While looking for a new tow-car to drag the tin tent down to the south of France for the summer, I naturally cast a critical eye at the premium Volkswagen Touareg 4x4.
Savage initial depreciation and a glut of nearly-new examples means that these cars are readily availably from dealers and car supermarkets who are keen to deal.
The Touareg should be a bit of a bargain as high-end versions bearing badges from Audi or Porsche cost tens of thousands more than the people’s variant. Being a VW allows you to have main dealer servicing for surprisingly modest sums. As ever with servicing plans, however, check what is included and what is recommended – two very different things. Nevertheless, the VW servicing offer is definitely worthwhile, even if a sunroof service costs an extra £180.
Speaking to a friend who owns one, he vouches for the terrific driver appeal of these cars. It’s a full size 4x4, but does without the compromising third row of seats – a massively overrated feature of other 4x4s.
I could have lived with the car’s appetite for Adblue, but what astonished me was the warning from my VW dealer about fitting a towbar. Westfalia manufactured the towbar specifically for VW, but fit one in the aftermarket and you’ll invalidate your warranty. That’s because the cooling fan isn’t up to the job if you’re running the aircon while towing uphill in a warm climate. Unlikely conditions, I know, but the issue prompted VW to send owners a supplementary page to go into the handbook.
Apparently, you need to buy a new 800-watt cooling fan to replace the under-specified 600-watt item fitted at the factory. You could argue this is a belts-and-braces approach to towing, but I’ve been stuck in a queue on a French motorway toll road too many times to risk it.
The Touareg cooling fan is not fit for towing.