When I took the wheel of the new Volkswagen Touareg, now in its third generation, I was immediately drawn to the huge 15 inch screen. It reminded me of my Great Aunt Mary’s 12 inch Ferguson television set which was housed in a cabinet, the dimensions of which were on a par with a juke box. When there was a special occasion, the villagers where I used to live would squeeze into her front room to gaze at the not so clear black and white picture. The image on the Touareg screen, however, is crystal clear and when you use the Satnav it combines with Google Maps to provide directions like you have never ever witnessed.
The newcomer is the most technically advanced vehicle to date and is rightly the flagship of the range. This is a large SUV capable of taking on the best from the premium brand competitors and offers much more for your hard earned money. Without a doubt this is currently the most advanced SUV on the market.
It is wider and longer than previous versions, 4,878 mm long; 2,193 mm wide and 1,717 mm high. Providing the power a three litre V6 TDI 286PS engine which generates 600 Nm from 2,250 rpm. Looking at performance, rest to 100kph (62mph) takes just 6.2 seconds, and the top speed is 235kph (146mph) and the all important emission figure, 173 g/km.
Comfort levels are more akin to an executive passenger car, so with such a vehicle you simply get the best of both worlds. The new Volkswagen SUV could be a workhorse during the week and the perfect leisure vehicle at the weekend. In order to provide outstanding grip, the new Touareg is equipped with permanent all-wheel drive (4MOTION) allied to an eight-gear automatic Tiptronic gearbox with ‘shift by wire’ functionality. So sweet are the gearchanges you hardly observe them, delivery of changes is silky smooth. A centre differential lock with asymmetric dynamic torque distribution acts as a transfer box for the flow of forces between the front and rear axle with a maximum of 70 per cent of the drive force reaching the front axle and up to 80 per cent can be sent to the rear axle. The five-door, comfy five-seater offers a 1,051 mm load length and maximum load capacity of 810 litres (seats up) or 1,800 litres (seats down) and the kerb weight is 2,070 kg. Luxury is a key word with this SUV and one of the many technical innovations in the new Innovision Cockpit (an option). The 12-inch digital instrument display merges with the 15-inch TFT touchscreen of the Discover Premium infotainment to form a new digital operating, information, communication and entertainment unit.
A new generation of assistance, driving dynamics and comfort systems includes technologies such as, Night Vision (thermal imaging camera), Traffic Jam and Roadwork Lane Assist (partly automated steering and lane departure warning up to 60kph (37 mph), acceleration and braking), Front Cross Traffic Assist (responds to traffic crossing in front of the Touareg). Add Active all-wheel steering, a new roll stabilisation system with electromechanically controlled anti-roll bar and the R-Line Tech standard features include: Safety and security, Active bonnet, sensor controlled pedestrian protection system to raise bonnet away from engine compartment.
In keeping with modern trends Volkswagen has a host of options that can be added to their new Touareg and my test vehicle came loaded. To give you a taste of the options fitted, head-up display with driving information including current speed is laser projected directly onto windscreen, driver’s Assistance Pack Plus, Emergency Assist; Front Cross Traffic Assist; Predictive Pedestrian Protection; Proactive occupant protection; side scan; Traffic Jam Assist. Also alternative alloy wheels, 21 inch ‘Suzuka’ Dark Graphite diamond turned, 9.5J x 21 inch, air suspension with rear axle steering, lowered by approx. 25mm with Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC), ‘IQ. Light’ LED matrix beam headlights, all LED interactive matrix dipped and main beam headlights, daytime running lights, indicators and cornering lights including Dynamic Light Assist, headlight washers, ‘Savona’ R-Line leather upholstery, active front climate seats with massage function, ambient lighting pack, coloured; LED ambient lighting with 30 colour options.. A towbar could be a popular choice, power folding, with Trailer Assist, panoramic sunroof with electrically operated sunblind, heated front climate windscreen which accelerates defrosting and prevents fogging, with acoustic reduction, tyre pressure monitoring system displays tyre pressure for each individual wheel and ‘Dynaudio Consequence’ premium sound pack. An outstanding vehicle and one which points the way in which SUVs of the future in this sector will take.