David Motton

See other tow car reviews written by David Motton

We took a test drive in a 2015 VW Touareg 3.0 V6 TDI and can now report on its torque, kerbweight, towing limit, mpg and handling capabilities as a tow car

Overview

When it comes to big 4x4s, Volkswagen doesn’t have the heritage of Jeep or Land Rover. That doesn’t mean it isn’t able to build a thoroughly capable SUV, as the revised Touareg proves. 

The latest version of the car that first went on sale in 2010 has revised bumpers, grilles and alloy wheels, and new colours.

More significant changes are under the bonnet. UK buyers have the choice of two V6 diesels, both returning 42.8mpg on the combined cycle, with power outputs of 201bhp and 258bhp, respectively.

Towing

Mid-range torque accounts for more than power when towing, and both of these diesels have plenty. The mightier version, which we test drove, has 428lb ft of torque, and should tow any sensibly matched caravan with ease.

We have tips on how to choose a tow car on our Tow Car Awards website, covering legal towing limits, car driving licence restrictions and matching a car to a caravan. 

Our experience with the pre-facelift Touareg suggests that the new one will prove to be a stable tow car, as well as a quick one. It’s still a very heavy 4x4, with a kerbweight of 2185kg (including 75kg for the driver), which gives an 85% match figure of 1857kg. Moreover, a trailer stability programme is standard.

The car we drove was fitted with air suspension with continuous damping control, a £2170 option on the SE and Escape models, and £1590 on the top-spec R-Line. This includes automatic levelling, so it should prove to be a worthwhile option for caravanners, though it is pricey. 

The system also allows drivers to switch the dampers between ‘sport’, ‘normal’ and ‘comfort’ modes. On the smooth German roads of our test route, the ‘comfort’ setting felt plush but may prove to be too soft for its own good with a caravan in tow. ‘Normal’ felt like a better compromise.

The fact that the Touareg looks set to be a good tow car is no surprise, since Volkswagen cars do well in our Tow Car Awards, Britain's biggest tow car test programme, that dates back to 2007. It is a joint project involving Practical Caravan, What Car? and The Camping and Caravanning Club.

Everyday driving

The car felt quick on our solo drive, with smooth but steady acceleration and swift changes from the eight-speed gearbox. 

The engine is refined as well as powerful, and it doesn’t sound coarse even when revved hard. Put the gearbox in ‘sport’ mode and it changes down quickly, or the driver can take charge using the paddles that are behind the steering wheel.

Space

Inside, the Touareg is a roomy five-seater with a 697-litre boot, but it’s a shame there’s no seven-seater version.

Running costs

Prices start from £43,000 for the 204PS SE, rising to £47,500 for the 262PS R-Line. Running costs should be fairly economical, because the combined mpg quoted is 42.8. 

Technical specs

Engine size2995 cc
Kerbweight2185 kg
85% KW1857 kg
Towball limit140 kg
Maximum towing limit3500 kg
Power258.0 bhp
Torque428.0 lb ft
Official MPG42.8 mpg

Verdict

Our first drive convinced us that the new VW Touareg will prove to be a good tow car. 

With a figure of 1857kg for 85% of kerbweight, you can safely tow a Coachman Laser 620/4 caravan, for instance.

More than that, the trailer stability programme that comes as standard and the cost-option air suspension, damping control and automatic levelling should give you a comfortable ride while keeping that caravan well under control behind you. 

See more tow car reviews and tow car test videos by Practical Caravan's experts before you decide what car to buy.

You can easily compare it to rivals by looking at our Tow Car Award winners in 2014 to discover if it's the right 4x4 SUV for you. For instance, the mighty Landrover Discovery 3.0 SDV6 XS won its category as the best heavyweight tow car, but it costs more than this new Touareg. Will the lower price tip the scales in VW's favour? 

Test drive a Volkswagen Touareg at a dealership near you and let us know what you think of it!

Conclusion

Pros

  • The Touareg is a good SUV
  • It has plenty of torque
  • Automatic levelling is a useful cost option
  • It's a very heavy 4x4

Cons

  • We'd like a seven-seater version
  • Comfort damping mode is too soft
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