So, the third generation Touareg has a lot of expectations to live up to, not to mention a long line of competitors. But, is a move away from its off-road routes to become a premium luxury SUV a good move for the German powerhouse? An incredible barge of a vehicle, it is absolutely packed to the rafters with tech. It’s crazy to think that 15 years ago this vehicle was launched as a ‘torque-happy’ dirt tearing V10 SUV with the ride comfort of the waltzers. Now boasting one of the most intellectual and technologically advanced cabins in the business, it has had a complete re-vamp from top to bottom, putting up a fierce fight against its competitors, maybe even a knockout? Here’s what we thought.
Our overall Rating – 7/10.
Well we think it’s safe the say the Touareg has been on a crash diet, replacing its curvy predecessor with clean lines, smooth curves, bold features & an elegant, agile body. With a much sharper exterior and the new aligned grill and headlight formation it has a much more aggressive stance. It’s completely new from top to bottom, based on the same chassis and platform as the New Audi Q7 & the Bentley Bentayga. It is longer & wider than the earlier models, giving much more interior space & much more boot space. With the Tiguan offering an All-Space 7-seater version, we expected the same from the Touareg, but unfortunately VW have not & will not be releasing a 7-seat version of this. So, frustratingly, if you’re after something to house all 7 of you, you will have to downsize to the Tiguan or look at other manufacturers.
Our overall Exterior Rating – 8/10.
So, imagine a screen the size of a computer & as customisable as your smart phone. Volkswagens new 15-inch ground breaking infotainment system, which can be controlled by voice, gesture or touch. Sitting next to a 12-inch digital instrument cluster, this also connects to your smart phone through Volkswagens new Car-Net technology, so you can check your current mileage, fuel level & even traffic reports anywhere in the world on your mobile device. Rather than a 90-degree center pillar like you get on most vehicles, the screen is angled directly towards to driver, enough to feel fully in-control, but not as much to make the passenger feel unwelcome to use. We thought the new Audi Infotainment system was impressive, but this truly blows it out of the water. Its fluidity & effortless feel makes your experience significantly unique and like no other car we have tested. With the new modern age ambient lighting throughout (In most models), the Touareg offers a colour to suit every mood. With a choice of 30 different colours, from ‘earthy greens’ to ‘vibrant reds’, the entire cockpit can be changed instantaneously to suit you and your passenger, which also relays onto the center screen if you opt in for the ‘Innovision Cockpit’ as VW have called it.
Our overall Technology Rating – 9/10.
‘A Supremely Competent Drive’. We had the pleasure of testing the 3.0V6 TDI 4Motion 286PS, the more powerful & more expensive of the bunch. Whether we were driving on the motorway, on the country lanes or just pottering around town, the Touareg really did offer an exceptional driving experience. We did however, find the steering a little ‘floaty’, as strange as it sounds, it’s as though the power steering is too active, it was tricky to get a feel of the road against the tyres, making you feel less in control overall. Thanks to its electro-mechanically 48V adjustable anti-roll bars that works in conjunction with the active all-wheel steering, it manages to hide its ‘porky’ 1,995kg kerbweight well. As expensive as these extras can be, they do the job and they do it well. With very minimal body roll in the corners, it offers an extremely comfy drive. It swallows each bump in the road with no remorse like a toad with a fly. It’s absolutely packed with clever tech to help your driving experience a little easier. Emergency assist combined with the driving assist makes you feel safer than you ever have before, it’s something you hope you will never need, but if you did, it’s there on hand. If the seatbelt tensioner and the airbag are ever triggered together in the event of an accident, the vehicle will automatically contact the relevant emergency services. Alternately, you can call them yourself at the touch of a button. If the vehicle detects an accident, it will also automatically tighten the occupied seatbelts, close all doors and sunroof automatically, helping to keep you secure. As expected, the car comes with all the usual modern driving tech, Adaptive Cruise Control, Intersection Assist, Park Assist & Traffic Jam Assist. Unfortunately, we were not a fan of the ACC, this keep you at the same distance behind the car ahead, whilst monitoring the road lines to keep you central at all times. We found this feature liked to kick it without warning, especially when coming on/off a motorway junction. As the road split into 2 lanes or vice versa, the car seems to become confused and can physically pull you out of lane, this is rather frightening when unexpected. Fortunately, this feature is optional and can be switched on & off as you please.
Our overall Driving Rating – 6/10.