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Volkswagen's third generation Touareg is a massive improvement over its predecessor and is well-armed to take on the big boys.

05 Jun 2019


To say that the new third generation Touareg is a big improvement over the car it replaces is a bit of an understatement. More accurately, Volkswagen's latest flagship SUV has been gifted the goods to finally take the big boys head-on.

But how, exactly?

At its core is the expensive MLB Evo platform that also underpins Group giants such as the Audi Q7 and Q8, the Bentley Bentayga, the Lamborghini Urus and the Porsche Cayenne.

Overall, it has grown 77mm longer and 44mm wider, yet is lighter (-106kg) than before. The biggest gain, however, is in terms of boot space, which swells to a commodious 810 litres - 113 more than its predecessor's 697 litres.

Wheelbase may have only grown by 1mm but there's still more than enough space for three at the rear

There's sexier skin to complement the increased proportions too. It boasts a much sharper design, which begins at the front with a massive chrome grille that integrates into the new IQ.Light LED matrix headlamps.

The LED treatment continues at the rear, which also now sees the model badging stretched across the boot, similar to what sister brand Skoda has done with its brand logo on the new Scala.

Joined by a more pronounced waistline, the new Touareg stands out from all angles with its sheer size and more authoritative sheet metal.

The enormous 15-inch infotainment display dominates the new centre console layout

I see some fancy bits on the inside too!

The cabin of the Touareg also heralds a new digital architecture for the Volkswagen brand, the most prominent of which is the huge 15-inch infotainment display.

Its interface seems to be an adaptation of the system in Audi's latest models, with widgets you can customise to display pretty much whatever you like. The air-con controls are now also operated from within the touchscreen, clearing up the centre console of unnecessary buttons and knobs.

What's left there, then, is a new one-touch gear selector that is again, something seemingly remoulded from the Audi parts bin, and two dials for you to toggle between the various drive modes and ride heights.

The air suspension fitted on the R-Line allows you to lower it by 40mm to make loading cargo easier

Elsewhere, there are other bits that round off this range-topping Touareg's flagship status, such as the supersized panoramic sunroof, ambient lighting and ventilated front seats with massage function.

It seems Volkswagen has thrown just about everything but the kitchen sink to make the experience inside the new Touareg something quite special indeed.

But does it drive like something very premium?


Powering the porky two-tonne Touareg is a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 (the only engine option available here) that makes 335bhp and 400Nm of torque.

Sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic (not a dual-clutch), the powertrain enables it to go from 0-100km/h in 5.9 seconds, which puts it in between the Golf GTI and the Golf R territory where acceleration is concerned.

The 3.0-litre turbo V6 is the only engine option available here in Singapore as of now

Its straight-line abilities definitely won't leave you wanting more, but it is still slightly plagued by turbo lag. That is, however, but a wee niggle to an otherwise brilliantly developed behemoth that is a master of disguise.

Thanks to clever tech like all-wheel steering, which is a standard feature for all Touaregs in Singapore, it manoeuvres with more agility and offers a better turning radius than you'd expect.

Coupled with an adaptive air suspension system that's only found on the R-Line variant, body control is excellent for something of this size. It's not a car that will take long to get accustomed to, even if it's your first time piloting something of this class.

It does feel a little heavy on the road but the Touareg is never challenging to drive even for a first-timer

There's also a ton of safety tech to ensure you don't become a roving hazard whether you're daydreaming or finding your way around tighter spaces. The suite includes front assist, emergency braking and lane assist, although the latter can get quite intrusive with its steering interventions.

The R-Line variant also comes with an added semi-autonomous traffic jam assist feature that combines the abovementioned lane assist with adaptive cruise control to make your life in jams a little less painful.

Should you want your Touareg to have all these goodies, plus front massage seats and air suspension (which can lower the car by 40mm), the R-Line variant costs $321,900 (as of 3 June 2019).

Its broad range of Volkswagen assistance systems ensures a safe drive whatever the journey

Some may think that's a bit much for a Volkswagen, but considering the stuff that's been put in it, it's still 50 grand lesser than an Audi Q7 if you do not require the latter's two extra seats.

Otherwise, there's also the lower-priced Atmosphere and Elegance variants, which begin at $289,900.
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Car Information

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Volkswagen Touareg 3.0 TSI Tiptronic R-Line (A)
Rate it

Price

: $321,400

Engine Type

:

6-cylinder in-line 24-valve Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

2995cc

Horsepower

:

250kW (335 bhp) / 6400 rpm

Torque

:

450 Nm / 5300 rpm

Transmission

:

8-speed (A) Tiptronic

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

5.9sec

Top Speed

:

250km/h

Fuel consumption

:

11 km/L

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