First Drive in the new Volkswagen Touareg
Ah the Volkswagen Touareg, or what I like to call it, the “Silent Assassin.” Why you ask? Well, think about it. This gentle giant has quietly been doing its thing in the background while the likes of the loud and attention-seeking Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE have hogged the spotlight. But the Silent Assassin still managed to sell a million units worldwide. Do you see now? It’s hardly ever brought up in conversation, it is never at the top of a list, but it still sells a million units and remains a firm favourite amongst people who dare to speak of it.
Even though it flies under the radar, this car has always attracted the right kind of attention and this third generation is no different. I headed to one of my favourite places on earth, Plettenberg Bay, to get behind the wheel of a car that has always been a favourite of mine…even though the last time I was in one was about eight years ago at the Wine on the River weekend in Robertson with my best friend from work, Ian McLaren. You might know him from CAR magazine fame.
Anyway, back to the new Touareg. Volkswagen claim it to be the most technologically advanced model of its era. That’s quite a statement, hey? But step inside the new Touareg and you will see and feel this statement. Just look at this:
The picture does not do it justice. But I can tell you, it really is quite glorious in that cabin. What you’re seeing is the optional “Innovation Cockpit” which is the control centre of the car really. It houses all essential comfort, assist and infotainment systems. This means that there are almost no buttons as everything is done on the touch screen. Something I hate because I love a good ol’ knob (get your head out of the gutter). Changing the air conditioning while driving can prove tricky, one bump and you are blasting yourself in to Kingdom come or find your bum getting warm instead of your face getting cool. With time, I imagine, this will become easier.
Volkswagen also claim the Touareg to be one of the safest cars in the world. It is the first Volkswagen available with a night vision system. This uses a thermal image camera to register infrared radiation coming from a living being. If the system detects an animal or a person, they are marked yellow or red, depending on risk, in a black and white image. The system warns you as well as brakes the vehicle if required. There are a host of other features as well, but the night vision one was the one I liked I most and I cannot list everything in one post.
The cabin is super spacious as is rear legroom, but something families will really appreciate is the added 113-litres of luggage space. That boot is BIG! And so all-round, a car you’d happy to travel long distances in.
Under the bonnet you will find a 3,0-litre V6 turbodiesel which gives you 190 kW of power and 600 N.m of torque. You’ve got two trim levels to choose from, namely Luxury and Executive. You will struggle to find a smoother and more comfortable ride. Driving is effortless. Even if you are travelling on gravel, at speed. It’s one of my favourite things about this car, you don’t need to think too much while driving it, it makes driving an effortless task and one that is enjoyable on long trips.
I doubt I will be able to call this new Touareg a Silent Assassin, the reason being is that it is now in the spotlight and once people get a taste of it, it will no longer be able to hide. Which I guess is a good thing for Volkswagen, but I quite liked the air of mystery the previous model created. With any luck, this model will be as successful but as quietly alluring.
New Touareg retail price
3.0 V6 TDI 190kW (Luxury)
3.0 V6 TDI 190kW (Executive)