A little over 15 years on and the never truly humble Touareg has sold over a million examples worldwide and VW chose to launch the latest, third generation model in China, its largest market. The new Touareg features expressive design, innovative operating, convenience and safety systems, and a pleasingly high level of material quality and craftsmanship.
Compared to its predecessor, the third generation Touareg is slightly wider and longer, offering even more interior and boot space. Luggage capacity is up from 697 to 810 litres with rear bench seat up. Any cargo is hidden from sight by an optional electrically extending and retracting luggage compartment cover. Despite the increased length and width, the car body is 106 kg lighter thanks to its mixed material construction of aluminium (48 per cent) and high-tech steels (52 per cent).
What really sets the new model apart is the design of its interior, loaded with the latest VW group tech and fully digitalised Innovision Cockpit. Here the digital instruments (a Digital Cockpit with 12-inch display) and the Discover Premium infotainment system with 15-inch display merge to form a digital operating, information, communication and entertainment unit with practically no buttons or switches.
The Innovision Cockpit is always-on and offers intuitive control with a high degree of personalisation of the digital interior. You can adapt the assistance, handling and comfort systems to your personal taste. This is made possible by a new high level of connected systems and programmes, controlled via digital interfaces and the multifunction steering wheel.
The Touareg also gets the largest range of assistance, handling and comfort systems ever to be integrated into a Volkswagen. These include technologies such as the Night Vision assistance system for detecting people and animals in darkness via a thermal imaging camera; Roadwork Lane Assist with semi-automated steering and lane keeping, accelerating and braking up to 37 mph; Front Cross Traffic Assist, which reacts to traffic crossing in front; active all-wheel steering, new roll stabilisation with electromechanically controlled anti-roll bars. TheIQ.Light LED matrix headlights are interactive with camera-based dipped and main beam headlight control to prevent dazzle, while a Head-up Display projects directly onto the windscreen.
VW likens the way the tech works to the intuitive features of your latest smartphone, saying that the driver experiences its systems as a single unit in the new Touareg. They are simply there, interconnected via a new central control unit and working imperceptibly in the background to make travel safer, easier and more convenient.
Volkswagen launches the new 2018 Touareg in the UK with a 286 PS V6 diesel engine. This will be followed later in the year with a lower powered 231 PS version. Petrol heads can chose a V6 petrol engine with 340 PS, while the range topper will get a V8 turbodiesel with 421 PS. A new plug-in hybrid drive with 367 PS is expected in 2019.
The Touareg has gone a long way upmarket over the last 15 years.