The new Volk­swa­gen Touareg’s 4x4 ca­pa­bil­i­ties may have been some­what di­luted, but you’ll search far and wide for a more ver­sa­tile tow­ing ve­hi­cle.

Go! Camp & Drive - - CONTENTS - Text and pho­tos Leon Botha

Volk­swa­gen re­cently re­leased the third gen­er­a­tion of their Touareg, and they claim that when it comes to tech­nol­ogy, this flag­ship SUV is their most ad­vanced ve­hi­cle yet. When you hop in be­hind the wheel, you know ex­actly what they mean. For some time now, Volk­swa­gen have made use of the Ac­tive Info Dis­play in­stru­ment panel, which is an en­tirely dig­i­tal dis­play. But the Ger­mans have now im­proved upon this with a larger, ad­di­tional screen. This screen is in front of the driver, and ex­tends to the left – form­ing a unit of over half a me­tre in length. It makes you feel like you’re cap­tain­ing a space­ship from a sci-fi movie, and clearly the suits at Volk­swa­gen agree, be­cause they’ve dubbed it the “In­no­vi­sion Cock­pit”.

And with the Touareg’s tow­ing ca­pac­ity, noth­ing is lack­ing. In fact, it’s lighter than its pre­de­ces­sor, which was avail­able in sev­eral en­gine op­tions (from a 3,6 ℓ petrol en­gine to the 3 ℓ and a 4,2 ℓ diesel en­gine). To­day you can choose from just two mod­els, both with the 3 ℓ diesel en­gine that kicks out 190 kW and 600 Nm – that’s 10 kW and 50 Nm more than the pre­vi­ous 3 ℓ en­gine.

And then there’s the Touareg’s tow bar, which was pre­vi­ously op­tional, but now comes stan­dard on both mod­els.

The wel­come wagon

The tow­ing ca­pa­bil­ity of the 3 ℓ model that we tested three years ago was set at 3,5 t, with a max­i­mum nose weight of 140 kg. The new Touareg’s fig­ures look the same, but the new model’s Bosal tow bar de­ploys elec­tri­cally. The tow bar is tucked away be­hind the bumper, and when you push the but­ton at the back right of the boot, the tow bar swings out and locks into po­si­tion. This whole ac­tion takes 8 sec­onds (when stow­ing it­self un­der the bumper, it re­quires 9 sec­onds). The hitch it­self has a D-value (which refers to a spe­cific load test) of 16,4 kN, which is com­pa­ra­ble to 1 672 kg.

A com­puter de­tects when you’ve hitched a car­a­van – the alarm sys­tem even keeps an eye on it when ac­ti­vated. But if your trailer has LED rear lights, the alarm won’t be set off if some­one tries to de­tach your trailer or car­a­van. Ac­cord­ing to the Volk­swa­gen man­ual, the rea­son for this is “of a tech­ni­cal na­ture” (read: be­cause we say so – Ed). When you con­nect the car­a­van’s plug to the socket, the on­board com­puter’s blind spot sen­sors and the re­verse cam­era sen­sors that warn you of cross traf­fic are both >


As ex­pected, the Touareg is kit­ted out with Trailer Sway Con­trol. There are a few things that need to be in place be­fore this sys­tem works the way the en­gi­neers in­tended: your car­a­van must be equipped with over­run brakes; the nose weight must be the pre­scribed max­i­mum weight on the ball of the tow bar; and you need to tow faster than 60 km/h.

The Touareg’s Trailer As­sist sys­tem (a sys­tem that we also en­coun­tered in the Volk­swa­gen Tiguan and Ar­teon) comes in handy when you need to re­verse a car­a­van down a tight al­ley.

Other adap­ta­tions

Both mod­els are au­to­matic, but Volk­swa­gen have done away with the tra­di­tional gear se­lec­tor. The new gear shift has a flat head and is about as wide as the palm of your hand, but the shaft doesn’t slide back and forth; you push the head for­ward if you want to change from Park to Neu­tral or Re­verse, and pull it back if you want to put the gear­box into Drive. You push the but­ton on the right of the lever when shift­ing gears, and press an­other but­ton to put the ve­hi­cle into Park.

When you switch off the Touareg in any of the gears (ex­cept for Neu­tral), the gear­box au­to­mat­i­cally puts it into Park. And if you switch the Touareg off in Neu­tral, it stays in this mode for 30 min­utes be­fore au­to­mat­i­cally switch­ing to Park.

The Touareg that we towed with had four height set­tings for the air sus­pen­sion – the but­ton for this is also in the cen­tre panel by the gear lever. For tow­ing, Volk­swa­gen rec­om­mends the Street ride height.

The Touareg also has seven ride modes, in­clud­ing Eco, Com­fort, Sport and Off-road. For ex­am­ple, if the sus­pen­sion is set to Street height, and the ride mode is on Com­fort, the air sus­pen­sion will au­to­mat­i­cally drop when


SPORTY SPICE. The R-Line pack­age of­fers a bit ex­tra over a stan­dard Touareg. The white stitch­ing on the seats, the spe­cial em­blems and trick al­loys speak of a play­ful na­ture rather than a con­ser­va­tive ap­proach.

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