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VW Toureg 3.0 V6 TDI R-Line

VW Toureg 3.0 V6 TDI R-Line
The Thinking Motorists’ SUV

If you don’t fancy a small SUV, the chances are - according to sales stats - that you’ll be wanting a medium sized SUV. However, quite a lot of you reckon that a medium sized SUV won’t sufficiently impress the Joneses up the road in Acacia Avenue, so that means a huge one. That’s the way the automotive mop flops these days. Luckily for you, there are many huge SUVs to choose from, many built by VW or one of their endless satellites.

It’s astounding when you stop to count how many famous brands fall under the VW umbrella. Apart from Bugatti, all VW’s other seven brands now nail together great big 4x4’s, all of which, give or take an inch here or a centimetre there, are supported by the very same platform, with quite a few sharing engines as well. Where they differ quite considerably is the price tags they carry. Some seat five, others seven.

Let me run them by you - in order of price.

Least expensive is the capacious Škoda Kodiaq with an entry price of some £25,000. Spend a bit more and this is probably all you’ll ever need. Comfortable and capable but perhaps not for you. So you might want to squint at the new kid on the block, the sharper looking Seat Terraco starts at just £28K. Next up, the subject of this month’s review - the VW Touareg from around £49K. That’s reassuringly more expensive. More of that in a bit.

Not "premium" enough to massage your vanity? Well, perhaps the huge Audi Q7 ticks the right boxes. From £52K all the way to the stratospheric end.

Now we can move up to cars that in my view should never have seen the light of day. The Porsche Cayenne is not as ugly as it was in its first incarnation and sales went on to save the company. Starts at £60K. Never a Porsche though, is it? Number six on the same platform is the Bentley Bentayga. Yup, they’ve been gone and done it. A Bentley SUV, which starts at £130K. What in the name of sweet Baby Jesus were they thinking and what was the design team on - zombie spice? No question, this hideous excrescence will find buyers in Cheshire. Footballers have no sense of irony, as we already know. I hate it.

Finally - the saddest mutation of them all is the new Lamborghini Urine Anus - sorry, the Urus. Catchy little moniker, no? Well, it says Lambo on the tin but it still shares the same platform as the Škoda et al...and its engine is a twin turbo V8 out of an Audi. Prices start at £160,000. I rather suspect that this pointless pig of a thing will become a must have item on the streets of Dubai or other oil rich Arab hell holes.

The best, by a long shot is the VW with the VW badge. The Touareg.

At launch only the V6 3.0 litre diesels were available, with 231 and 286bhp. It is the latter that I’ve just spent a week driving. A petrol V6 now joins the mix.

"Mine" had the R-Line specification job, with bigger 20 inch wheels, side skirts and flared nostrils. Oh, and inside sits the biggest infotainment screen ever.

4-Motion means all wheel drive and boy, this thing is tractable when you turn on the taps. It’s also very handsome from every angle, unlike its cousin Q7, most of which share the same engine. It’s plenty fast enough and over 350 miles of, um, brisk motoring, I managed a commendable 31mpg.

Even if you spec the Touareg with every available option, including downstairs loo and kitchen sink it’ll cost you less than half as much as the Bentley Bentayga. Oh, and the good people of Acacia Avenue will like you more.

From £49,000

As driven 58,000

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