The Volkswagen Touareg (and other vehicles of this ilk) are the rude gesture in the face of political correctness and the weirder, way far left reaches of the tree-hugging greenies – and the further they shy away from a vehicle like this, the less they actually understand.
Like a ‘Leatherman’, the Touareg is voluminous, occupies space and is difficult to justify – until it is needed!
Quite simply, when the route from ‘A’ to ‘B’ is not linked by toll-burdened blacktop, the Touareg takes to rough rural routes like the proverbial duck to water – and does so with minimal compromise to its overall fuel economy.
While the 2011 Touareg looks new, it is still easily identifiable. The major exterior changes see it gaining a bit of width and length while losing some roof height for better aerodynamics and a smoother overall appearance.
At the front there is now a narrower grille opening that connects to the headlight housings with U-shaped LED running lights and Bi-Xenon headlamps. At the rear, the taillights have new L-Design. The new front-end design and smaller frontal area has significantly improved Cd value. Touareg has also dropped some weight, which results in better fuel economy. The new Touareg is 208 kilograms lighter in the base version than the previous model; still the body torsional rigidity has improved by five percent.
The new 3.0 V6 TDI BlueMotion Technology with 176 kW is the first BlueMotion Technology engine to be introduced in South Africa. The 550 Nm (176 kW) strong turbo-diesel engine consumed 8,5 l/100 km on our test route, significantly less than the previous version and with lower overall emissions.
The Touareg is now shifted by a standard 8-speed automatic transmission and the mass of the base model has been reduced by 208 kilograms.
The V6 TDI engine has a Stop-Start system as standard equipment; the power train also utilise regenerative braking to recover kinetic energy. In addition, all engines have an optimised thermal management system; deactivating the water pump in the cold-start phase heats the engines to their operating temperatures much more quickly, resulting in a fuel savings of 0,3 l/100 km.
When it comes to active safety, the ESP electronic stabilisation programme is automatically on board; it includes trailer stabilisation, anti-lock braking, ASR and four electronic differential locks (EDS). Also on board in the active safety area are the Hill Start and Hill Descent Assist as well as electronic parking brake with auto-hold function.
Standard convenience features include automatically dimming rear-view mirror, electric folding and adjustable door mirror, rain sensor, load sill guard in trim colour, multifunction leather steering wheel plus cruise control system, centre armrests front and rear, four 12-Volt accessory sockets, a 230V power socket, coming home and leaving home lighting feature, remotely operated power windows, cargo space cover with automatic opening and a 2-zone automatic climate control system among them.
In addition, there are a number of features that are available as options. These include rear side air bags, silver roof racks, air suspension, climate controlled seats, tow bar (electrically released and foldable), rear view camera (Rear Assist) with parking distance control, Area View with parking distance control, air suspension, wooden multi-function steering, storage package and cargo management system to name but a few.
While all of this does come at a hefty price, the Touareg really uses as much (or less) fuel than the average D-segment sedan and its emissions are not that much more. In return, it provides a supremely comfortable ride coupled to an equally comfortable interior where traffic and other intrusive noise is shut out.
With car-like ride and handling characteristics on tar roads, it really comes to life on the back roads where the balanced suspension soaks up ruts and pits and the clever four-wheel drive system provides optimal traction at all times.
Ample interior seating space and a large luggage area make this a business cruiser that comes close to actually being all things to all people.
Courtesy: Fleet magazine