Its relationship to Audi, Bentley and Porsche makes the VW Touareg a premium bargain
Back in 2006, two things happened. Volkswagen updated the Touareg SUV and a legendary racing driver by the name of Ricky Bobby said the famous words: “If you ain’t first, you’re last.”
Outside of the Talladega Nights universe, this statement doesn’t hold too much value, especially when you’re referring to the crowded SUV segment that the VWSUV sits in. But it could still be one of the best choices if you’re looking for value near the top end.
Offered in three diesel specification levels in New Zealand, including two V6s and a
V8, the Touareg is the flagship model of Volkswagen’s SUV range. As with a lot of models under the Volkswagen Group umbrella, it shares a platform with other, more upmarket SUVs such as the Audi Q5 and Porsche Cayenne, all the way up to the Bentley Bentayga.
The two V6 models use the same
3.0- litre turbocharged V6 diesel engine, and while the TDI V6 makes do with 170kW and 500Nm, these numbers are bumped up to
210kW and 600Nm in the V6S on test. An eight- speed automatic sends power to all four wheels through VW’s 4Motion all- wheel drive system.
While it’s not one of VW’s famed dual- clutch transmissions, the eight- speed automatic is extremely swift, and always seems to find the power when needed.
Curiously, the higher- spec V6S is claimed to have a better fuel economy than the base model. After a 700km round trip including city and motorway kilometres, our V6S landed on an impressive
It’s understated, but extra visual appeal comes from the R- Line Black Package that was on our Touareg, which included the
21- inch alloy wheels.
Inside, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve stepped into something a lot more expensive. Looking more like a cinema screen than an infotainment display, the Innovision Cockpit is a sight to behold. This enormous display features a 12.3- inch digital gauge cluster as well as the 15- inch touchscreen that works as a central control panel for the whole vehicle. It takes a bit of time to learn, but ends up feeling like an iPad once you’re familiar with it.
One of the very few downsides is the lack of third- row seating. Other vehicles on the platform are offered as seven- seaters, so VW’s
decision to keep the rear area seatfree is curious.
I’d argue that the true selling power of the Touareg becomes apparent when you start looking at the competition. While our test model is $ 121,900, the Touareg range starts at $ 89,990 but competes with other European SUVs like the BMWX5 and the Mercedes- Benz GLE. A good entry point into a segment full of
$ 100k- plus models.