We recently spent a week with Volkswagen flagship model – the third generation Touareg. When VW designed this car, it seemed like they were out for blood. The previous two models looked reserved, whilst this model is a pure work of automotive art, style and elegance. The new generation Touareg is built on the same platform as its sister cars: the Porsche Cayenne, Bentley Bentayga, Audi Q7 and the Lamborghini Urus. Sharing the same underpinnings as its sister cars, essentially you can enjoy a lot of those luxuries on a less expensive package.
On first glance…
Our test model fitted with the R-Line kit came standard with 20-inch Braga wheels which look very good. The Touareg has some serious on-road presence to rival its siblings. It’s wider and longer than its predecessor, and thanks to those new dimensions, luggage space has been improved from 697 to 810 litres (with the rear bench seat up). Despite its increased dimension, the car is now 106 kg lighter thanks to the use of mixed material such as aluminium (48%) and high-tech steels (52%). The front is dominated by this huge in-your-face grille and a beautiful set of LED headlights.
A look inside…
The interior of the new Touareg screams elegance and refinement. Fitted with the optional Innovision Cockpit presented on a 15-inch Discover Premium infotainment system and a Digital Cockpit with a 12-inch display. The Digital Cockpit is customizable and has all the information in front of you which makes driving easier much easier. The 15-inch Discover Premium infotainment system is bright, snappy and very intuitive. Heads-up – you’ll have to spend at least a day trying to figure out how all of it works because there’s so much to explore on the system. It comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto.
You are given the option of 30 colour palette to change cabin lighting. Our test unit was also fitted with a heads up display and night vision camera (one of the coolest features we’ve ever played around within a car). The Touareg is huge but has a perfect driving position. You can get low in the seat to get that sporty driving position. The seats also come with cooling and heating function. Rear legroom is aplenty and thanks to the panoramic sunroof adding a great ambience to the whole interior. Thanks to optional air suspension, one can lower the car from the rear electronically to make putting in stuff boot much easier. Whilst you’re at it you can also deploy the electronically operated tow-bar, and it does come with trailer assist as standard.
We found something we didn’t like
What we were most annoyed about is that there are no physical dials to control air conditioning, meaning you have you must jab at the screen to change settings.
The drive, specs and options
There’s only one engine option for the Touareg which is the tried and tested 3.0 TDI V6 engine which produces 190 kW and 600Nm. VW claims 7.1 L/100km fuel consumption, we believe them. In some instances, with some careful driving, we were able to achieve 6.5 L/100km. Yes, that is not a typographical error, you can achieve such a figure if you average between 80-100 km/h in cruise control. The Touareg has the smoothest ride we’ve ever tested in a car. It irons out any imperfections on the road which we found truly unbelievable. We did take it off the beaten track to see what it’s all about and it performed spectacularly (side note: the Touareg was named after the nomadic Tuareg people, inhabitants of the Saharan interior in North Africa. Quite a fitting name for a car that can practically go anywhere). With the air suspension, ride height can be raised and has a wading depth of 570mm when you really want to go bundu bashing and crossing rivers.
As with any other luxury German car manufacturer, the Touareg comes with a list of optional extras and a lot of standard features. For example, m: Memory and climate seats, panoramic sunroof, park assist with PDC, adaptive cruise control.
The starting price is R1,024,800.00 for the Luxury model with the Executive Model starting at R1,167,400.00. The Touareg is a very well put together SUV. It does so many things exceptionally well. Sharing so many luxurious bits from its sister cars, and from its price point, buyers might be tempted to but the Touareg over its more expensive competition.
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel
Power: 190 kW
Torque: 600 N.m
Transmission: 8-Speed automatic
Acceleration: 0 – 100 km/h 6.1 seconds
Fuel Consumption: 7.1 L/100km (claimed)
Price: R1, 024,800