Enjoy acres of space in the Volkswagen Touareg

The Volkswagen Touareg is a large five seat premium European SUV that is based on the same platform as the seven seat Audi Q7 and Bentley Bentayga. There are two variants in the Touareg range, both powered by the same diesel engine, and I recently drove the base model 190TDI.

Due to the platform that the Touareg is based on, the cabin is very spacious. It’s also quiet and VW have used soft plastics throughout the cabin and I particularly liked the stitched dash, matt plastic on the centre console and the design of the driver’s dash, all of which give the interior of the Touareg a premium feel. Then there are the small touches like the double sun visor for front passengers that shields your eyes from the sun at the front and side and what I think was a small cup holder for your espresso coffee in front of the arm rest.

The leather covered flat bottomed steering wheel has a clean design and easy to navigate controls including voice control. The button on the steering wheel to activate the voice control is designated with an androgynous face, rather than a man’s face like many other car manufacturers. The voice control worked well for me, but to enter an address you have to go step by step rather than just saying the whole address at once.

The Vienna leather appointed front seats have all-round power adjustment including side bolster and lumbar support, but no memory settings. From the infotainment screen you can also extend the front of the seat and I like for the seat heating that you can select to have the heat on your back or your bottom or both.

The 9.2” touch screen infotainment display has smartphone style graphics and Gesture Control, which I found to be a bit hit and miss to use.  Media options include AM/FM radio, SD card, and compatible with MP3, WMA and AAC music files. To connect to Apple CarPlay/Android Auto there is one USB port under the arm rest and under the powered cover at the front of the centre console there is another USB port and a 12V outlet plus wireless phone charging for compatible devices.

The one feature I found annoying about the cabin design was that there are no buttons for making adjustments to the climate settings. You need press the Menu button on the touchscreen and then adjust the fan speed on the screen.

The rear seats have ample head and leg room for two adults to sit there and the seats can be manually moved back and forward and have recline adjustment as well. Rear passengers get air vents with manual speed control only and in a flip out compartment below the air vents there are two USB ports and one 12V outlet.

There are two ISOFIX/three rear tether child seat restraint points and with careful selection you would be able to fit three car seats across the back seat. Parents of young children will also appreciate the manual blinds on the windows. If the centre seat is not in use it can be folded down as an arm rest with three different sized rigid drink bottle holders in it. There is also drink bottle storage in door cubby, which is lined with cloth to prevent rattles. The only issue I noted for the rear seats was that there was no mat over transmission tunnel, which means in the long-term the carpet here may become worn from children stepping over it.

The Touareg boot is large, officially 810 litres, and it would easily fit the pram and a weekly shop. The boot has a removable carpet mat for cleaning and electric open and close, but it doesn’t have gesture open functionality. The cargo cover moves up and out of the way, but its operation is a bit clunky. A removable cargo net can either be secured behind the rear seats or if 40/20/40 split folding rear seats are folded down then behind the front seats. Other features of the boot include an elastic net to secure items, four tie down points, two hooks and one 12V outlet and a temporary spare tyre.

Under the bonnet is a 3.0 litre, 6-Cylinder engine with turbocharger and common rail direct injection, the engine operates quietly and I didn’t notice any noise in the cabin from it. The engine produces 190kW of power @ 4000rpm and 600Nm of torque @ 2250rpm and this is good for a 0-100km/h time of 6.5 seconds. The official combined fuel economy is 7.4L/100km and for my week I used 8.7L/100km.

The engine is paired with an 8-Speed automatic gear box and VW’s 4MOTION all-wheel drive.  There are six drive modes to choose from being Eco, Normal, Sport, Individual, Off-road and Snow. For Individual mode you can adjust the Steering, Drive, adaptive cruise control and air conditioning settings. The ride quality of the Touareg is nice even in Sport mode.

Safety features include a standard rear view camera with 360o sensors, adaptive cruise control, lane assist with adaptive lane guidance that I felt works pretty well, blind spot assist, front and rear traffic assist and front assist for collision warning. While driving through the new M8 Westconnex Tunnel, what I can only assume was the lighting in the tunnel, caused the front collision warning to partially activate and brake the Touareg. ANCAP tests of the Autonomous Emergency Braking system showed GOOD performance with collisions avoided or mitigated in most test scenarios. ANCAP tests of lane support system functionality showed some GOOD performance, including several of the more critical emergency lane keeping test scenarios, and overall performance was classified as GOOD. Overall the active safety features on all Touaregs received an ANCAP score of 78%.

Passive safety features include dual frontal airbags, side chest-protecting airbags for both the first and second row outboard seating positions, and side head-protecting airbags (curtains). All model variants of the Volkswagen Touareg range have a 5-star ANCAP (2019) safety rating with an Adult Protection rating of 34.0 out of 38 (89%) and a Child Occupant protection rating of 43.4 out of 49 (88%).

All new Volkswagen models come with a five year, unlimited kilometre warranty and one year’s membership to Volkswagen Roadside Assist. Roadside assistance can be extended if your vehicle is in a roadworthy condition and you have the Volkswagen standard scheduled service carried out by a participating authorised Volkswagen Dealer, but Dealers may charge a service fee to activate this. Service intervals for the Touareg are 15,000km or 12 months, whichever comes first. Using the Volkswagen Assured Service Pricing I calculated for the first five services of a 2020 Touareg would cost $3,154.

The Touareg 190TDI starts at $80,790 plus on-road costs and my Touareg as tested had no options fitted. Space, a luxury feel and safety are all here in the Touareg, so if you are looking for a premium SUV then visit your preferred Volkswagen dealer to find out more.

ProsCons
Large, luxurious cabinHave to use touchscreen to adjust climate control
Quiet, fuel efficient diesel engineNo gesture opening boot
Good ride qualityExpensive service costs

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.