What is it?
Common platform strategy must work out rather well for the Volkswagen Group overall in terms of pounds, shillings and pence – but for the Volkswagen brand its effect looks less clear. If your potential customer knows enough to know that a VW Golf and a Seat Leon share a platform, after all, that knowledge is inevitably going to make the cheaper vehicle in the equation look like the smarter buy. And where VW’s hatchbacks, saloons and crossovers are comparable with their group counterparts, they rarely represent the cheaper half of the equation.
With the new Volkswagen Touareg, however, the boot’s on the other foot. If you’ve read Wikipedia’s page on the VW Group’s ‘MLB’ platform, you’ll know that the cars this third-generation luxury SUV is related to are mostly more expensive cars: some of them, a lot more. The Touareg’s active roll cancellation system uses the same technology you’ll find on a £140,000 Bentley Bentayga, and its four-wheel steering system is shared with a £165,000 Lamborghini Urus. And this in something likely to be priced from a whisker under £50,000 when it arrives in the UK later this year.
But if you bought a new Touareg on the basis that it’s some kind of bargain-hunter’s super SUV in his Daily Planet office clothes, my guess is that your smug face wouldn’t last very long. This car proves that modern platform-engineered sibling models can serve widely different tastes and purposes, even when the cars in question share a bodystyle as well as a primary component set. The Touareg was, and remains, a surprisingly functional and relatively simple sort – and that’s in spite of VW’s obvious attempts to give it more glitz.