Cut price Audi Q7 or premium Volkswagen Touareg. That’s what we endeavour to find out with the 2023 Volkswagen Touareg 210TDI R-Line.
Sitting at the top of the range, for now (until the arrival of the fire-breathing Touareg R), the luxury VW is priced from $117,540 before on-road costs, making it one of the most expensive models in VW’s showroom today. And while the price tag might raise some eyebrows, it does have the looks and feel to match.
To set it apart from lesser variants, the 210TDI R-Line comes fitted with a sportier front bumper replete with deeper air intakes, along with model-specific 20-inch ‘Nevada’ alloy wheels and less chrome garnishes. It is the best looking model of the range to our eyes.
Compare to its Audi Q7 platform mate priced from $129,400 before on-roads (and any options from the extensive and expensive list), the Touareg R-Line certainly looks (almost!) like a bargain.
Its 3.0-litre turbocharged diesel V6 puts out 210kW at 4,000rpm and 600Nm of torque at 1,750rpm, and is matched with an eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission driving all four wheels via VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system – enough to outgun even its upmarket Audi Q7 TDI Quattro cousin by 40kW/100Nm.
In fact, most of its peers such as the Mercedes-Benz GLE 300d and BMW X5 xDrive25D only offer measly four-cylinder engines, which means the Touareg R-Line is in a league of its own.
Just two options are on offer, including the rather reasonable $6,600 Sound & Comfort Package fitted to our tester. It brings four-zone climate control, surround-view camera, Dynaudio Consequence premium sound system, heated rear window seats, and auto park assist with low-speed rear auto emergency braking. A panoramic sunroof costs a further $3,400.
There are five metallic colours to choose from (Grenadilla Black, Silicone Grey, Oyster Silver, Meloe Blue and Malbec Red) with all costing $2,200 while the Meloe Blue metallic carries a slightly higher $2,500 premium. The only standard paint is the solid Pure White.
Standard equipment includes:
- Keyless entry and start
- Air suspension with electronic damping
- Adaptive cruise control
- Eight-speaker sound system
- Head-up display
- 20-inch ‘Nevada’ alloy wheels
- Ambient lighting
- Wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Wireless smartphone charger
- Digital Cockpit Pro
- DAB+ digital radio
- R-Line Savona leather upholstery
- Heated front seats with memory and massage function
- Powered tailgate
- Built-in sunshades
- Light Matrix LED headlights.
On the safety front, the Touareg 210TDI R-Line doesn’t skimp. Safety features include:
- Autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian recognition
- Adaptive cruise control with stop & go
- Front, side and curtain airbags for front and rear passengers
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Lane-keep assist
- Driver fatigue detection
- Front- and Rear-cross traffic alert
- Reverse camera and auto park assist
For full specification, head over to the Touareg’s official page.
While it’s safe to say Volkswagen has covered all bases with this car, a front centre airbag found in many newer models today is missing due to the vehicle’s age (it was launched in 2019).
The latest Touareg is 77mm longer and 44mm wider than its predecessor, and the cabin is vast. Soft-touch materials abound, and fit and finish are solid as you’d expect from Volkswagen and at this price point.
The massive 15.0-inch infotainment touchscreen is very responsive to the touch and comes with modern graphics, while the 12.3-inch digital instrument is crisp, classy, and fully configurable with different information.
The driver’s seat is comfortable with ample adjustability, and there are lots of useful storage options, including a large central bin under the armrest and deep pockets in each door.
However, the controversial haptic controls on the steering wheel used widely in VW’s range toppers are not the most user-friendly and is prone to accidental inputs. Thankfully, VW has promised to bring back the old school steering wheel buttons in future models.
Don’t go looking for a third row of seats, either, as you’ll only find a space-saver spare tyre and an ancillary battery for the R-Line’s active stabiliser bars.
But there is ample head, knee, and toe room front and back. The back seats slide fore and aft by 160mm, and there’s a 60:40 split folding backrest and backrest angle adjustment for superb comfort.
There are also rear climate control and a dedicated 12V plug, plus two USB-C ports at the back.
Poke your head behind the electric tailgate and you’ll find 810L boot space that expands to a cavernous 1,800L by folding down the rear seats via handy pull-tabs in the boot.
The load floor can also be raised or lowered via a couple of boot mounted buttons to aid loading and unloading heavy items, thanks to the smart air suspension.
Hop into the driver’s seat and the Touareg R-Line drives and feels like the luxury SUV that it is. The standard air suspension provides impressive body control and ride quality you’ll feel like you’re driving on a cloud, even though this big boy weighs over 2.2 tonnes!
