2018 Volkswagen Touareg (3rd Generation)


Honorary Master
Aug 9, 2009
Volkswagen Touareg 3.0 V6 TDI 4Motion 2018 review

Should I buy one?

This is, by and large, then, the same understated, competent Touareg known and loved for its fuss-free sense of maturity, refinement and ease of use since it first appeared in the UK in 2003.

I suspect it's also a car whose chief lures may well have been just the same if VW hadn’t bothered with that oversized chrome grille, that gigantic infotainment system, or at least half of that active chassis technology; but since it’s also VW’s model flagship, it was always likely to be a means to a certain amount of superfluous technological showing off.

The VW Touareg isn't likely to be anyone’s 'must-have' of 2018, but it is a very nice car deserving of more attention than it'll probably get – and it's an even nicer one for its unpretentiousness among the ever-increasing luxury SUV ranks.

Volkswagen Touareg 3.0 V6 TDI 4Motion R Line

Where Salzburg, Austria Price £52,000 (est) On sale June Engine V6, 2967cc, turbodiesel Power 282bhp at 3500rpm Torque 443lb ft at 1500rpm Gearbox 8-spd automatic Kerb weight 1995kg Top speed 148mph 0-62mph 6.1sec Fuel economy 40.9mpg CO2 182g/km Rivals Volvo XC90 D5 R Design, Audi Q7 3.0 TDI


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Honorary Master
Aug 9, 2009
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Honorary Master
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Honorary Master
Aug 9, 2009
New Volkswagen Touareg on sale in Britain from £51,595 (~R930k)

Third-generation SUV gets new technology and road-biased styling as firm targets affluent buyers in Europe and China

Volkswagen is now taking orders for its new Touareg, with prices for the flagship SUV starting at £51,595 and first deliveries due in the summer.

While that price leaves it £3425 cheaper than the Mercedes-Benz GLE, it makes the new car £6165 more expensive than its predecessor, which comes as a reflection Volkswagen's efforts to push its top model further upmarket.

The brand justifies the price hike by stating that its new Touareg represents the “biggest leap forward” in the history of the SUV.

The third-generation SUV, which was unveiled in Beijing during the spring, has been redesigned with new technology, road-focused styling and a revamped interior that is dominated by VW’s new Innovision Cockpit.

This Touareg is the first to have such a clear focus on the Chinese market because, aside from being the largest new car market in the world, it's seen rapid growth in SUV demand in recent times. SUVs accounted for 8% of the Chinese market in 2007, but by 2017 that had skyrocketed to 45%.

​VW boss Herbert Diess said: “The new Touareg sets a new benchmark at the top of the automotive world and shows what VW can do in terms of design and technology. It is a reflection of our brand.”

Three trim levels are offered at launch and the UK starting figure applies to the entry-level SEL. Prices for the plusher R-Line variant, which comes with sportier bodywork details, start from £55,095, while the R-Line Tech sits atop of the launch range with more standard kit (more on that below) and a starting price of £58,195.

At launch, just one engine is offered: a 3.0 V6 TDI producing 282bhp. It also produces 443lb ft of torque from 2250rpm, enabling the SUV to sprint from 0-62mph in 6.1sec. Top speed is 146mph. The Touareg range will gain a second 3.0 V6 diesel engine with 228bhp and 369lb ft will follow this autumn, as will a 3.0 V6 petrol with 335bhp and 332lb ft.



Honorary Master
Aug 9, 2009
Here’s how much the new Volkswagen Touareg costs in SA

The new Volkswagen Touareg has arrived in South Africa, with the local range of the third-generation model comprising two derivatives at launch.

In Luxury spec, the new model starts at R999 800, while opting for the Executive trim level sees the price rise to R1 088 200. Both come with a five-year/100 000 km maintenance plan (in addition to the three-year/120 000 km warranty) as standard.

Both variants of the Wolfsburg-based automaker’s flagship SUV are powered by the brand’s familiar 3,0-litre TDI V6, which has been tuned to deliver 190 kW and 600 N.m (up from its forebear’s 180 kW and 550 N.m) to all four corners.

The new Touareg runs on the MLB Evo platform already underpinning the Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne, Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus. And that, according to VW, allows this new model to weigh in a considerable 106 kg lighter than its predecessor.

It measures 4 878 mm long, which makes it some 77 mm longer than the second-generation model. Furthermore, the new Touareg comes in at 44 mm wider than before while its roof is 7 mm closer to the ground at 1 702 mm. With the rear seats in place, VW claims luggage capacity of 810 litres, which is 113 litres more than before.

Various options are expected to be offered locally, including air suspension, an uprated sound system and an R-Line package (although the latter appears to be standard on the Executive model). We’ll update this story once we learn more about the standard features of each trim level.


Volkswagen Touareg 3,0 V6 TDI Luxury: R999 800
Volkswagen Touareg 3,0 V6 TDI Executive: R1 088 200



Expert Member
Jul 2, 2012

2019 Volkswagen Touareg: The SUV That’s Too Exclusive for America

Ahead of its premiere at the Beijing auto show this spring, the next-generation Volkswagen Touareg has appeared in an official teaser video wearing next to nothing, as far as camo goes.

