VOLK­SWA­GEN TOUAREG – A GIRLS VIEW

I AL­WAYS EN­JOY GET­TING BE­HIND THE STEER­ING WHEEL OF A BRAND-NEW CAR SO ADD TO THAT, A MAKE AND MODEL I’VE NEVER DRIVEN, AND IT BE­COMES EVEN BET­TER.

New Zealand Golf Magazine - - CONTENTS - WORDS EL­IZ­A­BETH WIT­TON

Last month we had a boys opin­ion – now we hear the girls view of this pow­er­ful car.

The Volk­swa­gen Touareg is a far cry from the old ‘Beetle’ that I used to be an oc­ca­sional pas­sen­ger in dur­ing my stu­dent days. This car is big, pow­er­ful and with all sorts of ex­tras that my cur­rent car doesn’t have.

Driv­ing one around for a week was a plea­sure, both around Auck­land and on a day trip to Tau­ranga.

LOOKS

With its sleek lin­ear de­sign, the Touareg has an air of el­e­gance and so­phis­ti­ca­tion. Peo­ple looked – that’s al­ways a good sign, and when your neigh­bour who owns a BMW comes across the road to have a look then you know Volk­swa­gen has got it right.

IN­TE­RIOR

Com­fort is the first word that comes to mind, with plenty of space and func­tion­al­ity. Get­ting into a car for the first time, hav­ing that lit­tle wig­gle to make sure you’re in the best po­si­tion is sat­is­fy­ing and with elec­tron­i­cally ad­justable seats and mem­ory set­tings it was so easy to quickly get the seat into the best po­si­tion for me af­ter my hus­band had been driv­ing.

We do a lot of work from our car as we drive around to cour­ses, tour­na­ments and ap­point­ments

– it’s al­most an ex­tra of­fice space so var­i­ous func­tions that are not avail­able in all cars are im­por­tant.

The wide screen is clear and easy to use whether it be by touch, gesture or voice. As well as the cen­tral screen you can get the in­for­ma­tion you want dis­played in the dig­i­tal in­stru­ment clus­ter – even the map when us­ing the nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem. It’s worth­while hav­ing a play to see what suits you best. Us­ing a head-up dis­play was a new ex­pe­ri­ence for me but once I got used to not hav­ing to look away from the wind­screen it was very help­ful.

Con­nect­ing a smart phone was sim­ple and the mem­ory took all my con­tacts – some­thing that doesn’t al­ways hap­pen! If you en­joy lis­ten­ing to the ra­dio or some mu­sic as you travel you will not be dis­ap­pointed with the sound sys­tem.

The large cen­tral stor­age area meant we could tuck away all the things we carry around with us and the leg room for the rear seats meant that even a tall per­son would’ve been more than com­fort­able.

For car­ry­ing golf gear, the rear stor­age com­part­ment was per­fect. Not only could we eas­ily fit in a cou­ple of sets of golf clubs but we could have stopped and done some shop­ping on the way home and fit­ted that in as well. What was even bet­ter was the ‘easy open and close’ func­tion on the boot lid – great for some­one who has to stretch to close the boot.

I only had one slight nig­gle but that was be­cause I hadn’t fa­mil­iar­ized my­self com­pletely with all the fea­tures be­fore I first drove the car. I took an el­derly per­son with lim­ited mo­bil­ity out and it took a while to get her into a po­si­tion so she was able to get into the front pas­sen­ger seat. I dis­cov­ered af­ter the trip that the car has an Air Sus­pen­sion fea­ture, mean­ing the ve­hi­cle can be low­ered by as much as 50mm from the stan­dard level to make load­ing and un­load­ing eas­ier. That was a les­son on mak­ing sure you read the man­ual! There are so many fea­tures that it pays to keep go­ing back to the man­ual so that you can get the most out of them.

THE DRIVE

What can I say… com­fort­able, easy to drive, quiet, smooth, re­spon­sive – how many more su­perla­tives are there?

The all-wheel-steer­ing means the turn­ing cir­cle com­pares favourably with smaller cars so driv­ing around the city and park­ing was no prob­lem. Au­tonomous driv­ing is in no way a fea­ture (one day maybe!) but there are driver as­sis­tance sys­tems to help you, whether it be the traf­fic jam as­sist, adap­tive cruise con­trol (al­lows you to se­lect a max­i­mum speed help­ing you to ad­here to it) and park­ing as­sist. All of course work within the lim­its of the sys­tem and don’t re­place an at­ten­tive driver but they cer­tainly do help.

Driv­ing at night was a whole new ex­pe­ri­ence. The LED IQ Ma­trix head­lights meant that I wasn’t cre­at­ing glare for on­com­ing traf­fic but the road ahead was still well lit.

In­side, the am­bi­ent light­ing meant that there was enough light to see where things were without fum­bling. The Night Vi­sion was an­other fea­ture new to me. The ther­mal im­age cam­era in­te­grated in the front of the car reg­is­ters in­frared ra­di­a­tion from a liv­ing or­gan­ism. It won’t de­tect things in well-lit ar­eas but when you are in poorly lit ar­eas it makes a huge dif­fer­ence help­ing to min­i­mize po­ten­tially dan­ger­ous sit­u­a­tions – again though, it is not a re­place­ment for at­ten­tive driv­ing.

Go­ing on a long trip? The ‘Rest As­sist’ driver fa­tigue de­tec­tion is a nice touch and gives me yet an­other rea­son to stop for cof­fee. The sys­tem mon­i­tors how you’re driv­ing along with the length of time you have been driv­ing and lets you know via a mes­sage on the screen if it is time for you to have a rest – and a cof­fee.

Some­thing that is be­com­ing more im­por­tant for peo­ple these days is how eco­nom­i­cal a car is. The tur­bod­iesel en­gine of the Touareg we drove was very eco­nom­i­cal – al­ways a plus as fuel prices keep ris­ing across the coun­try.

VER­DICT

This third gen­er­a­tion of the Touareg is very wor­thy of its Volk­swa­gen flag­ship sta­tus. It’s a pow­er­ful and mod­ern SUV that has plenty of tech­nol­ogy, or as TopGear de­scribes it ‘the think­ing per­son’s large SUV’. It cer­tainly holds its own against its other more ex­pen­sive ri­vals and is a plea­sure to drive.

The tur­bod­iesel en­gine of the Touareg we drove was very eco­nom­i­cal – al­ways a plus.

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