There are six on-road driving modes (normal, sport, comfort, eco, off-road and individual) and four off-road modes (offroad auto, snow, gravel and offroad individual) to choose from the centre console dial. In Comfort mode, the R-Line soaks up potholes and rough pavement with ease without feeling like you’re riding a trampoline.
Dynamic mode isn’t too shabby either and is perfectly suited to town driving, providing a still, comfortable ride with just a hint of firmness to keep body movement in check.
In fact, the degree of difference between Comfort and Dynamic mode is so subtle you could just leave it in Dynamic without needing to get on the speed dial to the chiropractor at the earliest opportunity.
On the downside, throttle response could be better as the Touareg can feel a little sluggish when taking off, with not much happening below 1,750rpm before the full whack of 600Nm kicks in. However, once the engine gets on boil, boy, does it fly!
The engine is muted but respond with a deep note when opened up. It’s all rather pleasant and sporty. Cabin refinement is on par with most luxury vehicles with little wind and road noise intrusion. Audiophiles will also happily fill the vast cabin with tunes of their choice from the excellent Dynaudio system.
The Touareg’s standard four-wheel steering not only aids handling but also reduces its turning circle by a meter, making it easier to manoeuvre in tight spaces.
The Touareg’s adaptive cruise control and active driver assist systems work with polish too. The cruise control will bring the car to a halt at lights and then automatically move on when the car in front pulls off, taking the load off the driver in most of our heavily congested capital cities.
Its lane guidance is subtle and doesn’t exhibit any nervousness on the freeway and its rear-cross traffic alert provides an extra set of ‘eyes’ when reversing out of parking spots or the driveway.
Another trick up its sleeve to shrink wrap itself around the driver is the Active Roll Stabilisation. It comprises two electromechanical anti-roll bars that can independently stiffen or slacken to help the Touareg stay flat and minimise body roll.
When taken off-road the system can even decouple entirely to maximise axle articulation to get itself out of trouble.
When it comes to towing capacity, the big German again excel with a muscular 3,500kg of braked towing capacity, matching the likes of the Toyota Landcruiser and work horses like the Hilux. However, it’s tow ball load of only 240kg might prove a challenge for anything over three-tonnes!
VW claims the diesel-powered Touareg sips just 6.8L/100km on the combined cycle. However, we averaged around 9.0L/100km over our weeklong test with seventy percent city driving.
The Touareg 210TDI R-Line comes with VW’s five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty. It requires a service every 12 months or 15,000km with the German brand offering three- or five-year capped price service plans costing $1,750 and $3,000, respectively.
Design & Comfort
Performance & Handling
Equipment & Features
- Vast, luxurious and generously equipped cabin
- Excellent blend of dynamic poise and comfort
- Excellent towing capacity
- No third-row of seats
- Languid throttle response off the mark
The 2023 Volkswagen Touareg 210TDI V6 R-Line certainly carries the hallmark of a luxury SUV, with excellent cabin comfort and technology, along with a powerful V6 engine.
Whether its six-figure price tag represents value is subjective but if you want something big, luxurious and is capable of towing your boat to the beach house on the weekends, the Touareg R-Line is certainly worth adding to your shopping list.
2023 Volkswagen Touareg 210TDI V6 R-Line pricing and specifications
|Price (excluding on-road costs):||From: $117,540|
As tested: $126,340
Oyster Silver metallic paint – $2,200
Sound & Comfort Package – $6,600
|Warranty:||5 years/unlimited kilometre|
|Warranty Customer Assistance:||1 year roadside|
|Service Intervals:||12 months/15,000km|
|Country of Origin:||Germany (Made in Slovakia)|
|Engine:||3.0-litre turbocharged V6, common-rail direct injection diesel:|
210kW @ 4,000rpm, 600Nm @ 1,750-3,000rpm
|Transmission:||8-speed torque converter automatic|
|Power-to-Weight Ratio (W/kg):||94.7|
|Combined Fuel Consumption (L/100km):||Claimed: 6.8/Tested: 8.8|
|Fuel Capacity (L):||90|
|Body:||5-door SUV, 5 seats|
|Safety:||5-star ANCAP, 8 airbags, AEB (forward and reverse), ABS, EBD, BA, VSC, Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane-keep Assist, Traffic Jam Assist, Emergency Assist, Front and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Adaptive High-Beam, Tyre Pressure Monitoring System, 360-degree camera, ISOFIX|
|Boot Space (min/max) (L):||810/1800|
|Tare Mass (kg):||2,218|
|Towing Capacity (kg):||Braked: 3,500/Unbraked: 750|
|Entertainment:||15.0-inch colour touchscreen, satellite navigation, AM/FM/DAB+, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, USB-C, AUX, iPod, 8-speaker Dynaudio Consequence Sound System|