25 Feb
2019
The latest Touareg

If you’re serious about your car, and have the bucks for loads of sexy options, then the latest Touareg is worth taking home, says Gavin Foster 

 

Is it a car? That it is. A proper SUV with four-wheel-drive? Yep. And four-wheel-steering … and a heads-up display … and a lane monitoring system that fiddles with the steering to help keep distracted drivers on track … and infrared sensors to detect and alert you to pedestrians and livestock ahead at night … and front and rear-mounted radar to warn you of fast-moving traffic coming up from behind and …. You get the idea.

And apart from all the electronic and mechanical gimmickry, the Volkswagen Touareg 3.0 TDI – whether in Luxury or Executive guise – is at heart a really classy car with a three-litre V6 diesel engine that makes it a pretty serious performance missile in its own right. The important numbers are 7,5 seconds for the 0-100km/h sprint and 235km/h for top speed, but we’re not going to go into all of that now. We’re just touching on the other stuff that’s packed into the VW wagon.

Both versions of the new third-generation Touareg launched late last year cost around R1-million, so the big wagon doesn’t really fit into the original Volkswagen pattern of being a car for the masses. Then again, it shares much of its platform with such automotive icons as the Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7/Q8, and it incorporates many of the design features of the VW Group’s considerably more upmarket Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus SUVs.

As is now usual for German manufacturers, the cars come pretty well equipped to start with, but include lists of sexy options that can easily deplete your wallet by a further couple of hundred grand even when you’ve bought the flagship model. These include VW’s Suspension Package with air suspension, electronically reacting shock absorbers, and rear-wheel steering that comes standard in the Executive but costs R51 950 as an option in the Luxury version.

Then there’s the Dynaudio Sound System (R16 650), Ambient Light Package for R-Line (R7 900), Cargo Package (R6 850) and Innovation Cockpit (R74 900). You need to keep your wits about you when buying because the price-list – and the demo fleet – is littered with options that are included in comprehensive packages that aren’t standard. The Executive version delivered to us for evaluation was loaded to the gunwales with extras, including the Advanced Safety Package that adds the aforementioned infrared night-vision feature that detects warm-blooded animals and people in your path then lights up on a monitor and triggers an audible alarm when you’re 100m or so away from them. The advanced heads-up-display included in the R59 150 (for both models) safety package is also useful, projecting as it does current speed, speed limits and other info on to the windscreen.

Most of this technology has been available for years in premium brand cars, but things like the four-wheel steering and infrared detection are relatively uncommon, and the VW, when enough money is thrown at the options list, is about as good as it gets – at any price.

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