Volk­swa­gen Touareg

Volk­swa­gen Touareg £50,000 ap­prox.

Top Gear (Malaysia) - - Contents -

WE SAY: VW DITCHES OFF-ROAD CA­PA­BIL­ITY FOR A TECH MAKEOVER TO BRING THE FIGHT TO ITS RI­VALS

When the Touareg was launched, VW was bom­bard­ing us with potty torque fig­ures. Now it’s tech. For its MkIII, the flag­ship has sac­ri­ficed its off-road­i­ness to be­come more of a pre­mium, hi-tech SUV. Us­ing the same MLB Evo ar­chi­tec­ture as the Cayenne, Q7, Ben­tayga and Urus, the car has in­creased in size but dropped 106kg thanks to alu­minium sus­pen­sion, plus a body that’s largely alu­minium too. Be­ing 44mm wider, 77mm longer and lower than the MkII, it’s a bit eas­ier on the eye. The some­what dumpy looks have been sharp­ened up with more pow­er­ful, svelte lines.

But it’s in­side where the engi­neers have gone to town. It’s one of the big­gest cabin over­hauls from VW in decades, repo­si­tion­ing the Touareg en­tirely and bring­ing it bang in-line and even ahead of its fiercest com­peti­tors. Some in­te­rior ma­te­ri­als feel like they’ve suf­fered in qual­ity to help finance the “fully digi­tised In­no­vi­sion Cock­pit”, or as you and I would call it, two enor­mous screens stitched to­gether to look like one big one. But you’ll for­give them, as the whole thing looks fan­tas­tic and is easy to use. There’s also a tech ar­tillery to back it up. Hard­ware like Night Vi­sion to de­tect hu­mans and an­i­mals in dark­ness via a ther­mal-imag­ing cam­era; Road­work Lane As­sist, to steer, brake and ac­cel­er­ate for you up to 60kph; 4WS to make it feel nim­bler than it ac­tu­ally is; ac­tiveroll sta­bil­i­sa­tion, to mag­i­cally re­duce body roll and hide the porky 1,995 kg kerb­weight.

For now, we’ll have to make do with a pair of V6 diesels: 228bhp or 282bhp. Soon, we’ll see a 335bhp V6 petrol and a 415bhp 4.0-litre V8 TD. The Chi­nese (its big­gest mar­ket) have the op­tion of a 362bhp plug-in hy­brid ver­sion – although it’s in­con­ceiv­able it won’t be of­fered in Europe. Shame, then, the vari­able steer­ing rack is gloopy and overly light lead­ing to a lack of feel. And you can no longer spec a rear lock­ing diff. But, fully loaded, it’s a proper tech pow­er­house and a flag­ship VW can be proud of. ROWAN HORNCASTLE

TH

VER­DICT:SPECIFICATION2967cc, V6 diesel, AWD, 282bhp, 600Nm6.9L/100km, 182g/km CO2 0–100kph in 6.1secs, 238kph 1995kg

The Volk­swa­gen is just as good as ri­vals, with a high-tech in­te­rior plus en­gines for all sit­u­a­tions.

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