WE TAKE THE NEW TOUAREG ON THE ULTIMATE ROAD TEST, A GRUELLING 14 HOUR-LONG ROAD TRIP TO ALMOST EVERY LEISURE DESTINATION IN ABU DHABI. SO HOW DID IT FARE?

INSIDE, THINGS ONLY GET BETTER. THE INTERIOR IS HUGELY COMFORTABLE, MODERN AND STYLISH, AND PUNCHES WELL ABOVE ITS WEIGHT WAY UP INTO PREMIUM LEVELS OF LUXURY.

My instructions were simple. We needed a suitable vehicle for our FACT Awards Road Trip, in which we would visit all 140-odd nominated venues, and we were to do it in one day – the mother of all road trips the length and breadth of Abu Dhabi with three team members, luggage and equipment.

We needed something big, comfortable, and yet easy to park or manoeuvre through busy streets and hotel forecourts, that was easy on the fuel but quick enough to get us from A to B (and the rest) in a timely manner.

It’s almost like this role was written for the Touareg… A quick call to VW confirmed that the new 2015 model was available, so I picked up our vehicle, the luxurious V6 SPORT. First impressions were good – the exterior styling, whilst not head turning, is certainly handsome, with that understated European elegance that German cars seem to define.

Inside, things only get better. The interior is hugely comfortable, modern and stylish, and punches well above its weight way up into premium levels of luxury. The dash layout is simple and straightforward, putting everything where you’d expect to find it, and the infotainment software is intuitive and easy to navigate.

We came to know the entertainment system intimately, as we spent practically the entire journey switching from smartphone to smartphone, iPhone to Samsung and back, playing whichever mp3s or internet radio stations were being selected by the in-car DJ of the hour.

Apart from slight delays updating the on-screen track info, the system handled it all without fuss, connecting to any phone we threw at it almost instantly via the USB port. Also handy was being able to charge all of our phones at the same time via the two power outlets and the USB port.

My only initial reservation about the car was the engine. Almost the entire Touareg range comes with the 280hp 3.6l V6 mated to an eight-speed auto, with the exception of a V8 in the top-spec R-Line. The V6 initially felt a bit sluggish to me, but the benefits of this engine soon became apparent. It has a claimed consumption of 9.9l per 100km/h, and
I fully believe it. Unbelievably, on our endurance road trip, we only had to top up the tank once.

It had been a pleasure to drive, with a smooth, comfortable ride, and very easy to pilot through the streets thanks to a great all- round field of vision…

As you can imagine, a 14-hour car journey can lead to frayed nerves and worn tempers amongst even the closest- knit teams. The same goes for vehicles. After a long journey in a car, seemingly minor irritations can turn into massive annoyances by the end. However, after 14 hours there was simply nothing about the Touareg that had gotten on our nerves.

Quite the opposite – we’d all developed quite an affection for the car. It had been a comfy living space that had made a potentially awful journey that much less unpleasant, with comfy seats, a good stereo, a panoramic sunroof, and plenty of pockets and cubby holes to stash junk in.

It had been a pleasure to drive, with a smooth, comfortable ride, and very easy to pilot through the streets thanks to a great all-round field of vision, assisted by the 360 degree parking cameras.

So the verdict is thus: The Touareg is the perfect white-collar workhorse. Whether you’re a crew of media types with equipment, a beleaguered parent hopping from school to shops to sports fields, or a civil engineer visiting remote sites in rugged terrain, the 2015 Touareg will deliver everything you need and more from a vehicle, and do so with a smile and a comforting pat on the back.