Crisp lines and upmarket styling cues set this VW utility vehicle apart from, say, the three-row Atlas, which is all we’ll ever see of a midsize vee-dub ute on this side of the ocean. That’s because the all-new 2019 Touareg is just not suited for life in America. Many would say its predecessor wasn’t, either.

Positioned as a two-row luxury SUV, the Touareg, which remains on sale in the U.S. despite being discontinued for the 2018 model year, broke the four-digit sales mark only four times after the second-generation model bowed for 2010. Those months can be found in 2011 and 2012. The model’s high water mark came much earlier, in 2004*— the Touareg’s first full year on the market.

When news the model’s discontinuation came last summer, Volkswagen of America was loathe to speak of its future. Rather, the newly enlarged Tiguan and new, midsize Atlas consumed all of the oxygen in the room. Both of those models were tailor-made for U.S. buyers, racking up considerable sales since their debut. With the old Tiguan (now Tiguan Limited) chugging alongside its newer sibling, that model’s sales have never been higher. In contrast, the Touareg was always a niche vehicle.

The 2019 Touareg sits upon VW Group’s MLB Evo platform, a premium bit of architecture you’ll find residing underneath the Audi Q7, Bentley Bentayga, and the upcoming Lamborghini Urus. It’s a pricey platform for pricey vehicles. Even the 2017 Touareg tops the Atlas’ MSRP by nearly $19,000, while offering less space.

The key market for the new model, which is expected to appear with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain (along with conventionally powered variants), is China. That country’s thirst for premium models, especially SUVs, apparently knows no bounds. Greater sales are more likely to be found there than here.

Speaking to*Forbes, one senior VW engineer admitted, sadly, that it “broke my heart knowing the Touareg won’t go to the U.S.”

Sad for the engineer, perhaps, but not for Volkswagen of America. The company’s U.S. product strategy is all about sales, not exclusivity. Every utility model coming to these shores is geared towards volume, which explains why the T-Roc small crossover, already available overseas, won’t appear at any VW dealers on Main Street, Anytown, USA. That model just didn’t seem a good fit for U.S. buyers, so VW is planning a separate small model just for us.

One pricey, lower-volume model we*will*see is the Arteon, an attractive sedan arriving this year. Despite its reliance on utility vehicles to fuel its U.S. comeback (and fund its electrification efforts) it seems Volkswagen needs a bare minimum of prestige to spice up its lineup.


VW is not seen as a premium brand in the USA.

The new Touareg is too expensive for the USA for what it is , but apparently not too expensive for South Africa...


Honorary Master
Aug 9, 2009
VW releases new premium Touareg SUV in SA: We have details, pricing and images

Superior flagship

While the first generation SUV was characterised by a dominant off-road DNA, this direction increasingly changed from the second generation to the new Touareg towards a progressive, modern and exclusive all-rounder, but always still ready to master the dirt tracks of the planet and to reach any destination.

Front end. The expressive front end of the Touareg is particularly distinctive. The chromed solid grille appears to be machined from solid metal and seamlessly interwoven with the continuous lines of the signature light.


The sides of the Touareg body look like a stretched sail blown by a tailwind. Accentuated front wheel housings and well-formed rear shoulder edges highlight the superiority of the Touareg on any terrain.

And this was the goal - to design the most superior SUV of its class. The opposing window lines and character lines at the side are stylish. And the roof line is striking. It seamlessly extends on the striking side line and dynamically concludes with the C-pillar that is angled towards the front.

New range of rims

The increase in dynamics is also reflected in the new range of Touareg rims. Each rim design harmonises with the design of the silhouette. The size of the alloy wheels now starts at 18 inches instead of 17-inches and ends with the 21-inch format.

The wheels available include the 18 inch alloy wheels “Concordia”, the 19-inch alloy wheels “Esperance”, the 20-inch alloy wheels “Braga” and “Nevada” as well as the 21-inch alloy wheel “Suzuka”.

Rear end

The wide shoulder above the rear wheels and the resulting indented greenhouse form a rear end with a strong presence. This superiority is emphasised by the LED taillight clusters.

They not only highlight the large total width of the Touareg but also the LED graphic of the front end with its L-shaped signature light. The aesthetics of the shape is by no means detrimental to functionality.

To the contrary, almost the entire width is filled out by the boot lid – but it can hardly be seen; what remains in your memory is therefore unique and solely the dynamics of the Touareg.

Interior features

The optional “Innovision Cockpit” celebrates its world première in the third generation Touareg. It is the control centre of a new era – an interactive interface for the Touareg where the information and settings of all essential comfort, assist and infotainment systems converge in one matrix. The interior designers completely redesigned the vehicle interior of the Touareg and consistently customised it for the digital age.

The majority of all buttons are integrated in the 15-inch (1,920 x 1,020 pixel) screen of the top infotainment system, “Discover Premium”, that is curved towards the driver.

This also includes the control of the 2-zone air conditioning system or the 4-zone air conditioning system as well as the activation of seat heating and seat ventilation.

