Volkswagen has now added the V8 model to its Touareg range, but it’s the middling variant we got a spin in recently, the V6s R-line.
There are three models to pick from, the line-up neatly arranged according to your funds and need for power. The base V6 kicks off at $97,990 and offers 170kW/500Nm. The V6S R-Line adds styling, spec and a 210kW/600Nm six, while it starts at $121,990. The new 310kW/900Nm V8 sports a similar fit out to the R-Line but the additional pair of cylinders adds a further $20k to the ask. It’d be nice to have those extras, and what’s $20k? You’re not spending it on that European trip this year. But for those holding out hope for a return to the business premier cabin experience soon, maybe the V6S R-Line will do.
VW NZ hasn’t left much off the standard spec list for this model, and so there aren’t too many options to pick from. This wears the $2k black package that darkens most of the chrome work, along with the mirror caps and alloys. The R-Line comes with adaptive air springs and all wheel steering, but you can also add a 48v active roll stabilisation system for $4000, though the $1800 three-year/45,000km service plan would be money better spent.
Quite a few of the VW Group’s SUVs are based on this platform and the Touareg is the most conservative. It’s a cruiser, quiet and easy-going. It’s the Pinot Noir of the range, likeable but far from bold. The ride is cushy though, the big wheels pick up the bumps but the air bellows remove the harsh sting.
The V6 does suffer a moment of lag but the torque kicks in nicely around the 2000rpm mark. Depending on the drive mode (of which there are too many) the auto can be a tad lax in chopping back the ratios, adding to lethargy. It’s best not to be in Eco or Comfort, Normal does the trick while you might find yourself tapping the stubby gear lever back and forth between the D and S modes of the transmission to help stir things along. Opt for the V8 and this shouldn’t be an issue given its 900Nm of torque is summoned at a low 1250rpm, whereas the S’s 600Nm aren’t totalled until 2250rpm. But it does move once it’s up and pumping, and it’s fairly economical for something so large, 8.4L/100km being this machine’s long term average on the trip computer.
The V6S gains the Innovision Cockpit (a $6500 option for the base model) with its 15-inch touchscreen and 12-inch instrument panel forming a digital mass on the dash and culling the switchgear. It operates like a smartphone/tablet, so cue plenty of swiping and tapping to get things done. It was developed with tech dictators Apple, so has a home button reminiscent of your iPhone. And so when you get lost in the maze of menus, you at least know how to get back to the start. There’s quite a lot to work your way through here with the deep degree of personalisation on offer. It’d be best to spend a few hours fiddling with it in the garage, setting it so, rather than trying to do it on the go. That’s when you realise you’ve just travelled a few hundred metres along the motorway trying to configure something and missed your off-ramp.
Lucky then the Touareg is armed with just about everything VW can throw at it in a safety sense; it’ll be on the lookout when you’re looking at the screen. Some bits we could live without. The reverse auto braking kept ramming the stoppers on when reversing out of the drive. It was annoying as it’s a constant reminder that I still need to trim all the shrubbery back. The Touareg also paused at the top of the driveway, the front cross traffic system picking up something it deemed to be a hazard. And the active lane keeping is very studious.
It’s a spacious five-seater SUV with plenty of rear seat room, the bench set on sliders to vary the amount of passenger/boot space to meet your needs. The luggage area is huge, over 800L of space on offer, and Touareg will haul up to 3500kg.
The steering always seems a tad heavier than desirable, both in town and out where in Dynamic mode it gets a further helping of artificial heft. But it can be reconfigured via the Individual mode, while the Off Road and Snow settings would perhaps get more use in Southern areas of the country. Touareg is well mannered without being overly engaging. It’s well balanced, riding well at speed while the roll is managed. It’s no X5 in the turns, but is better specified than the like-priced entry level 30d Edition variant. For those after more of a relaxed SUV experience, the Touareg is still worthy of checking out.
|Model||VW Touareg V6S R-Line||Price||$121,990|
|Engine||2967cc, V6, TDI, 210kW/6000Nm||Drivetrain||8-speed auto, all-wheel drive|
|Fuel Use||8,1L/100km||C02 Output||n.a.|