Although you might not think so, judging from its proportions, which remain sizeable, the central engineering achievement with the new Volkswagen Touareg is its loss of weight compared with the previous model.
All versions weigh at least 203kg less than before, some as much as 222kg less, which is genuinely impressive considering the wheelbase is some 40mm longer, providing more space inside the cabin, specifically in the rear seats.
More impressive still is the Touareg’s fundamental rigidity, which has risen by more than five per cent, making it one of the stiffest vehicles in its class. This, in turn, has allowed Volkswagen’s chassis engineers to design an all-new steel suspension system that, they claim, dramatically improves both the Touareg’s ride and handling and is 43kg lighter than before.
VW has also completely redesigned the four-wheel drive system, again not just for increased off-road performance (more ground clearance and better approach/departure angles) but also more efficiency.
The Touareg’s exterior design is noticeably less of a leap forwards. The conservative styling brings the Touareg up to date with the rest of the Golf-faced VW range and helps to disguise its size. It’s certainly not radical, but it does look neat, modern and inoffensive.
The CD factor has also dropped from 0.38 to 0.37, thanks mainly to the redesigned front end.
Bi-xenon lights are a costly extra, but seeing as they include ‘curve lighting’ which enables better vision when cornering at night, plus LEDs, it is probably an extra worth having. The Touareg exceeds current pedestrian protection laws, thanks mainly to its new, deformable plastic front bumper.
At the back, part of the tail-lights are integrated into the tailgate to create a look that is distinctive, if a little plain. The tailgate spoiler improves both looks and aerodynamic performance, reducing lift when travelling above 50mph.