By Mthuthuzeli Mpiti*
The first SUV by Volkswagen, which made its debut back in 2002, is on its 3rd Generation and was recently unveiled in Beijing, China. The Touareg, named after the nomadic Tuareg people of the Sahara in Northern Africa, is currently the most technologically advanced car ever offered by the VW Group under the VW badge.
Currently the flagship of the VW stable, it shares styling cues and the MLB platform with its cousins, the Porsche Cayenne, Bentley Bentayga, Audi Q7, and the super sport of SUVs, the new Lamborghini Urus.
One of its key safety features is Thermal Night Vision Technology that detects moving animals and people under the cover of darkness. Yes, it’s not a new technology in the automotive industry but, it’s a technology that is normally found in high end limousines and saloons. Not many SUVs can boast this kind of technology. A fully digitalised Innovision Cockpit is offered for the first time in the new Touareg. Full LED matrix headlights encompassing 128 light-emitting diodes per cluster that can be individually activated are also on offer. Staying with the tech, a self-learning navigation system will do duty in the new Touareg. Drivers will also benefit from a heads up display function.
On the practical side, the Touareg’s four corner air suspension will be paired with a four wheel steering for shorter turning circle. Boot space is a whopping 810 litres with the back seats intact. This is an increment of 113 litres compared to the model it replaces. Notwithstanding this, weight is cut by 106kg due to extensive aluminium and light steel used in construction of its body panels. Long trips will seem like a concert with a 730-watt 14-speaker Dynaudio sound system, and the biggest panoramic sliding roof you’ll ever find in any VW.
Volkswagen South Africa has confirmed that the new Touareg is expected to touch down in Mzansi in the 3rd quarter of 2018. In the South African market, the previous generation Touareg was offered in V6 Turbocharged diesel engines only and as such. It will be interesting to see what engine derivatives make it to our market. The global market will be given 170 and 210 kilowatt V6 diesel turbocharged engines which will be followed by a 250 kilowatt petrol engine. The Chinese market, which is driving the demand for VW SUVs, will also be rewarded with a 270 kilowatt plug-in hybrid.
The styling cues of the new Touareg borrow a lot from the T-Prime GTE Concept SUV that was unveiled by VW a few years ago. If you are not a fan of the bold big chrome grille, you need not worry, an R-Line package will be offered with a black grille and black alloys. All of this will be confirmed closer to the local launch for South Africa however. At first glance, the looks may seem polarising but I think the designers have hit a sweet spot by making the car more assertive. This distinguishing look will likely give the car broad appeal. When the Tiguan hit the market few years back, I thought to myself that VW had raised the bar too high for itself because the current generation Tiguan is all kinds of beautiful. I actually started wondering what the new Touareg will look like. I am not disappointed at all. VW has done well with the new Touareg.
*Mthuthuzeli describes himself as a motoring enthusiast with a particular affinity for Volkswagen Audi Group products. You can also send us your own written or video review and we will gladly publish it. Your contribution will be subject to our editorial policy of course.
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