Weekend Herald

FAM­ILY VALUE

Its re­la­tion­ship to Audi, Bentley and Porsche makes the VW Touareg a pre­mium bar­gain

- An­drewAn SL SLUYS Cars · Consumer Goods · Automotive Industry · Industries · Volkswagen · Volkswagen · Volkswagen Touareg · Audi · Porsche Automobil Holding SE · Porsche Cayenne · iPad · Audi Q5 · Bentley Bentayga · Bentley Motors

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

7.7l/ 100km.

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.

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 ?? Photos / Kal­say Jay ??
Photos / Kal­say Jay

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