The Volkswagen Touareg midsize luxury crossover SUV has been produced by German automaker Volkswagen since 2002. The second generation Touareg has been in production since 2010, and is therefore at the last part of its model cycle. To keep buyers fascinated, the company has undertaken a refresh. As is usual with these things, the modifications include some exterior and interior renovation, as well as amplified content levels. We grabbed a plane and flew to Oman to get our first glance at it.
What’s new on the 2015 VW Touareg?
The front-end design of the Touareg was completely re-developed. Especially distinctive are the headlights which are now larger; moreover, bi-xenon headlights as standard and the newly designed LED daytime running lights, available from the SEL package onwards.
The trapezoid-shaped lights create a line towards the re-designed radiator grille in the middle of the vehicle. In contrast to the previous model, the grille is trimmed with four transverse chrome fins instead of two; the two lower fins are visually extended into the headlights. Together, the radiator grille and headlights form a prominent wide band.
The new design gives the Touareg an even wider and more impressive appearance. Complementing this visual image is the lower area of the bumper, which boasts a completely new look. As on the new Scirocco R sports car from Volkswagen, the lower air inlet now forms a stylized "A" instead of a "V" that transitions into the side air inlets to the right and left, giving the new Touareg a fuller stance on the road.
When the "Chrome & Style" package is ordered with the SEL, there is a chrome strip on the next level, which continues into the side and rear body sections. Beneath this strip are newly designed fog lights that are coordinated with the new bumper design. At the bottom level, there is a new front spoiler which perfects the aerodynamics of the underbody and the front wheels.
From the rear, the more precise styling of the Touareg is marked by its new, cleanly designed bumper which, similar to the front end, emphasizes the width of the SUV. When the "Chrome & Style" package is ordered as an option on the V6 package, a wraparound chrome strip is integrated in the bumper.
Integrated between the exhaust tailpipes is a redesigned diffuser. Designers have relocated the LED rear fog lights to the bumper, which, as in the previous model, also integrates the rear reflectors. Visual highlights in the area of the boot lid include the re-designed VW badge and a sharpened tornado line between the rear lights.
The interior of the Touareg reflects an extraordinary alliance of rugged SUV elements and sophisticated premium class elements including aluminium rotary knobs for the Climatronic system, running gear adjustment, air suspension, radio-navigation system, mirror adjustment and the air vent knobs which have been replaced by a new style of rotary knob - perfected both to look and to touch.
In addition to the chrome accents around the control panel modules and the running gear adjustment controls, the red illumination of all controls is now white.
Above the infotainment system, the central push button/display bar on the center console is now extended. Previously the console consisted of three elements: "Park Distance Control" (PDC), hazard warning unit and status display "Passenger airbag off". In the new generation Touareg, the new push button for windscreen heating has been integrated to the right of the passenger airbag indicator, meaning the three button module now boasts five buttons. Another upgrade as standard includes a manual lumbar support adjustment in the front seat area.
The new Touareg is equipped with standard features such as bi-xenon, all wheel drive, 17 inch alloy wheels, cruise control system with multifunction steering wheel, RCD 550 infotainment system with touchscreen, stop-start system, regenerative braking, coasting function, climate control system (Climatronic), servo steering and ESC with trailer stabilization function.
The V8 versions offer extra standard features such as 18 inch alloy wheels, the Chrome & Style design package, comfort seats in Vienna leather, fine wood accents, electric opening and closing function for the boot lid, anti-theft warning system and a keyless entry and exit, and engine starting system.
The start-stop system turns off the engine automatically when the car slows to 7km/h and comes to a halt. As soon as the brake pedal is lifted, the engine starts meaning the engine only runs when needed.
Multiple-collision avoidance braking system after a collision is detected, means the brakes are automatically held in order to keep the car from rolling further unintended.
The trailer socket boast an additional two extra connections via pins 10 & 11, enabling the new Touareg to supply the trailer with higher currents while the engine is running (approx. 15-20 A) for example when charging of trailer battery or for air cooler.
Fuel consumption reduced by up to six percent. This is due to extensive aerodynamic improvements (such as air inlet openings in the front of the vehicle, modified door mirror caps and new wheel spoiler), tires optimization for low rolling resistance and standard eight speed automatic gearbox optimized for low friction, Volkswagen was able to improve the fuel efficiency of the Touareg by up to six percent.
In everyday driving, fuel consumption is also reduced by an optimized stop-start system, a standard coasting function for the V6 versions (until now only available with the Touareg Hybrid) which means as soon as the driver releases the accelerator pedal, the engine is decoupled from the gearbox; this is also known as coasting – a function even possible at vehicle speeds up to 130 km/h.
The standard steel-spring running gear has also been optimized in the new Touareg; improvements include more agile steering response and a gain in comfort. An air suspension is available as an option. Changes in the spring/damping unit have also resulted in optimized driveability of standard suspension.
Within a decade, Volkswagen has sold around 720,000 units of the high class sport utility vehicle; last year alone over 70,000 drivers chose the Touareg. The new Touareg is available in the Middle East with both V6 and V8 FSI, a direct-injection petrol engines. To check out the 2015 Volkswagen Touareg, locate any VW Showroom around you in the Middle East or Gulf.
Rivals: Range Rover Sport, Porsche Cayenne, BMW X5, Mercedes GLE (previously M-Class), Jeep Grand Cherokee, Volvo XC90, Audi Q7
Pros: strong engine, lower price tag comparing to competition, infotainment easy to use
Cons: resale value
One word: one package