Volkswagen’s Touareg SUV will be replaced in the UK this August by a new generation offering more power, more space, greater efficiency, less weight and, for the first time in a UK-market VW, a hybrid-electric powertrain.
The new car is slightly longer than the current Touareg, measuring 4758mm, and at 1724mm in height. Its roof is 20mm lower than that of the outgoing model.
Visually it’s been greatly updated, wearing VW’s new wider-grilled corporate look as pioneered on the Mk6 Golf and the current Polo. Most significantly, however, it’s 200kg lighter than the current Touareg model for model and, says VW, 20 per cent more fuel-efficient.
The new Touareg will be offered to UK buyers with a choice of three powertrains and four trim levels. The range will start with a 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel engine offering 238bhp and 405lb ft of torque. Combined with an eight-speed automatic gearbox and automatic engine stop-start, that version will be good for 38.1mpg and 195g/km of CO2. An entry-level 202bhp version of the 3.0-litre V6 diesel will be available from November.
Above that in the range will sit a 4.2-litre V8 TDI developing 337bhp and 590lb ft of torque. With the V10 TDI discontinued, this will be the flagship Touareg, capable of 62mph in around 6.0sec and a governed 155mph flat out; it should also return 31.0mpg on the combined cycle.
The third, final and most interesting Touareg due to be offered from launch, however, is a hybrid driven in tandem by a 329bhp, 3.3-litre supercharged V6 and a 46bhp electric motor. Working together, they should endow the car with peak outputs of 375bhp and 428lb ft of twist, and make it both frugal and fast; think 34.4mpg and 0-62mph in 6.5sec. It will also be capable of emissions-free, electric-only running at speeds of up to 30mph.
Under the skin
Like its predecessor, the new Touareg gets height-adjustable air springs across the board (except for the Escape model), but unlike its antecedent, most versions will have no low-ratio gearbox; VW has fitted an eight-speed torque converter auto as standard, supplied by Aisin, and its short first ratio is intended in part to compensate for that omission.
Anyone wanting to spec their car for ultimate off-road performance will be able to order the 3.0 V6 diesel ‘Escape’ model. It gets reduction gearing, non height-adjustable steel springs, electronically controlled locking centre and rear differentials and a five-way traction control management system for the four-wheel drive system. Interestingly, there will be no V8 TDI ‘Escape’ model.
UK prices for the car have yet to be decided: expect them to start at around £36k for a 3.0 TDi SE, ranging up to £60k for a V8 TDi in Altitude spec. Top-spec cars should feature auto-dimming headlights, a blind spot warning system and air-conditioned massaging leather seats.