Intuitive and frequently used switches such as the volume control have a deliberate analogue design (alternatively the volume can also be changed using a touch function on the screen of the infotainment system).

The glass-covered display of the “Discover Premium“ to the side of the driver is visually connected to the “Digital Cockpit” that is also covered in glass – the 12-inch high resolution digital instruments
(1,920 x 720 pixel) of the Touareg.

Both displays produce a consistent digital landscape in a one screen design on one viewing and operating axis. The “Innovision Cockpit” can be enhanced with an optional “head-up display” that virtually projects important information in the space in front of the driver on the windscreen.

The “Innovision Cockpit” is a departure from the conventional – never before has a Volkswagen interior of this type been digitalised and extensively linked to the vehicle functions and outside world to such an extent.

Different system displays can also be integrated in the "Digital Cockpit":

• Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
• Cruise Control System
• Speed Limiter
• Front Assist (front assist monitoring system)
• Night Vision (night vision system)
• Driver Alert System
• Tyre Monitoring System
• Navigation System
• Audio Functions

Head-up display. The information of the head-up display (windshield head-up display) is projected directly onto the windscreen. The display is in the direct field of vision of the driver – they can therefore obtain all the main information without looking away from the road.

The head-up display has a virtual screen size of 217 x 88mm making it the largest display of this type offered by Volkswagen to date. The driver can vary the range of displays in the head-up display.

The following information can be shown:

• Current driving speed
• Speed limiter
• Navigation information
• Adaptive Cruise Control
• Lane Assist
• Side Assist

The highest level of comfort, quality and exclusivity. Regardless of how rough and demanding the onroad and offroad terrain of the new Touareg may sometimes be, the vehicle interior of the Volkswagen SUV always remains a luxurious comfort zone.

The screens of the "Innovision Cockpit" with their glass covered surfaces as well as the aluminium and chrome details allow the extraordinarily high quality to be seen and felt. The individualisation of the interior is achieved with two trim lines: "Luxury" and "Executive".

Largest Volkswagen panoramic sliding roof. Natural light comes in through the largest panoramic sliding roof that Volkswagen has ever realised in the vehicle interior.

The transparent roof section is 1 270mm long and 825mm wide (inner dimension). The front half of the roof can be continuously opened and electrically moved back by 495mm and raised. An electrically activated cloth roller blind reduces the sun rays. Panoramic glass sunroof is offered as a standard feature.

Ambient light in 30 colours. Night rides are now more pleasant thanks to a newly developed LED ambient light. Using the ambient light, the atmosphere on board the Touareg can also be personalised. Here, 30 light colours whose brightness can be continuously adjusted are available as an option.

An overview of the ambient light zones:


• Front and rear door openers
• Front and rear door pullers
• Glove compartment
• Reading light and roof module
• Footwell and luggage compartment
• Door trays
• Stowage area of the centre console and cup holder


• Indirect illumination – illuminated decorations in the dash panel and the door trim
• Illuminated sill panel trim
• Additional direct light line in the trim strips

“Discover Pro” (standard navigation system)

“Discover Pro” is the standard navigation system. The glass-covered TFT touchscreen of the radio navigation system is 9.2-inch in size.

As for the optional “Discover Premium”, “Discover Pro” also has a proximity sensor system and the innovative gesture control, usable 10GB memory, two SD card slots as well as a Bluetooth mobile phone interface. Smartphones can also be integrated and charged via two USB ports.

“Discover Premium”

At the centre of the “Innovision Cockpit” is the top infotainment system “Discover Premium” – a radio navigation system, telephone, information centre and interface for configuring various vehicle functions at the same time.

A functional and visual highlight is the display that for the first time is designed as a curved sheet of glass. This is operated with “Discover Premium” equipped with a proximity sensor via the touchscreen and by means of gesture and voice control depending on the function.

The equipment includes 10GB usable memory, two SD card slots, an AUX-IN socket, four USB ports as well as a Bluetooth mobile phone interface.

Personalised settings

Including those of the “Innovision Cockpit” and the "Head-up Display", personal settings are saved in the vehicle system and automatically called up using the personal vehicle key.

This is particularly practical when the Touareg has been driven with another key by a friend or family member. Alternatively, the settings can be activated when starting using a menu that opens automatically. A total of seven profiles of different drivers can be saved in the Touareg.

Optional Dynaudio sound system with 730 Watt output. The new Touareg is fitted with an 80 Watt power amplifier that is integrated in the central computer of the infotainment system.

The sound is transmitted via four treble loudspeakers (two in the A-pillars, two in the front door panel) each with a 65mm diameter as well as four 200mm bass loudspeakers in the front and back doors.

New Touareg Pricing (VAT and emissions tax included)

3.0 V6 TDI 190kW (Luxury) - R999 800

3.0 V6 TDI 190kW (Executive) - R1 088 200

The new Touareg comes standard with a 5 year or 100 000km Maintenance Plan, 3 year or 120 000km warranty, 12-year anti-corrosion warranty and space saver spare wheel. Service Interval is 15 000km.


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Expert Member
Jan 19, 2012
I was in Plettenberg Bay this past weekend and stayed at the Sky Villa.
The tjorrie is being launched there and they were preparing for the launch.

