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VW Touareg: First Drive

Date: 07 March 2007   |   Author: Tristan Young

Category: Large 4x4
Prices: £29,465-£57,535
Key Rival: Mercedes ML

VW's Touareg has been facelifted. No really, it has.

For the anoraks among us, the wing mirrors are now more aerodynamic, the rear lights are round and both bumpers are new, while the headlights now follow the styling set by the Eos, VW's Golf-sized convertible.


The German brand claims that more than 2300 parts have been changed. However, you'll never see the majority of these because they're under the car's shell.

Where you do notice a difference is when you drive the car. Although the Touareg was always a good 4x4, the new version feels of much higher quality and is far more refined.

We drove the 3.0- and 5.0-litre diesels. Where the bigger of the two, the V10, used to be verging on agricultural in some areas, particularly the gearbox and all-wheel drive system, it now handles the massive torque or shove with more ease. But it's the 3.0 TDI that will be the more appealing to business car customers. It's still swift enough, but returns 26.9mpg rather than 22.1mpg of the 5.0 TDI.

The 3.0 TDI is available in three spec levels and the mid-range SE is incredibly well appointed. Satnav, leather, and automatic gearbox and a proper switchable low-ratio 4x4 system are all standard.

In theory this should make the Touareg 3.0 good value for money, but it's let down by poor residual values. Figures from show the cost per mile is off the pace compared with its rivals.

Although the price looks sensible at £35,357, the depreciation isn't sensible at £22,156 after three years/60,000 miles. A Range Rover Sport V6 diesel HSE sheds £2000 less and as a result costs just 52.9ppm against the Touareg's 57.1ppm. The figures are even better for the new BMW X5.

The Touareg is better than its predecessor, but it's not better than its competition.