.
Standard bi-xenon headlights with dynamic curve lighting and LED daytime running lights give the R-Line driver a commanding view of the road, and are complemented by LED rear lights and number-plate lights.
The R-Line body kit also gives you front and rear bumper and side skirt styling and unique door sill protectors with the logo. Chrome twin tailpipes add a final touch.
Many rivals come with seven seats but Touareg is strictly for five people though the long wheelbase means there’s plenty of space wherever you’re sitting. The entire rear bench can be moved back and forth to create the space where you need it most.
Folding the back seats down is at the flick of a switch to increase luggage space from 580 litres to a massive 1,642 litres. And to help drivers cope with the large dimensions when manoeuvring, rear parking sensors are fitted as standard.
On test was the 3.0litre V6 TDi PS which was fitted with a splendid eight speed automatic tiptronic system which is available at on-the-road price tag of £47,070. That seems a lot but you get a lot of car for your money and the cost compares well to some of the competition. There’s an impressive top speed of 137mph and 0-62mph in 7.6seconds, as well as combined fuel figures of 39.2mpg. But on the downside you sit in group 40E for insurance purpose and don’t protect the planet much with C02 readings of 189g/km.
You will be safe in this model with ABS and EBD braking systems standard along with an intelligent ESP system. You get curtain air bags all round, a rollover protection system and to give you an extra feel of security there’s an alarm, electronic immobiliser and child security locks.
The R-Line really competes when it comes to comfort levels. There’s a superb touch screen system incorporating SatNav and all the other electronic paraphernalia now associated with luxury travel such as Bluetooth and a multi-device interface. There’s the now expected stop/start system as well as hill descent assist and the 4MOTION permanent four wheel drive system has limited slip differential and electronic differential lock on all four wheels meaning you can feel free to go off road if you want.
Would I buy the R-Line? Probably not because I found this Volkswagen just too big. Otherwise Volkswagen have got things just right for taking on the SUV market and will certainly reach their expected targets.