Guys, this venue often offers specials out of season and it is just absolutely superlative.
Go to their website and if you want to have a real experience of luxury and views, this is the place to bring your skellum.


Honorary Master
Aug 9, 2009
Volkswagen Touareg (2018) Specs & Price

Volkswagen's latest-generation Touareg is now available in South Africa and the Uitenhage-based manufacturer has announced the specifications and pricing of its all-new Premium SUV range.

The 3rd-generation Touareg comes to market replete with advanced safety tech, connectivity, and, of course, a luxurious cabin. Compared with its predecessor, it is wider and longer (claimed luggage space has increased from 697 to 810 litres), yet it is 106 kg lighter, thanks to the clever use of aluminium and high-tech steel. There are numerous alloy wheel sizes and designs to choose from, ranging from an 18-inch to a 21-inch. There's just one engine for now. It's the 3.0 V6 TDI which offers 190 kW and 600 Nm. Power goes to all four wheels via an 8-speed transmission.

What's more, Volkswagen claims its new Touareg is one of the safest and comfortable cars in the world. For the first time, the Touareg has been equipped with night vision, which can detect pedestrians or animals in the road. The headlights are highly advanced and feature 128 LEDs in each unit. The Touareg also features trailer assist, which makes trailer maneuvres a lot easier, as well as numerous sensors and cameras for parking.

There are 2 levels of trim available for the new Volkswagen Touareg: Luxury and Executive. Luxury does what it says on the tin, whereas Executive leans towards the sportier elements.

VW Touareg Luxury specifications


Design package (Scuff plates, trapezoidal tailpipes, decorative aluminium trim & boot edge trim)
LED taillight clusters
19-inch Esperance alloy wheels
LED Headlamps with Daytime Running Lights
Roof rails, silver-anodised


Multi-function leather-trimmed steering wheel, with shift paddles
"Vienna" leather trim with rear centre armrest
Active climate electrically adjustable front seats (with memory function and 4-way lumbar support)
Climatic air conditioning
Easy Open/Easy Close (Keyless Access with Easy Open sensor; Power opening and closing tailgate)
Lights and Vision Package (including Light Assist High-Beam control)
Adaptive Cruise Control ACC ''Stop & Go'' including speed limiter
Front Assist (''Pre Sense'') automatic braking
Panoramic sunroof
"Discover Pro" navigation system
Volkswagen Media Control with App Connect
Electrically-folding towbar with Trailer Assist
Parking Package: reverse-view camera with Park Assist and Park Distance Control

Optional features:

Suspension Package with air suspension
R-Line Package
18-inch Concordia alloy wheels
Roof Racks: Silver anodised cross-bars with Silver-anodised roof rails
Ambient Light Package: Additional interior lighting, illuminated door sill plates
Ambient Light Package for R-Line: Additional interior lighting, illuminated R-Line door sill plates
Cargo Package: Net partition, luggage compartment mat, variable luggage/load compartment floor and luggage net and roll-up sunscreen for rear side windows
Innovision Cockpit
Dynaudio sound system: subwoofer, effect speakers, centre speakers and amplifier
Advanced Safety Package: Lane Assist and Side Assist with Night Vision and Head-up Display
Climatronic in front and multi-zone controls in the rear (4-zone).

VW Touareg Executive specifications
(over and above the Luxury spec stated above)


R-Line exterior kit: R-Line design front and rear bumpers with R-Line logo on radiator grille and side fenders, R-Line design on lower door parts, stainless steel load edge protection, chrome exhaust pipes, chrome decorative trims on side windows, scuff plates in stainless steel with R-Line logo in front
IQ Light Matrix LED headlights and LED tail lights with dynamic indicators
Headlamp washer system
Dynamic Chassis Control with a tyre pressure monitor system


White ambient lighting
Black headliner
Pedals in brushed stainless steel
Centre console in gloss black/ silver
Decorative inserts in Silver Wave
R-Line ergoComfort seats in Vienna leather trim with seat heating, 4-way adjustable lumbar support and rear centre armrest
Leather-trimmed R-Line multi-function sports steering wheel with shift paddles
Climatronic in front and multi-zone controls in the rear (4-zone)

Optional features

21-inch Suzuka alloy wheels
4-corner air suspension with electronic shock absorption control and 4-wheel steering.

Volkswagen Touareg prices in South Africa

The new Touareg comes standard with a 5-year/100 000km maintenance plan, 3-year/120 000 km warranty, 12-year anti-corrosion warranty and space saver spare wheel. Service intervals are set at 15 000 km.

3.0 V6 TDI 190kW (Luxury) R999 800

3.0 V6 TDI 190kW (Executive) R1 088 200



Psychonaut seven
Sep 13, 2007
I was in Plettenberg Bay this past weekend and stayed at the Sky Villa.
The tjorrie is being launched there and they were preparing for the launch.

Guys, this venue often offers specials out of season and it is just absolutely superlative.
Go to their website and if you want to have a real experience of luxury and views, this is the place to bring your skellum.



