The new Touareg is a big car in more ways than one; as well as being VW’s flagship SUV, the third-generation model is set to inform the design and technology of the brand’s next series of products. We’ve been behind the wheel of a pre-production car.
Despite the camouflage, you can see it’s not only wider and longer than the previous-generation Touareg, but also lower, to give it a sportier stance. It has a bigger boot, too, at 810 litres as opposed to the present car’s 697 litres.
The interior was totally uncovered for our test drive, and the tech on display is one of the most impressive things about the new model. A huge 15-inch touchscreen display dominates the dashboard, and it blends into a smaller – but still very high resolution – digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel. Volkswagen calls this set-up the Innovision Cockpit, and on first impressions it’s a superb system; it’s bright, responsive and looks fantastic.
The Touareg shares its MLB platform with Audi’s Q7, while our pre-production model uses a version of the VW Group’s 3.0-litre V6 developing 282bhp. This is paired with a smooth eight-speed auto. While VW hasn’t yet confirmed torque, it’s clear that the engine produces plenty at low revs, making for easy progress. It’s also very quiet, getting noisier only at high revs. The Touareg’s general refinement is highly impressive.
Along with this comes a very smooth ride; running on the optional air suspension and set to Comfort mode, the Volkswagen rides very smoothly over harsh ground. It uses multi-link suspension all round, with electromechanical, adjustable anti-roll bars to help reduce roll in corners. This means the big SUV feels more nimble than you might expect. The use of the MLB platform also allows the implementation of rear-wheel steering, which boosts the newcomer’s agility.
Key for many owners will be the Touareg’s ability to pull a caravan or trailer – and its 3.5-tonne towing capacity means the big VW is one of the few SUVs with the kind of serious hauling capability usually found only on pick-up trucks.