VOLKSWAGEN are determined to compete in all sectors and the Touareg should be considered as a genuine choice in the premium SUV battle.

Having just driven the Bluemotion SE 3 litre V6 TDi I couldn’t deny being impressed with a car loaded with extras and a superb diesel engine priced reasonably in its sector at £38,740.

What worries me though about this vehicle is how VW expect to become a real player at this level when prices for the Touareg range from £31,000 to £61,000.

The competition at this level is fierce and while the model tested is a genuine alternative I have to say I am shocked at the price of the better spec models in the range such as the 5 litre V10.

The Touareg shares a chassis with the Porsche Cayenne so the handling and steering are particularly sharp for a full-size 4x4 if not a little on the floaty side at speed and firm at low speed.

The  cabin is solid and feels built to withstand plenty of heavy duty knocking around with a  classy appearance. But at the top level Touareg comes up against some of the best in the business and I think VW will be hard pressed to compete with the comfort and quality offered by some of the bigger boys.

The steering wheel adjusts for reach and rake and the visibility is a real joy.

High carbon dioxide emissions mean that company car tax is at the highest level though combined fuel figures for the model on test are an impressive 39.8mpg – good for a vehicle of this size and level.

Every Touareg comes with twin front, side and full-length curtain airbags.

There are also ISOFIX child seat mounts as standard.

As well as four-wheel drive, there are electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes and tyre-pressure control systems to keep the car under control. All models are fitted with an alarm and deadlocks.

I was surprised to find no seven seat option in such a big vehicle but on the plus side five people can travel in absolute comfort and although there is a high loading sill for the boot there is space to spare.So yes Touareg passed the golf club challenge with flying colours.

Basic Touareg trim includes air-conditioning, four electric windows and hill descent assist Upgrading to SE adds leather upholstery, climate control, satellite-navigation and steering wheel stereo controls.

The 225PS six speed tiptronic model on test had a top speed of 126mph and 0-62mph in 8.5 seconds.

On the outside the Touareg really looks the part with 18” alloys, front fog lights and chrome trimming but priced at £38,740 I didn’t expect the metallic paint to be an extra at £665.