Toned-up Touareg

VW’s new Touareg is big­ger, lighter and classier than its pre­de­ces­sor, writes James Stan­ford in Europe

Herald Sun - Motoring - - First Drive -

THE big daddy of the VW range, the Touareg SUV, just got big­ger. You might not be able to tell from the pic­tures, but the sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion Touareg cross­over wagon is ac­tu­ally larger than the pre­vi­ous model. Even so, it is up to 220kg lighter and VW has man­aged to im­prove its fuel econ­omy sig­nif­i­cantly. Its boffins have also made it ride and han­dle more like a car than a truck. The com­pany aimed to lift the qual­ity of the new ve­hi­cle and the on-road feel, mak­ing it more like an al­ter­na­tive to a lux­ury sedan than the orig­i­nal ver­sion which was de­vel­oped with a fo­cus on off-road abil­ity.

Like the first Touareg, the new model is closely re­lated to the new Porsche Cayenne and the pair also have a lot of the same com­po­nents.

It has a con­stant all-wheel drive sys­tem but the stan­dard car is not de­signed as a se­ri­ous mud-plug­ging off-roader. There is an op­tional Ter­rain Tech ver­sion with a more rugged trans­fer case, cen­tre and rear dif­fer­en­tials and re­duced gear­ing.

Some Aus­tralian mod­els will have airbag sus­pen­sion, but it is also pos­si­ble reg­u­lar spring and damper ver­sions will be stan­dard.

The new VW is on Euro­pean roads, but it won’t ar­rive in Aus­tralia un­til the first half of next year. Un­til then, VW is only sell­ing a V6 TDI ver­sion of the ex­ist­ing Touareg.

Value

V W hasn’t set the pric­ing of its new Touareg, but it is un­likely to come in higher than the cur­rent model which will mean a price be­low $75,990 for the V6 TDI.

What­ever the fi­nal pric­ing, the Touareg is go­ing to be sub­stan­tially cheaper than any Porsche Cayenne.

They do have their dif­fer­ences, and the VW doesn’t have a Porsche badge. But it is still a good way to get a sim­i­lar prod­uct for a lot less money.

Technology

ALL of the Touareg’s en­gines have ei­ther been over­hauled or re­placed. The range kicks off with a 3.6-litre V6 petrol with 206kW and 360Nm and moves up to the re­vised 3.0-litre tur­bod­iesel with 176kW and 550Nm. VW has ditched its mon­strous V10 diesel for a far more sen­si­ble 4.2-litre V8 ver­sion which gen­er­ates 250kW and a whop­ping 800Nm. The V8 diesel won’t be avail­able at launch but could come later.

There is also a petrol-elec­tric hy­brid ver­sion, but that isn’t com­ing to Aus­tralia.

Fuel ef­fi­ciency has been im­proved across the range, the petrol V6 now uses an av­er­age of 9.9 litres/100km and the diesel V6 uses a miserly 7.4 litres/100km. The Toau­reg gets all the gear you would ex­pect from a high-end pres­tige car as well as some nice ex­tras. An eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion is stan­dard, which is a first for the class. A high-res­o­lu­tion en­ter­tain­ment screen is a high­light of the in­te­rior as well as a crisp colour dis­play be­tween the speedo and ta­cho di­als.

Safety

THE Touareg is avail­able with nine airbags and has elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol on all mod­els. It can also be fit­ted with a sys­tem that lets you know if you are drift­ing out of your lane and an­other that alerts you to rapidly ap­proach­ing cars when you change lanes. Adap­tive cruise con­trol, which can brake the car to stop it from hit­ting a car in front is also avail­able.

Styling

THE de­sign­ers are clever. I as­sumed when I first saw the Touareg that is was smaller than the last model, not larger.

It has ditched the bloated look of the pre­vi­ous ve­hi­cle for a hun­kered-down de­sign with dra­matic curves. Dra­matic U shaped day­time LED run­ning lights are avail­able. The in­te­rior is classier, with a smart lay­out and high-end de­tails.

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