Honorary Master
Aug 9, 2009
DRIVEN: Volkswagen Touareg 3,0 V6 TDI Executive

It’s a fact that we, as a species, are a remarkably fickle bunch. That we fall for fake news and are often mesmerised by whatever’s the biggest, brashest, loudest and possessed of the most Twitter followers, goes to show that being softly spoken in this maelstrom of madness is tantamount to being invisible. And that’s what’s gradually happened to the Touareg since its arrival in 2002.

Having met with much fanfare, including a stonking V10-engined turbodiesel and stunts such as towing a Boeing 747 and netting (albeit in the heaviest of disguises) top honours in the Dakar Rally, Volkswagen’s halo SUV has otherwise gone about its business quietly, toiling away quietly on the boundary of the SUV stardom that the likes of the BMW X5 and Mercedes’ ML/GLE has enjoyed and lending its underpinnings to flashier relatives from the Porsche and Bentley stables.

It’s a posting that, to be completely honest, is ill-deserved; the Touareg has perennially proved itself to be a solidly crafted and suitably robust piece of luxury. It’s just not been shouty enough to garner the attention it’s so sorely due. With the release of this third-generation model, Volkswagen has again opted for this softly-softly approach … and that may not be a bad thing.


Its styling certainly doesn’t send heads whipping in its direction, instead being suitably Volkswagen-neat, taut and in places slightly crystalline in its execution. It’s a design that, when static, is almost invisible. But once on the move, with its slivers of LED daytime running lights flowing into the grille louvres, it suddenly begins to exude a pleasing purposefulness from its otherwise conservative frame.

The new Touareg is spun off Volkswagen’s MLB Evo platform, which already sees service underpinning such glamorous wares as the Porsche Cayenne, Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus. Measuring 4 878 mm long, the new Touareg is 77 mm longer, 44 mm wider, and at 1 702 mm in height, sports a roofline that’s 7 mm lower than that of its forebear. Luggage space also takes a 113-litre hike north of the previous car, with VW claiming 810 litres with the seats in place.

Step inside…

But while it’s bigger, yet still something of a stealth-premium SUV, it’s in the cabin is where the new Touareg really shines. Our Executive-spec test drive unit was fitted with the optional (R70 000-odd) “Innovision Cockpit” which ups the ante when it comes to the sheer acreage of virtual instrument screen a dash can house. The system occupies a vast swathe of facia, comprising a 12-inch virtual binnacle cluster and a 15-inch central display. This crisply defined interface is lag-free and oversees a wealth of ancillary functions, including climate controls and all manner of media and vehicle settings in between.

While the interface sports large, easy-to-prod tiles, it’s a system that can be deeply mined and can, without likely time-consuming familiarisation, prove a bit daunting to navigate on the go. But it’s not just the infotainment system that boasts the segment-leading span of glazing, the Touareg’s interior is bathed in light from the largest panoramic roof to ever grace a Volkswagen; a whopping 1 270 mm long and 825 mm wide.

Under the skin

The Touareg’s new platform, along with the utilisation of numerous lightweight materials in its construction, has shaved an impressive 106 kg off the kerb weight of its predecessor and this lighter frame is propelled by a 3,0-litre V6 turbodiesel (the one that’s soon to do service in the new Amarok V6) serving up 190 kW and 600 N.m of pull through Volkswagen’s multi-mode AWD system. The underpinnings can be further bolstered by an optional four-corner adaptive suspension system and an all-wheel steering setup that makes threading the Touareg’s substantial frame around tightly packed urban obstacles at low-speed less of a grimace-inducing affair.

Our route between Port Elizabeth and Plettenberg Bay took in a wide variety of surfaces, from smooth motorways to the tarmac patchwork of country roads and a considerable stretch of loose-surfaced dirt road with a generous helping washboard corrugations thrown in. No matter what was thrown the Touareg’s way, it calmly ironed out the lot.

Driving at pace on gravel, the new car feels less bulky and nose-heavy than its forebear and the brakes scrub off speed with an impressive alacrity. Those seeking involving driving dynamics may be left cold by the Touareg’s light steering and at times leisurely throttle response, but that’s missing the point of this car.

Fire and forget

Move to the motorway and the Touareg becomes a consummate fire-and-forget cruiser that wafts you over the miles in an effortless manner, quietly cocooned in an impeccably built cabin hewn from a wealth of soft-touch and other wonderfully tactile materials. The quiet innards did mean that a spot of tyre roar permeated the cabin, although admittedly only on the Eastern Cape sections of the N2, with their coarse surfacing.

It’s immensely frustrating that a car of the Touareg’s calibre has been perennially relegated to the periphery of our awareness when it comes to premium SUVs. But given the latest car’s showing, it’s heartening to know that in our loud, look-at-me world, there’s always a space for the softly spoken but substance-packed likes of the Touareg…

Model:Volkswagen Touareg 3,0 V6 TDI Executive
Price:R1 088 200
Engine:3,0-litre, V6, turbodiesel
Power:190 kW
Torque:600 N.m
Transmission:8-spd AT
Maintenance Plan:Five-year/100 000 km



Honorary Master
Aug 9, 2009
Volkswagen Touareg (2018) Launch Review

The new Volkswagen Touareg has touched down in South Africa. It's crammed with technology and luxury comfort features, plus offers genuine off-road capability. However, in the status-obsessed premium SUV segment, the badge on a car's nose carries so much weight. Will the newcomer attract customers in the way its predecessors couldn't?

