Volkswagen Touareg R eHybrid (2024) review
Plug-in hybrid power continues for the revised, range-topping Volkswagen Touareg.
Matt Robinson
Matt Robinson

Published on November 3, 2023

Volkswagen's revised Touareg range is still, nominally, capped by the high-performance plug-in hybrid (PHEV) R model. Packing a 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine and a 100kW electric motor, you get a combined output of 462hp. And not only that, but here in Ireland, a quirk of our CO2-based taxation system means it's the cheapest model of the facelifted Touareg you can get. So is this the one to go for, or should you be more sensible with your drivetrain option in the Volkswagen SUV?

In the metal

Like every updated Touareg, the R eHybrid receives the discreetly massaged exterior looks, centred around a new grille/headlight arrangement and full-width strips of illumination at both ends of the car - including a light-up VW boot badge. Inside, the Innovision Cockpit of digital screens forms the basis of a cabin spruced up with some extra soft-touch materials and more padding to protect the front-seat occupants' knees from annoying bumps when cornering.

The R is also every bit as spacious as the turbodiesel Touareg in terms of passenger accommodation, but like so many PHEVs it has to sacrifice boot space to accommodate battery packs and electrical components - so you get 665-1,675 litres of cargo capacity here, as opposed to 810-1,800 litres in the TDI model. Still, the R eHybrid's boot remains vast in relation to other top-end SUVs.

As befits a high-performance R Volkswagen, the 462hp Touareg has a few other details to mark it out. Most of the exterior accoutrements are finished in gloss black, while the callipers for the brakes are rendered in blue and proudly bear the 'R' emblem. Dark-red rear light clusters and the option of up to 22-inch wheels (although the R eHybrid comes on the same 20-inch items as standard as the R-Line TDI) complete the sportier exterior appearance, which can be painted in colours such as Lapiz Blue; this is a shade commonly seen on the Golf R hot hatch and is exclusive to the R in the Touareg line-up.

To go with the jazzed-up exterior, inside the R gains Puglia leather trim with contrast blue stitching and piping, as well as brushed dark aluminium dash inserts, quilted leather on the door cards, full 'ergoComfort' active climate-controlled sports seats with 14-way adjustment, brushed stainless steel pedals and 'R' logos dotted here and there in strategic, eye-catching places. It's nicely enhanced within, and there's little doubting the sheer quality of the fixtures and fittings in the Volkswagen flagship.

Driving it

Although Volkswagen has extended the PHEV line-up in other markets, with a non-R version of this drivetrain delivering 381hp, over here we only get the 462hp full-fat Touareg R eHybrid. It's a familiar power system, not least for the fact it continues unchanged from the pre-facelift model of the SUV.

So the Touareg soldiers on with the 17.9kWh battery pack, resulting in 14.1kWh usable capacity, and the 100kW electric motor. Added to the V6 engine's efforts, the system maximums here are a robust 462hp and 700Nm, though the electric driving range remains a relatively modest (by the latest PHEV standards) 48km and the CO2 emissions are rated at 51g/km.

This is a car of curious contradictions and, frankly, not enough driving excitement to merit the 'R' badging. As the underlying Touareg source material majors on comfort over speed, the R eHybrid never quite shakes off the feeling that it's happier ambling along and occasionally blasting past slower-moving traffic to remind its driver of its talents, rather than being hustled along through a series of challenging corners. Its tuned air suspension and anti-roll systems do a grand job of keeping the big Volkswagen on a relatively even keel as you power through the bends, but there's little joy to be had from driving the Touareg R in such a manner.

And while its 3.0-litre petrol-derived powertrain is certainly silky smooth, especially with that eight-speed Tiptronic automatic in the mix, at no point does it even feel anything like as powerful as its on-paper stats suggest it should. The Volkswagen will accelerate smartly if you demand full power of both its propulsion resources, yet it doesn't exactly blow you away with how it is accruing speed. In fact, driven back-to-back with the lighter TDI, which is nearly as torquey, the R doesn't feel appreciably faster at all.

Thus, with rather inert handling and not a huge amount of straight-line pace, it renders the whole R badging exercise a moot point. This feels like a fast, luxurious SUV, rather than anything with a genuine sporting pedigree to it, and so Volkswagen Ireland might have been better bringing the non-R PHEV model, with 381hp, to these shores, as it doesn't have any sort of pretence towards being a performance car. Put another way, the less potent PHEV drivetrain is a better match for the Touareg's overall character than the 462hp R application is. And so, for that matter, is the turbodiesel alternative to the eHybrid.

At least the ride and refinement of the R eHybrid remain excellent. Like the TDI, it comes on air suspension as standard and that gives the Volkswagen SUV a genuinely cosseting experience in a wide variety of circumstances, although it's not faultless; you can sometimes discern the large brakes and wheels situated at each corner of the vehicle as it encounters the severest imperfections in the road's surface.

What you get for your money

This Touareg R eHybrid represents the cheapest way into ownership of Volkswagen's halo SUV, with a starting figure of €104,775. While that's great news from the perspective of the R being cheaper than the 231hp TDI, which is another €4,300 or so on top again, it doesn't make the PHEV Touareg that cheap up against some very stern premium SUV competition. At least you do get an extensive standard equipment list for your money with the R, while it promises as low as 2.3 litres/100km of fuel consumption if you plug it in regularly, and a road tax bill of €150 per year thanks to its low CO2 output.


The Volkswagen Touareg R eHybrid is a very capable machine, but one with something of a confused identity. Is it a high-performance SUV, or is it an ecologically sound plug-in hybrid model? In attempting to try and be both, it doesn't fully succeed at either - it's not particularly exciting or fast to drive, and nor does it have the best eco-stats of some of the PHEV competition operating up at this expensive, rarefied level.

True, the Touareg R looks good on the outside, has a high-quality and spacious interior enlivened by a few R-specific details and it delivers pretty impressive levels of rolling refinement and ride comfort. But so do many of the comparatively keenly priced alternatives in this sector of the market, while the TDI engine offered elsewhere in the range feels a better fit for the Touareg as a whole.


Tech Specs

Model testedVolkswagen Touareg R eHybrid
Irish pricingTouareg range from €104,775 for R eHybrid as tested
Powertrainplug-in hybrid - 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 petrol engine, 100kW electric motor and 17.9kWh lithium-ion battery pack
Transmissionautomatic gearbox - eight-speed Tiptronic, 4Motion all-wheel drive
Body stylefive-door, five-seat SUV
CO2 emissions51g/km
Irish motor tax€150 per annum
Fuel consumption2.3 litres/100km (122.8mpg)
Electric range48km
Top speed250km/h
0-100km/h5.1 seconds
Max power462hp
Max torque700Nm
Boot space665 litres rear seats up, 1,675 litres rear seats down
Rivals to the Touareg R eHybrid (2024)