VW Touareg is named after the Tuareg people in the Sahara, known for their resilience and endurance. The current (second generation) car, made in Bratislava, is due for replacement next year. It has been around since 2010 and shares the platform and much of the tech with the Porsche Cayenne.
The world has shifted away from passenger cars in favour macho-minded activity vehicles collectively called SUVs. This is perhaps why Touareg’s metalwork looks as solid as a Sherman tank. It can easily be pictured towing a horse float, boat, or god forbid, a caravan.
A 2015 upgrade saw VW graft on that year’s latest corporate face to brighten up the front of the Touareg. It has standard LED DTRLs, fancy Bi-Xenon auto headlights, and round the back, LED taillights. For highway driving there are foglamps front and back. These are the super annoying bright lights drivers turn on and forget to turn off. Front fog lights have static cornering which will illuminate sideways during turns.
Unlike most other Volkswagens, the rear tail gate uses a rubber button to open instead of grabbing the VW badge. The button and reversing camera sit under a ledge on the surface of the hatch which leaves them open to being covered in schmutz.
19” Moab alloy wheels in the “Monochrome” make the SUV look slightly more menacing than it otherwise would. There is still touch of assassin-in-a-dinner-suit elegance about the style which appeals to me as much now as it did when it was released.
Character lines have been kept to a minimum. It makes the design appear simple an uncluttered. There is a graceful sweeping waistline allowing for plenty of glass. It makes for decent all-round vision despite the considerable size.
The front bumper looks forceful, yet simple. Strong angular supports in the lower bumper have a “don’t mess with me” stance.
Like most SUVs, Touareg is not an off-roader in the true sense of the word, though you could certainly tackle a little light work in the gravel if you wanted to.
Interiors are where drivers are going to spend most of their time with a car.
The cabin has a peaceful ambience created by restrained yet tasteful design. Subtle curves, quality finishes, and good ergonomics, make the driver’s seat a nice place to be, especially in the highway.
VW says the interior is luxurious, but although it feels and looks like good quality, luxury is not the word I would use.
Touareg’s seats have power adjustment with two tone Vienna leather upholstery. The “monochrome” edition has adaptive cruise but misses out of the thumping audio system of the top model.
There is plentiful storage with a bin above the audio system, 4 cup holders, and a bottle holder in each front door. The glove box is chilled and has a separate sunglasses holder. There is a drawer under each front seat for knickknacks, and cubbies in the rear.
Driver instruments have conventional dials with an MFD (multi-function display) LCD between them. Menus in the MFD access features such as the invaluable digital speedo, as well as trip and car settings. You can flip between menuas using the steering wheel buttons.
There are further vehicle settings in the centre infotainment screen. Here, you’ll also find SatNav, audio, climate, and media interface controls. It is one of Volkswagen’s older systems and does not include Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. You can stream music through Bluetooth and USB cable.
As always, there is handsfree through “hey Siri”. On-board voice control was ……