Much is expected of this, the 3rd generation Volkswagen Touareg. It's predecessors, most notably the 2nd iteration, offered a commendable blend of comfort, sophistication, practicality, off-road prowess and even value for money. However, in this segment of the market, brand image counts for a lot and the Touareg has been overshadowed by more glamorous competitors. Despite this, it still managed to tally up a reasonable number of sales; in fact, almost a million units found homes globally. Third time lucky is the saying which comes to mind with the latest generation Touareg. After spending 2 days driving the newcomer across multiple terrains, we hope to answer the question: Can Volkswagen's premium SUV beat the best?

What's new?

With some R-Line bits in the Executive spec, the Volkswagen Touareg certainly looks the part

Underpinned by the Volkswagen Group's MLB platform which also forms the basis of the Audi Q7, Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus and Porsche Cayenne, the new Touareg is wider and longer than its predecessor, but slightly shorter. Interestingly, the overall mass of the vehicle has declined thanks to the clever use of lightweight materials. Volkswagen claims it's up to 106 kg lighter, which is a substantial weight saving.

Under the big bonnet of the Volkswagen Touareg, you'll find a big 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel. We've seen this engine before in other applications such as Amarok V6 and it is a commendable engine due to its refinement and power delivery. Power is rated at 190 kW, with 600 Nm of torque going to the Volkswagen 4Motion all-wheel-drive system via an 8-speed automatic gearbox.

In terms of looks, we quite like what we see. It's sharp and angular, particularly with the R-Line kit that comes standard with the higher-specced Executive. If you opt for one of the darker hues of colour, you're able to appreciate the intricate front end design more. In white, a fair amount of detail is lost. One of the highlights is the IQ Light Matrix LED headlights, which features 128 LEDs.

Volkswagen Innovision system. All the infomation you need in one slick and intutive layout

The cabin has seen a raft of changes and while it is an option, the Volkswagen Innovision infotainment system is highly commendable. Not only does it incorporate everything you'd ever need in a car, it's also magnificent to look at, thanks mostly to the size and resolution of the screen. Essentially, Innovision merges the digital dashboard with the Discover Pro premium infotainment system, to form one unit. There's plenty of customisation options and themes to make it your own.

Connectivity is key and when you're going for a flagship offering, you expect only the best, and the Volkswagen Touareg delivers. There's a wireless charging pad and two USB ports in the front, as well as Bluetooth. The safety tech is worth a shout too. Volkswagen has introduced a night vision camera, the car features lane assist, there's a heads-up display (which is one of the better units we have experienced) and there's even active 4-wheel steering. For ultimate comfort, the seats are heated and cooled too.

The MLB platform lends itself to excellent practicality, and cabin space in the new Volkswagen Touareg is good. Rear legroom is more than enough to accommodate adults in comfort and the luggage space (a claimed 810 litres) generous. Volkswagen claims the load bay is 113 litres bigger than that of the previous-generation Touareg; it certainly seems larger than the BMW X5, for example, but is slightly smaller than the Audi Q7 (890 litres).

What is it like to drive?

The Volkswagen Touareg is at home on the open road where it impressed us with its quietness and refinement. V6 engine is stonking.

Several big Volkswagens have endeared themselves to us with their excellent refinement (low NVH) and premium feel, and the new Touareg is no exception. The high driving position is commanding and outwards visibility is good. You sit high up and you have that big car feel in abundance.

One of the many things we were really impressed by was the refinement of the V6 turbodiesel engine. It's capable of delivering impressive shove, yet there's hardly any noise from the motor. Only when you're really stretching its legs, do you hear some sort of V6 grumble, but the cabin is so well isolated, you could probably drown it out with some music from the high-quality sound system. The 8-speed transmission is refined and smooth too, and while the car does offer steering-wheel gearshift paddles, we left them alone and let the car do all the work.

It features various driving modes such as Comfort, Sport and Offroad (including Snow, Gravel and Sand). In Comfort, the suspension is almost too soft: there was a slight wallowing feel when cornering, which we'll put down to the air suspension. The air suspension is a decent setup and you can raise/lower the car to suit your needs. Activate one of the Offroad modes and the vehicle rises up to clear obstacles, which is handy. The steering is not the most direct and there's not much feedback through the 'wheel, but that's acceptable in this segment. Indeed, driving the Touareg over long distances is a very relaxing affair – after travelling around 250 km in one stint, we ended the journey feeling quite comfortable and refreshed.

We had the chance to pilot the Touareg through some forestry plantation roads and while the course wasn't going to provide a stern test of the Volkswagen's off-road capabilities, it was a scenario where we'd tread carefully with a normal passenger car. With the Offroad gravel mode engaged, the Touareg didn't bat an eyelid and there was no loss of traction. Through some of the rockier sections, it felt surefooted and we're confident that it'll take some serious terrain to throw a Touareg off. Look, it's no Land Rover Discovery when it comes to the traversing technical 4x4 courses, but that's okay as the Disco costs substantially more and doing serious 4x4ing is not something these premium vehicles do often.

