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