VW Touareg a vehicle for the ‘free folk’
With the constant push by automakers to expand vehicle categories, VW, in 2002, decided to design a model for the mid-size SUV bracket, calling it the Touareg. The name seems to have been carefully chosen, as its origin is traced to a nomadic tribe in the Sahara and translates to ‘free folk’.
From the onset, VW wanted to ensure that its first SUV stood out from the rest and, as such, the project was a joint venture with Porsche. While it has not had meteoric success like some of its counterparts, such as the BMW X5, it has consistently delivered as a reliable and noteworthy SUV.
Now in its third generation, the overall shape remains familiar, with the biggest upgrade being the front grille, which blends in seamlessly with the headlights. The look has been streamlined to have a uniform appearance with its other stablemates. From a front-on angle, it looks broad and planted on the ground. This is further enhanced by the 255mm tyres that wrap around the size 18 rims. To add a bit of ruggedness, the demo unit that I tested had a roof rack, which was equipped to carry additional luggage.
The overall design language is refined and trimmed, with sharp character lines that give it a slimmer appearance than the previous model.
At first glance, the interior looks spacious and meticulously designed, with the focal point being the stunning 15-inch infotainment screen. It is angled towards the driver and blends in with the dial cluster in a manner that is similar to Audi’s Virtual Cockpit.
It has a proximity sensor which activates more options on the screen once there is a finger close to it. I can’t lie, this system is jampacked with information. At first, I was quickly trying to change the temperature and realised it required some purposeful maneuvering. Long and short, it comes with a learning curve.
All the options are layered, meaning, for most things that are available, there are additional options to tweak them. For example, while adjusting the climate, I realised the seats could be heated. There was another occasion where I found the option to extend the base of the seat for better thigh support. Usually there is a designated button on the seat for this. However, for this vehicle, most things can be controlled on the screen.
Al- round visibility of the vehicle is great, as the window wells are large, along with the ‘A’ pillar not being too intrusive. The multi-functional seating helped me to find a perfect driving position. Nonetheless, what took the cake was the head rest, which can protrude or retract, which is not a new feature. However, I am surprised more car companies don’t offer it.
Around the back, there is ample space for passengers with 36. 7 inches of leg room and 38.9 inches of head room. There are also rear a/c vents and the seats can recline in a moderate manner. Behind these seats is 32.1 cubic feet of cargo space and, when the second row is folded flat, you get 64 cubic feet of space.
With so many companies going the ‘turbo’ route, I was a bit surprised to find out this vehicle as a three-litre engine with six cylinders. Once the accelerator was engaged, the power came on rapidly and aggressively. That made me question if it was really naturally aspirated. If you are feeling the need for speed, there is a designated Sports Mode, which keeps the vehicle in gear longer while ‘firming up’ the steering.
Though it is convincingly fast, it does carry some weight, 4696 lb to be exact. Which means it cannot be thrown recklessly into a corner without some body roll, and the same can be said for any other competing vehicle.
There are five other driving modes, to tackle the various terrains a driver may encounter. However, for me, I either kept it in Normal or Eco mode. The latter is highly recommended when driving around town and there is a lot of traffic.
Overall, this was a pleasurable vehicle to drive as it has a lot of things to offer, such as comfort, luxury and technology. If it stays below a certain price point, it should provide meaningful competition to the likes of BMW and Audi.
Contact info: email - VWSales@atlautomotive.com or telephone - 1-888-ATL-SERV
Price of tested model: $11.850 mil
Engine: 3 Litre, V6
Transmission: 8-speed shiftable automatic, AWD
Fuel tank: 90L
Body Type: SUV
Competition: Jeep Grand Cherokee, BMW X5, Mercedes Benz GLE, Jaguar I Pace, Audi Q5