Even on big wheels, the Touareg's ride quality is excellent and cabin noise minimal


When you pitch a premium SUV with a Volkswagen badge into a market dominated by high-end brands such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, the odds are not stacked in your favour. People are unfortunately brand snobs and are likely to look down on Wolfsburg's offering, which is a real shame because this new Touareg is very good. Not only is it refined and comfortable, but its also superbly finished and there are enough tech toys to satisfy everyone. The engine is a peach too and there's plenty power for towing. Thanks to all that torque, overtaking is effortless.

Volkswagen knows the Touareg has its work cut out, so the newcomer has an ace up its sleeve. Unlike most high-end German products, you don't get a basic specification, which you then have to load with options (you could almost double their list prices!). Nope, not with the Touareg... It's already comprehensively kitted out and even in basic spec without the digital dashboard, there's enough luxury and tech to satisfy the vast majority of customers. In terms of price, it substantially undercuts those high-end rivals, which may be enough to sway some customers in favour of the Volkswagen. With the market expanding in 2018 with an all-new BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE and Audi Q8, we expect the prices of those vehicles to start around the R1.3 million figure, before extras, making a fully-loaded Volkswagen Touareg look like the premium SUV bargain of the year.

It's big and stylish, drives well and boasts one of the most advanced infotainment systems

Volkswagen Touareg prices in South Africa

The new Touareg comes standard with a 5-year/100 000km maintenance plan, 3-year/120 000 km warranty, 12-year anti-corrosion warranty and space saver spare wheel. Service intervals are set at 15 000 km.

3.0 V6 TDI 190kW (Luxury) R999 800

3.0 V6 TDI 190kW (Executive) R1 088 200



Honorary Master
Aug 9, 2009
Shmee has a test drive



Honorary Master
Aug 9, 2009
TheMotoristSA review



Honorary Master
Feb 22, 2016
Almost thought that was a cayenne for a second.


Honorary Master
Aug 9, 2009
Is VW’s Touareg a Bargain Bentley?

In the space of a month, 3 significant luxury SUVs have been launched in South Africa: Bentley Bentaya, Lamborghini Urus and Volkswagen Touareg. They have something vital in common, but which one is a better deal than the others?

They say beauty is more than skin-deep and with automobiles and their inherent value, it’s perhaps even more so. Blind your bias to appearance, dissolve the hollow confidence of orchestrated marketing and you might discover some incredibly underrated engineering equals in the market... We're talking about vehicles that share a similar core technical competency, despite vast differences in detailing and price.

As the world’s biggest car company, you’d expect the VW Group to have a few overlapping instances of platform engineering. Within its vast portfolio of brands, there are certain models which share a lot – and if you scrutinise the commonalities cleverly, there is also tremendous value to be had. Value anchored in sound engineering and technical principles, but ignored due to a market obsession with brand perception.

The issue of Volkswagen AG’s shared platform strategy isn’t a new topic, but the staggered local arrival of some hugely impressive premium and first-class SUVs from Bentley, Lamborghini and Volkswagen, all of which share a common technical ancestry, warrants a fresh discussion.

Why MLB is a big deal

The MLB platform setup for the Bentley Bentayga.

Luxury SUVs are increasingly becoming the profit pony for automotive companies. We are all familiar with them, thanks to a proliferation of previously unimaginable brand associations now proudly marketing SUVs: Bentley and Lamborghini being both the latest and most notable.

These elevated 5-door behemoths can cruise at 250 kph on the German autobahn and navigate South Africa’s immense network of secondary gravel roads with equal aplomb. Broadening market demand and a more diverse customer geography has generated sufficient demand for Bentleys and Lamborghinis that can go where no Mulsanne or Aventador owners would ever dare.

The secret to enabling Bentayga and Urus is a simple acronym: MLB. It’s one of Volkswagen’s immensely overengineered vehicle platforms, the kind of project that occupies thousands of engineers and absorbs massive investment. Its aim? To enable all the brands within VW’s corporate organogram to react faster to changes in market demand, whether there is a need for an entry-level hatchback or limited-production supercar.

Aston Martin is still dithering about delivering an SUV to market and Ferrari promises Maranello will have something capable of gravel travel soon, but it has stopped short of committing to a date. In comparison, it’s remarkable that both Bentley and Lamborghini, equally storied brands which are decidedly low-volume, have delivered comprehensively accomplished SUVs to market before any of their rivals. The reason is simple: MLB.

Lamborghini Bentayga disguised as a Volkswagen Touareg platform?

Despite the intimidating German name: Modularer Längsbaukasten, VW’s MLB strategy is about simplifying its business without sacrificing engineering competence and ultimately: customer experience. A Bentayga must ride with the necessary decorum and appropriate Bentley-calibre silence on its MLB platform, just as much as Urus is required to corner and accelerate in a manner expected from Lamborghinis, using the same structure. As such, there can be no compromise in the MLB platform’s fundamental engineering, one that also underpins the new Touareg…

Only a few elements of MLB are fixed: the windscreen angle, pedal box/firewall location, the orientation of the engine and position of the front wheels. The structure is entirely adaptable in length, which means you can build a variety of different luxury vehicle applications on it, provided you use the same engine orientation. It’s a world of industrial engineering simplicity, which enables tremendous scaling of resources.

