By Khulekani Dumisa
Recently I got the opportunity to spend some time with the flagship of the Volkswagen range, the Touareg Executive. Now its third generation, the Touareg is not only the flagship but also the most technologically advanced VW on the market. Knowing where Touareg is positioned and sharing the same platform with the likes of Audi Q and Porsche, the expectation for the Touareg was to be exceptional and it delivered on that.
The car bears a unique front that has a large chrome grille with “R-Line” insignia in the case of the higher Executive model. The IQ Light Matrix LED and daytime running lights also make the car stand out. Moving to the side profile, the Touareg has strong lines particularly on the D-Pillar. Apart from making the car appear wide, the lines resemble those of the more expensive Bentayga brother. The back looks good, especially with the design of the LED back lights which also resemble another VW Group brother, the Audi Q7. The similarities are not bad at all and more than anything bear testament to the overall upmarket feel of the car.
The interior is spacious and of good quality. It also has a lot of tech. The merged digital instruments (Digital Cockpit with 12-inch display) and the Discover Premium infotainment system (with 15-inch display) are hard to miss. Although digital, they are quite intuitive and easy to use. Most of the features on both can be controlled on the steering wheel or the controls on the centre console. As expected the cabin is spacious with generous legroom for all occupants. The seats are also comfortable and bear the “R-Line” logo in the upper model Executive. The interior ambience is further enhanced by the largest panoramic sliding roof that Volkswagen has ever released in the vehicle interior. At night, the LED interior lighting with 30 colours to choose from makes the Touareg a rather amazing place to be in.
The optional Discover Premium infotainment system which includes radio navigation system, telephone, information centre and interface for configuring various vehicle functions at the same time is amongst the very best in the game. This infotainment system is equipped with a proximity sensor that allows it to be controlled via the touchscreen and by means of gesture and voice control depending on the function. The equipment available with the Discover Premium infotainment system includes 10GB usable memory, two SD card slots, an AUX-IN socket, four USB ports as well as a Bluetooth mobile phone interface. No more disappointed faces on long trips from connectivity squabbles.
Driver assistance systems
The Touareg boasts an impressive array of driver assistance systems which improve safety. The Executive I was in had the IQ.Light Matrix LED headlight with 128 LEDs per headlight. This enhanced visibility in dark provincial roads. The Night Vision also came in handy by detecting pedestrians and livestock along the way. The combined trio of blind spot monitor, lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control took out a lot of hassle in the drive. Whilst the car does not have a self-piloting system, setting the car on cruise control and lane keep, which reads the road markings well, will nearly achieve a similar result as the car manages to keep itself in its lane when driving without you steering it. The adaptive breaking will have the car doing most of the work in traffic. Another key feature is the trailer assist. This will take a lot of pressure off the driver when manoeuvring in reverse with a car and trailer. This will be particularly handy considering that the Touareg can now tow maximum trailer weights up to 3.5 tonne (braked, up to 12% gradient).
The new Touareg is powered by a 3.0 TDI V6 engine with 190 kW of power and 600 Nm of torque. The power is delivered via an efficient 8-speed automatic transmission. Crucially, our Touareg Executive test car had the 4-corner air suspension with electronic shock absorption control and 4-wheel steering. The air suspension enhanced the ride quality tremendously and made the Touareg one of the most memorable drives of 2018. The car felt comfortable and responsive in all environments. It was nippy in the city notwithstanding its large frame. It excelled on open roads with its responsiveness and effortless power delivery. This was delivered whilst returning unbelievable fuel consumption levels of as low as 6.9l/100km over long distances.
3.0 V6 TDI 190kW (Luxury) R999,800
3.0 V6 TDI 190kW (Executive) R1,088,200
The new Touareg comes standard with a 5 year/100,000km Maintenance Plan, 3 year/120,000km warranty, 12-year anti-corrosion warranty and space saver spare wheel. Service Interval is 15,000km.
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