Third-generation SUV gets new technology and road-biased styling as VW targets affluent buyers in Europe and China

Volkswagen is now taking orders for the new Touareg, with prices for the flagship SUV starting at £51,595 and first deliveries due in the summer.

While that price leaves it £3425 cheaper than the Mercedes-Benz GLE, it makes the new car £6165 more expensive than its predecessor — a reflection on VW's efforts to push its top model further upmarket.

The brand justifies the price hike by stating that the new Touareg represents the “biggest leap forward” in the history of the SUV.

The third-generation model, which was unveiled in Beijing during the spring, has been redesigned with new technology, road-focused styling and a revamped interior that is dominated by VW’s new Innovision Cockpit.

This Touareg is the first to have such a clear focus on the Chinese market because, aside from being the largest new car market in the world, it's seen rapid growth in SUV demand in recent times. SUVs accounted for 8% of the Chinese market in 2007, but by 2017 this had skyrocketed to 45%.

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Touareg 2018 road test review hero front

The new version of the big 4x4 is now Volkswagen’s flagship model. Is the Touareg up to the task, and can it challenge its luxury rivals?

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

​VW boss Herbert Diess said: “The new Touareg sets a new benchmark at the top of the automotive world and shows what VW can do in terms of design and technology. It is a reflection of our brand.”

Three trim levels are offered at launch and the UK starting price applies to the entry-level SEL. Prices for the plusher R-line variant, which comes with sportier bodywork details, start from £55,095, while R-line Tech sits atop of the launch range with more standard kit (more on that below) and a starting price of £58,195.

At launch, just one engine is offered: a 3.0 TDI V6 producing 282bhp. It produces 443lb ft of torque from 2250rpm, enabling the SUV to sprint from 0-62mph in 6.1sec, while top speed is 146mph. The Touareg range will gain a second 3.0 V6 diesel engine with 228bhp and 369lb ft in the autumn, as well as a 3.0 V6 petrol with 335bhp and 332lb ft.

New VW Touareg: should the people's car be a premium car? 

The Chinese line-up includes a 362bhp plug-in hybrid that will arrive in late 2019. That variant is likely to go on sale in Europe, although no date has been set. A 415bhp, 664lb ft 4.0 V8 diesel will be offered in some markets, likely including the UK, although no date has been set for its arrival either.

All of the engine options are powered through an eight-speed automatic gearbox, with standard all-wheel drive featuring a centre differential lock, with five standard and four optional drive modes.

To aid the driving dynamic, the Touareg features electromechanical active roll compensation, which adjusts the anti-roll bars to smooth the ride when cornering. It also has air suspension to boost ride and all-wheel steering to aid handling.

Oliver Müller, the Touareg’s vehicle development boss, told Autocar: “We wanted to combine a sporty drive with comfort. The focus in on on-road handling, but it was important to make sure it was still good off road. It’s part of the DNA of the car. The look is more on-road now, but it’s still an off-roader at heart.”

The exterior design of the new Touareg moves further away from the off-road styling of the original, with a bold front grille designed particularly to appeal to the Chinese market. While built on the same VW Group MLB platform as the new Porsche Cayenne, the only exterior part the two now share is the front windscreen. Exterior designer Frank Bruse told Autocar: “The key difference is that we were allowed to do our own door panels; before, we had to share with the Cayenne. That gave us more freedom.”

Q&A: Frank Bruse, Volkswagen Touareg exterior designer 

At 4878mm, the Touareg is 77mm longer than before. It is also 44mm wider (1984mm) but 7mm shorter (1702mm). With the rear seats up, the boot has a capacity of 810 litres, 113 litres more than the previous model. The aluminium and steel body helps to make the car 106kg lighter than before.

The dashboard is built around VW’s new Innovision Cockpit, which merges a 15.0in infotainment touchscreen with a 12.0in digital instrument cluster. The customisable infotainment screen also controls features such as smartphone integration, air conditioning and seat massage functions, while analogue controls remain for the volume and other frequently used switches.

A range of driver assistance features come as standard, including traffic jam assist, lane assist, autonomous emergency braking, a night vision camera and a driver fatigue warning.

Standard equipment includes all-round LED lighting, multicoloured interior LED lighting and a 1270mm-long sliding panoramic roof.

The Touareg is designed with a range of customisation options based on three optional trim levels: the wood-dominated Atmosphere; Elegance, based on metal colours; and the stand-alone, sporty R-line. All three will feature spoilers and side sills, with R-line also gaining wheel arch extensions.

The Touareg will be able to tow trailers of up to 3.5 tonnes. 

Read more

Volkswagen Toureg review 

Volkswagen Polo review 

Volkswagen T-Roc review 

Join the debate

Comments
42

23 March 2018

Never was a Tourag fn because of its size, but this does look quite smart for its intended market. 

26 June 2018

This is the biggest leap forward in the history of the SUV don't you know!!!

23 March 2018

at last, a dashboard that proves touchscreens can be beautifully integrated.   This really puts the fussy, chintzy design of Mercedes to shame.

23 March 2018
ovlov wrote:

at last, a dashboard that proves touchscreens can be beautifully integrated.   This really puts the fussy, chintzy design of Mercedes to shame.

I think this looks dull and generic. A beige lump of squishy plastic and a couple of fingerprinty screens. Mercedes puts pzazz into their interiors that makes them interesting and luxurious. You want to tweak a Merc's air vents.

24 March 2018
androo wrote:

ovlov wrote:

at last, a dashboard that proves touchscreens can be beautifully integrated.   This really puts the fussy, chintzy design of Mercedes to shame.

I think this looks dull and generic. A beige lump of squishy plastic and a couple of fingerprinty screens. Mercedes puts pzazz into their interiors that makes them interesting and luxurious. You want to tweak a Merc's air vents.

Personally I think he hit the nail on the head with the word Chintzy. Plus that IPad after-thought is horrific, at best.

24 March 2018
ovlov wrote:

at last, a dashboard that proves touchscreens can be beautifully integrated.   This really puts the fussy, chintzy design of Mercedes to shame.

Now ask yourself the question, whats easier and cheaper, a couple of LCD screens and a few software engineers, or actual buttons, dials and switches, trust me its the former. However they will likely charge more for the LCD screens, apparently thats what people want, because they cant get away from their smart phones for more than a few seconds. 

Who cares how well the vehicle drives, performs, or even looks, as long as I can fit my giant latte in the cup holders, its got Apple and android conectivity and cheap PCP. 

23 March 2018

Bold new styling? It's a Passat on steroids.

Happy motoring

24 March 2018

Passat?  No way.  A Maestro on steroids, perhaps.

23 March 2018

What does road-focused styling means? 

23 March 2018
Velvet Munchkin wrote:

What does road-focused styling means? 

 

My though exactly!

Crap, approach and departure angles on each end?

If I want an autonomous car, I'll take a taxi.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Touareg 2018 road test review hero front

The new version of the big 4x4 is now Volkswagen’s flagship model. Is the Touareg up to the task, and can it challenge its luxury rivals?

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week