The RAC recently asked urban-dwelling motorists to think twice before buying an SUV. In the case of the monsters we’ve assembled here, you should make that thrice.
Still, what a lot of fun they are, starting with this, the outrageous Volkswagen Touareg R50 of 2008. The 2600kg beast is powered by a 5.0-litre diesel V10 producing 345bhp and 627lb ft torque. It can gallop from 0-62mph in just 6.7sec – faster than the Ford Focus ST of the time.
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The RAC won’t like its late-teens thirst and 315g/km CO2 output, and neither do we. However, with only around 50 examples left, it can’t do much harm, and the few survivors will be killed off by an ever-stricter MOT test. So enjoy it while you can.
The three previous keepers and current owner of our find certainly have. In their hands, this 2008 car has done 96,000 miles. Not only that, but also one of them had it chipped so that it now makes 380bhp and 734lb ft. There’s no word about its fuel consumption, but a good power chip can actually improve economy, so we wouldn’t assume the worst.
The seller doesn’t say anything about it having service history, but it seems unlikely that they would’ve left this rare bird to rot. In any case, it looks bright enough, and since they’ve gone to the trouble of installing upgraded rubber floor mats, they’ve clearly taken pride in it.
Back in 2008, Autocar praised the R50’s performance, steering, ride and handling but criticised its road noise, the engine’s “gruff chugging” and its “abysmal MPG”. We weren’t too taken with its £61,900 list price, either. That makes £17,250 for this one look reasonable – just.
Audi Q7 6.0 V12 TDI £25,995: Hard on the heels of the Touareg R50 came Audi’s V12 diesel. Performance-wise, it eclipsed the Volkswagen with 493bhp and 737lb ft of torque for 0-62mph in 5.5sec. It cost £100,000 new but our example, a 2009 car with 112,000 miles, is a quarter of that.
Toyota Land Cruiser 80 Series £8250
Max Adams: Did you know that the Ford C-Max scored 100% in What Car?’s latest Reliability Survey? Well, you do now. And my 2017 example should see James through, because with only 6200 miles showing, barely anything will have worn. So not only will it be dependable but also there won’t be any repair costs for some time – unlike with someone’s 200,000-mile choice…
Felix Page: If Autocar writers were allowed to indulge in cliché, I would tell you that 200,000 miles on a 4.2-litre Toyota Land Cruiser is just part of the running-in process; it should be nicely limbered up now. Also, the very concept of reliability is relative; I know which of these I would trust to get me across the Kalahari.
MA: You’re instead indulging in hyperbole, I see. We were asked for ultra-reliable and I’ve always found the reason that high-mileage cars are sold is due to impending maintenance costs. My C-Max avoids all that.
FP: Sure, but it does nothing to counteract the stereotype that dependable stands as a byword for boring. And yes, my 1992 Cruiser will need some TLC along the way, but anything that does go wrong could feasibly be a DIY repair job. The trouble with affordable nearly new cars like your C-Max is that one small fault or prang could justify an insurance write-off.
Verdict: I don’t want to C-Max upset, but the Toyota cruises to victory here.