Volkswagen's new Touareg a technological tour de force and a deserving flagship
Volkswagen's third-generation Touareg may be the 'budget buy' of the upmarket Volkswagen Group SUVs but it has a premium feel, inviting interior and a host of hi-tech kit says Tom Wiltshire.
In the world of Volkswagen Group SUVs, the Touareg is actually the budget-friendly baby sibling. Its sister cars include – in ascending order – the Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne, Lamborghini Urus and Bentley Bentayga. That’s quite the family reputation to uphold.
As the least expensive, the Touareg has stiff competition from cars such as Land Rover’s Discovery but its premium leanings bring it into the running as a rival to upmarket cars such as BMW’s X5 or even the Q7.
It shares its upmarket siblings’ platform which brings benefits for ride and handling, not to mention the cost saving, and it’s also significantly lighter than the outgoing model.
Looks and image
This Touareg is significantly longer and wider but a little lower so it looks planted on the road with less of an off-road focus.
The bold, upright chromed grille is flanked by LED headlamps – it looks handsome with body creases that characterise a modern VW. At the back, fake tailpipes are painfully obvious but a simple tailgate and smart LED lights soften the blow.
Under the bonnet
Although there’s likely to be more options coming, including a plug-in hybrid, the 231PS and 286PS, 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesels, the latter with with 600Nm of torque, mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox and four-wheel drive will be popular choices.
Despite the weight-saving, the Touareg is still a big, bulky, heavy vehicle, so that torque is appreciated and the Touareg will be plenty fast enough for most buyers.
Push the car hard and the engine’s throaty note is surprisingly pleasant to listen to – but this is a car best enjoyed at a more smooth and sedate pace.
Space and comfort
Volkswagen’s hard work is best seen in the interior, dominated by the new InnoVision cockpit, standard on range-topping R-Line Tech, merging the trademark 12in customisable digital instrument display with a 15in touchscreen infotainment display, giving the illusion of being one giant screen across the whole car.
It works very well but owners need to familiarise themselves with all of the display functions before trying to use them on the move.
The cabin’s roomy but seats only five but the boot is huge at a maximum 810 litres with the rear seats up, rising to 1,800 with them folded.
The new Touareg is a convincing premium SUV and one that combines class-leading interior tech with good manners on road. It’s smart to look at, comfortable to ride in and showcases the best Volkswagen has to offer.
SPEC AND TECH
Price: £48,995 to £56,300
Engine: 2,967cc, 286PS, V6 turbo diesel
Performance: 0-62mph 6.2 seconds; top speed 146mph
MPG: 42.8 combined
CO2 emissions: 173g/km