The next generation
Volkswagen’s Touareg flagship SUV benefits from a big injection of style, technology and prestige, which has done wonders for its image
Ialways felt Volkswagen’s large Touareg SUV was stuck between a rock and a hard place when it came to image – expensive to be classed as a workhorse, but lacking the prestige image of classy rivals. Now the third-generation delivers as its flagship SUV.
The bulbous styling, and wheels that looked lost in the arches, make way for a bolder look. Longer, wider and lower, it picks up the strong, angular lines of the smaller Tiguan, emphasising its width so looks more imposing and a classy contender.
UNDER THE BONNET
The 231 and 286PS, V6 3.0-litre turbo diesels will be the core, both with eight- speed automatic and permanent all-wheel drive with on and off-road and snow modes.
The more powerful V6 diesel will be the best seller and, with 600Nm of torque, offers lusty, low-down pull, effortless mid-range punch, storming top-end performance and returned 35mpg overall, 40mpg on a run.
HOW IT DRIVES
For a large SUV, the Touareg is surprisingly good and, even with the R-Line models’ 20in wheels and sports suspension, soaks up big bumps so, with noise levels also well muted, this is a mighty comfortable cruiser. It also handles well, but on small, twisty roads, the sheer size is the limiting factor.
Selectable driving modes also tune the shock absorbers air suspension with electronic damping control – all-wheel steering and electro mechanic ally controlled anti-roll bars are optional.
SPACE AND COMFORT
The Touareg only seats five, but with oodles of head and legroom, and rear seats slide 160mm and backrests recline through three angles. Four-zone climate control means no passengers will feel the heat. The boot ranges from 697 to 810 litres, rising to 1,800 litres with the 40/20/40 split rear seats folded flat.
The cabin looks classy with soft trim high up on dash and doors, but the hard plastics lower down, even on the centre console, are a little disappointing.
AT THE WHEEL
The Touareg debuts Volkswagen’s new innovision cockpit with its customisable 12in digital instrument display, to prioritise driver data, and a 15in infotainment touchscreen to create a wide, panoramic control centre. Once you’re au fait with the various menus it’s easy to navigate, even on the move. A high-rise driving position and large windows give good visibility, which along with parking sensors and, on R-Line, rear-view camera and parking assist, make manoeuvring in tight spaces straightforward.
This Touareg is a huge step forward when it comes to style, kit, technology and, importantly, prestige image. It’s good enough to mix it with the high-spec execs, but it remains to be seen if the Volkswagen badge will command the pricing. N