This is the third-generation Volkswagen Touareg. It’s big and it’s actually pretty luxurious.
Yep, with the new Touareg, Volkswagen has moved a little further upmarket than the space that used to be occupied by the previous-gen car. Sure, that car was pretty nice, but given it hadn’t been updated in so long, it had become very middle-of-the-road.
The new Touareg fixes that by being built on a platform very similar to that of the Audi Q7’s. That’s one of the nicest premium SUVs you can currently buy, so you can see where Volkswagen’s going with this. Plus, the Touareg is meant to be a flagship car, so it was in need of an upgrade.
So what do you get? Well, the new car is slightly longer and wider, turning it into much more of a family bus than the old one was. That, VW says, provides “a significant increase” in luggage capacity, and more in-cabin space. And despite the car being bigger, it’s actually 106 kg lighter – thanks to the body being 48% aluminium.
You also get much sharper looks, bringing the Touareg up to speed with the rest of the fancy German SUV cohort.
Volkswagen promises improved handling dynamics, but stops short of making any claims about off-road ability. That should give you a clue as to who this car’s aimed at, as should the fact that Volkswagen has made much of the new Touareg’s comfort credentials.
At the heart of the interior sits the new ‘Innovision Cockpit’ (not a typo). Basically, it’s a Virtual Cockpit digital instrument cluster in place of the traditional dials, paired with a massive, 15-inch touch display at the top of the centre console. This is a first for VW, which says that the new unit needs hardly any physical controls, with everything being operated by touch or voice. We reckon it’ll be a watered-down version of the two-screen system on the new Audi A8. And indeed it looks pretty special.
You also get all manner of driver aid. There’s a Night Vision assistance system that detects people and animals in the darkness via a thermal imaging camera. There’s a Roadwork Lane Assist, which offers semi-autonomous steering and lane-keeping, accelerating and braking up to 60 km/h. There’s Front Cross Traffic Assist, which reacts to cross traffic in front of the car. And there’s active rear-wheel steering, new anti-roll bars and a head-up display.
So, in short, this is a big, comfortable, premium SUV.
In terms of engines, the only one we’re likely to get at launch in the Middle East is the V6 petrol, developing around 340 bhp. That should be plenty. A hybrid is also planned, but whether or not we’ll get that in this region is anyone’s guess.
Still, for the petrol version, pre-sales start across the Gulf in early May.
What do you think? Would you take this over an Audi Q7?