Facelifted Volkswagen Touareg Debuts
When Volkswagen introduced the first-generation Touareg as its first-ever SUV in 2002, it offered a luxurious interior with superb off-road ability and looked pretty much like an oversized Golf.
Weighing 2.5 tonnes, the range's flagship model packed a V10 TDI, the most potent diesel powerplant to be fitted in a VW car.
It was such a competent SUV that made long-distance cruising so much more comfortable, and though the engine didn't live to see many more applications, it still occupies a special place in our hearts.
Sometimes Less is More
Regarded as the year of the Amarok, the second-generation Touareg was introduced in 2010, and it immediately ushered buyers to a whole new world of technologies while also debuting a world-first glare-free high-beam headlight system, the Dynamic Light Assist. It ditched the incredible V10 powertrain for smaller, still capable V6 and V8 petrol and diesel engines.
This brings us to the third-generation Touareg that was introduced in 2018, and it was then that the marque went all out.
Sharing its MLB Evo platform with the Porsche Cayenne, Q7, Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus, five years later, the current Touareg has now been handed a nip and tuck for the 2023 model year.
A Nip and Tuck For The Flagship
Simply put, the refreshed Touareg has been styled perfectly to be an answer to the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne. Aesthetically, the new Touareg has been sharpened, and it now boasts a more assertive stance that adds a flair of sophistication and modernity.
The Touareg is the latest model to feature the now-familiar light strip that connects the new optional IQ. Light HD LED matrix headlights with a triple 'L' theme.
The front apron and radiator grille have been given a fresh new look, while the rear end now comes with a continuous horizontal LED strip for the rear lights and incorporates a VW logo that illuminates in red.
The exterior changes are completed by alloy wheel options in four designs; 19" Coventry, 20" Braga, 21" Napoli and Leeds of the same size.
The interior changes have been kept to a minimum, and almost everything has been carried over from its forebear. It comes standard with the Innovision Cockpit consisting of a fully-digital 12" instrument cluster and a 15" touchscreen infotainment system modified to support the new high-res HD map data with lane-level navigation, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
According to VW, the armrests and centre console will be softer in response to customer feedback.
VW has also added a roof-load sensor that assists the traction and suspension systems in keeping the SUV stable during hard cornering. The system works in tandem with the enhanced standard steel spring and air suspension systems.
The new Touareg now adds more powerful USB-C ports, and depending on the specified trim, you get a head-up display plus a 730-Watt Dynaudio sound system.
In terms of powertrains, we expect the 3.0-litre TDI V6 unit with 190 kW and 600 Nm of torque to be the only means of motivation for the South African market as it has been in the outgoing model as well as in the previous-gen Amarok V6. This unit is mated to an 8-speed gearbox that drives all-fours via the marque's 4Motion system.
For overseas markets, the new Touareg will be available with five engine options, ranging from a 3.0-litre V6 petrol to an eHybrid V6 variant which packs up to 340 kW for the range-topping R model.
With its V6 TDI engine, the Touareg is a strong competitor in its segment, where quality and comfort reign supreme. The new model is expected to be a significant step up from its pre-facelift predecessor, but it remains to be seen if VW has resolved the occasional hesitation in the transmission.
Local specifications, as well as pricing, will be announced in the coming months, and as a reminder, the current-gen Touareg is sold in SA in three trim levels; Luxury, Luxury R-Line and Executive R-Line, all powered by a sole 3.0-litre V6 TDI engine.