Why the latest Volkswagen Touareg is such a torque-ing point
It’s Volkswagen’s most technologically-advanced SUV, and replaces the discontinued Phaeton as the company’s new flagship.
The third generation Touareg, Volkswagen’s largest sport utility vehicle (SUV), makes a compelling proposition. It’s a fully-loaded tech powerhouse packed with digital instruments housed in the new Innovision Cockpit. This comprises the 12.3-inch digital cockpit display, a 15-inch infotainment screen (one of the largest on the market) built on a highly intuitive system with touch-hold-select and swiping functions including gesture control, as well as a head-up display.
It’s the most technologically-advanced Volkwagen to date, replacing the discontinued Phaeton as the company’s new flagship, and taking the Touareg (first introduced in 2002) to another level of technical sophistication.
The assistance systems standard on all Touareg models – alerts that sound off if drivers are too close to the vehicle in front or there’s a vehicle in the blind spot, and self-correcting steering if the car veers too close to either side of the lane – have been augmented with the Traffic Jam Assist.
This new feature incorporates adaptive cruise control, enabling the Touareg to drive semi-automatically in traffic jams or during stop-and-go traffic by responding to moving obstacles and taking over the steering, acceleration and braking functions. The latter is, however, only available on the sportier R-Line models.
To be sure, these contingencies come in handy when handling all that power: A V6 turbo petrol engine with a 3.0-litre capacity generating up to 450 Nm of torque sits under the hood. And if you wish to push the pedal to the metal, it can reach a top speed of 250km/h and goes from 0 to 100km/h in just 5.9 seconds.
The all-wheel-drive is as agile – yet stable – as they come, with all-wheel steering on the R-Line models improving overall manoeuvrability – whether overtaking, performing sudden evasive manoeuvres to avoid accidents, negotiating tight parking spaces or executing U-turns.
This reduced turning circle is of particular note, given the more dynamic proportions of the SUV: Wider and longer, with a significant increase in luggage capacity. And while the car has grown in size, it has shaved off 106kg over its predecessor thanks to the increased use of aluminium.
Accentuating the Touareg’s already commanding presence and chiselled exterior, the chromed solid grille on the front end integrates seamlessly into the headlights, which, on the R-Line, is smarter, cooler and way more dynamic. They’re fitted with the IQ.Light LED matrix headlight system which consists of a matrix of intelligent controls that activates individual LEDs independently of the steering angle based on the front camera images. This illuminates the course of a bend, for instance, even before the driver makes the turn.
Inside the spacious cabin, ambient lighting sets the mood. Light up the front footwell, door sill protectors, light strips below the trim in the doors and dashboard with up to 30 different shades.
You can outfit your cabin with a choice of three trim lines: Warmer, natural tones with wood decorative inserts of the ‘Atmosphere’ package, cooler shades of soul-black with brushed aluminium decorative inserts, and the top-of-the-range R-Line; styled like the latter but more luxuriously specced – you can even enjoy a relaxing rub-down during your commute as the two front seats are fitted with massage functions.
The R-Line also comes with a 4-corner air suspension that allows you to adapt the height of the car to the terrain – normal, comfort, off-road and special off-road driving profiles – and the SUV can even be raised to provide 70mm more ground clearance or lowered by 40mm to make loading and unloading easier.
While formidable off-road capabilities are rarely the reason people opt for an SUV in highly congested Asian cities, the Volkswagen Touareg is a nifty option should you take a road trip up north.