Volkswagen has launched its second-generation Touareg, offering big gains in emissions and driving quality over the first generation car.

The Touareg will be most popular in the 195g/km 3.0-litre diesel form sampled here. The new eight-speed automatic gearbox is smooth and rarely flustered, and ride comfort and refinement are both up with the prestige brands that dominate this large off-roader segment.

Styling is improved over the first Touareg, and its lower and wider with more rounded, subtle looks. Boot space has increased by 25 litres to 580 litres, and by 72 litres to 1642 litres with the rear seats dropped. That rear bench now slides by 160mm to offer either more rear legroom or more luggage capacity.

Although the heartland of large 4x4s is still with the main premium brands, the Touareg is much improved to drive, cleaner and more practical.

Volkswagen Touareg 3.0 TDI V6 auto
P11D price £37,775
Model price range £37,775-£56,530
Fuel consumption 38.2mpg
CO2 (tax) 195g/km (31%)
BIK 20/40% per month £195/£390
Service interval variable miles
Insurance (1-50) group 40
Warranty 3yrs/ 60,000mls
Boot space min/max 580/1642litres
Engine size/power 2967cc/240hp
Top speed/0-62mph 135mph/7.8secs
On sale October
Score 7/10
Verdict Improved and capable
large 4×4 is more efficient
yet still not cheap to operate