Is a Bentayga (or indeed an Urus?) merely an overpriced Touareg?

The Urus has used its underpinnings for sporty handling and dynamic acceleration - petrol powered.

It’s a burning question. If their structures are similar, why pay 3 times the money for a Bentayga or Urus, when you could have a Touareg instead?

The first fallacy in this comparative argument is that Touareg does not offer nearly the engine options Bentley or Lamborghini do. The Urus is a 478 kW output vehicle powered by a 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 that spins to 6 750 rpm. Bentley will offer you immensely torque-rich options, such as the 900 Nm 4.0-litre tri-turbodiesel V8, which arrived on local shores at the beginning of July 2018. Touareg’s engine portfolio is rather limited and less glamorous in comparison: a range of V6s, of which the South African market only has the option of a 3.0-litre V6 turbodiesel, for now.

These incredible engines certainly account for some of the pricing difference between a Touareg, Urus or Bentayga. So does the cabin trim, which is outlandishly luxurious and handmade on the Bentley. To its credit the Urus features an exceptionally sophisticated code of engine, transmission and steering ratio algorithms, which are many times more aggressive than either Bentayga or Touareg’s electronically harmonised dynamics.

The Bentley Bentayga prioritises torque, a hefty 900 Nm if it in its highest form.

Bentley’s claim for their MLB SUV is unparalleled refinement: a quietest-in-class cabin, accounting for its immense mass, which is 500 kg more than a Touareg. Another example of differentiation between the boutique brand MLB SUVs and Touareg is how Bentayga’s substantial kerb weight has necessitated a customised engineering solution, with active roll-bars at both axles, gifting Bentayga a matchless combination of air-cushioned ride quality and unrivalled active roll-mitigation. The anti-roll bars are split, with an electric motor in the middle, and the moment it senses lateral weight shift, those motors drive greater rebound pressure onto the outside wheel, flatting the Bentayga’s stance when every bit of logic is telling you the big Bentley should be leaving the road and ending up on its roof.

Engines. Sound-deadening materials. Exotic cabin materials. And trick suspension technology. These are inarguable technical elements of differentiation between Bentley and Lamborghini’s MLB SUVs and Touareg.

The benefit of buying into superior breeding

Volkswagen’s been clever to ensure a sufficient degree of separation in purpose, thereby allowing Touareg, Bentayga and Urus to silo into different niches, and out of any rivalry with each other.

One of the most challenging aspects of engineering a superior vehicle structure is deciding how the engine is going to be orientated, the driver accommodated, and front wheels mounted. Miscalculations or compromises regarding any of these technicalities will deliver a vehicle with compromised weight distribution under braking and clumsiness into tight corners (engine location), an annoyingly compromised driving position (pedal box ergonomics) and lethargic handling (front-wheel placement).

Is the quality markedly different enough to warrant a couple million rands difference in price between the Touareg and its siblings?

Get these platform decisions correct and you are destined to build greatness, irrespective of eventual wheelbase length (which is variable with MLB), cabin materials, sound insulation or engine power. It's here where Touareg presents an amazing value proposition. For years the best buy in VW’s portfolio was the rather stealthy Passat (for all intents and purposes a discounted Audi A4). The analogy between Passat/A4 and Touareg/Bentayga/Urus is this: with the VW-branded larger MLB SUV, you're buying into the most over-engineered large SUV architecture there is.

With Bentayga and Urus occupying the rarefied high-performance SUV segment with overwhelming engine power, there is an irony in the Touareg’s stealth MLB status. When product planners revealed the original Touareg it was a vehicle so unique within VW’s portfolio, there was no risk of cannibalising any sibling brand, as Bentley and Lamborghini weren’t remotely interested in SUVs a decade and a half ago. As such, engineers could develop outrageous engine options for the Touareg: which debuted with a 5.0-litre turbodiesel V10. The possibility of a radical high-performance Touareg is less likely now, as it would possibly cannibalise Bentayga or Urus market cache, not necessarily competing on price or exclusivity – but certainly on capability or performance. Because at its core, there is little difference, save for the engines…

The future for Touareg, in collaboration with its MLB SUV siblings, is to be a junior partner in Volkswagen's attempt to dominate the luxury SUV market completely. Expect a future of greater hybridisation, instead of 1000 Nm diesel engines or detuned Urus V8s. But if you want to buy into a vehicle with indisputable Bentley and Lamborghini technical relations, Touareg is a veritable bargain.

It will be interesting to see how many South Africans make the correlation and spend their money so wisely, on what is now certainly the engineer’s choice in luxury SUVs. With Passat, South Africans were unable to recognise engineering excellence and separate it from brand bias. For the few who see the MLB value beneath that VW badge, they’ll be guaranteed an immensely contented ownership experience, driving a vehicle which was, at its core, designed to cope with the performance demands of Bentley and Lamborghini...