The all-new Touareg has been unveiled – a car which is up to 200 kg lighter and up to 20 per cent more fuel efficient than the model it replaces. It’s sharper, cleaner and yet, in Hybrid form, able to out-accelerate many hot hatches while returning 34 mpg on the combined cycle. The new vehicle maintains all the same virtues of space, comfort, refinement and off-road and towing ability that have led the original Touareg to build up a loyal following since its launch in 2003.
Clean new styling which draws inspiration from the design direction established by the Golf Mk VI, the new Polo and the New Compact Coupé concept lends the new Touareg greater presence and a lower drag coefficient without sacrificing the functional requirements of short front and rear overhangs for off-roading.
The overall length and wheelbase of the Touareg have each grown by 40 mm to measure 4,758 mm and 2,900 mm respectively. The width of the new Touareg remains as before at 1,928 mm while overall height drops by 20 mm to 1,724 mm.
The changes over the outgoing model extend far beyond new styling. Standard examples of the new Touareg will feature an eight-speed transmission as well as, on the majority of models, Start/Stop technology, touchscreen satellite navigation and leather upholstery. In addition, a choice of advanced new options can be specified including High Beam Assist that automatically dips the headlights when it senses oncoming traffic, Side Assist to warn of vehicles occupying blind spots, adaptive roll compensation air suspension and air conditioned, massaging seats.
At the heart of the new Touareg is a range of highly efficient petrol and diesel engines and, for the first time, a Hybrid.
The new Touareg Hybrid brings together a 3.3-litre supercharged V6 petrol engine producing 333 PS and 265 lbs ft of torque and an electric motor generating 47 PS, resulting in a total output of 380 PS and 428 lbs ft of torque. The electric motor can operate independently of the combustion engine making the new Touareg a full hybrid. On electric power alone the new Touareg is capable of travelling at speeds of up to 30 mph. Alternatively the electric motor can supplement the V6 engine to provide a useful boost during overtaking manoeuvres and allows the Touareg Hybrid to accelerate from rest to 62 mph in 6.5 seconds before reaching a top speed of 149 mph.
The entry-level engine and the likely volume seller is a powerful and refined 3.0-litre V6 TDI engine generating 240 PS and 405 lbs ft of torque while returning 38.1 mpg and emitting 195 g/km of CO2 to place it in VED band J.
A new 4.2-litre TDI V8 engine producing 340 PS and 590 lbs ft of torque sits at the top of the new Touareg range. Despite its substantial power and torque outputs the new engine is still capable of achieving 31 mpg on the combined cycle while emitting 239 g/km of CO2.
The new Touareg range will extend to four versions in the UK: SE, Altitude, Hybrid and Escape. The Escape model, available with the V6 TDI engine, features a system called 4XMOTION which comprises reduction gearing, centre and rear differentials that can each be fully locked for off-road applications and five stage control for the four wheel drive system. The first stage is for on-road applications, the second is for off-road use and activates automatic control for the mechanical differential locks, stage three engages the low-range gearbox with revised mapping of the gearbox to raise the shift points and switches off the automatic upshift in manual mode. Stage four applies the centre differential lock, stage five adds the rear differential lock.
The greater refinement afforded by the new drivetrain is matched by an all-new interior featuring a subtle mix of leather, wood and aluminium highlights and more space than ever before thanks to the longer wheelbase on which the new Touareg sits. Though the Touareg remains a five-seater, legroom in the rear has grown significantly due to the new sliding rear bench and reclining backrests while the boot measures from 580 litres to 1,642 litres depending on the seating arrangement.
Production of the new Touareg for the UK market starts in June before first deliveries commence in August. Prices and specifications will be announced nearer this time.