Choose your own Adventure

The Volkswagen Touareg range in Australia has been extended and now includes five different models with four diesel engine variants, including a V8 offering with 310kW of power. I have previously sampled the base model 190TDI and on this occasion I am drove the 190TDI Adventure.

External differences between the two Touaregs include bright roof rails, 19” Esperance alloy wheels with Direct Tyre Pressure Monitors and additional underbody protection for critical components. While on the inside you get white ambient interior lighting and open-cell fine grain ash wood inserts for dashboard and doors, among other luxury inclusions.

The 190TDI Adventure has the same 3.0 litre, 6-Cylinder engine with turbocharger and common rail direct injection diesel engine that 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 with the 190TDI Adventure I achieved very close to this with 7.8L/100km despite the fact that I spent the entire week driving the Touareg in Sport mode. The fuel tank has a 90 litre capacity, so you will be able to drive a long way between fill-ups.

The peppy diesel engine, which you cannot hear in the cabin even on start-up, is paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and if you use the small wheel mounted paddle shifters you can really hustle this Touareg through the corners. The Touareg has Volkswagen’s 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system and in addition to Sport mode you also can select from Eco, Comfort, Individual, Off-road or Snow modes. The 190TDI Adventure also gets 4-corner air suspension with electronic damping control and this made for a very comfortable and relaxing drive, even on a long road trip.

This Touareg may be called the Adventure, but it is all luxury on the interior. The Savona leather appointed seat upholstery smells expensive plus the front seats have eight different massage settings, think Bentley Bentayga on a budget and this is what the 190TDI Adventure feels like to me. The front seats are comfortable, but lack a bit of side support, and both have easy access that moves the seat backwards making it easier for you to get in, plus power adjustment in every direction including lumbar support, with three memory positions. The driver’s memory position also includes memory for the mirrors and steering column as well.  

The front seats are also heated and cooled front and you can select to have only your bottom or back or both heated, which is a nice touch. Both of the heating and cooling functions work very well, this is not always the case because some car companies struggle to get cooling to work properly. My 190TDI Adventure had the Atacama-Raven seats with Atacama-Raven dashboard, Raven carpet and Bright Atacama headliner. This interior spec is paired with the Sechura Beige metallic colour ($2,000 option) of my Touareg or the no cost option Pure White colour.

The 190TDI Adventure can also be specced with Florence-Soul Interior, which has with Florence-Soul (dark red and black) seats, Soul dashboard, Soul carpet and Soul headliner, but you must choose either Silicon Grey Metallic or Deep Black Pearl Effect paint (both $2,00 options) with this interior selection.

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

The leather-wrapped steering wheel is comfortable to hold, but I would prefer it to be a little thicker and with controls for the phone to be on it. The 190TDI Adventure has voice control that works very well for setting an address on the sat nav and making phone calls and you can also use it to change the radio frequency or media selection with the voice control. The button on the steering wheel to activate the voice control is designated with an androgynous silhouette, rather than a masculine silhouette like many other car manufacturers.

Other interior features I liked on the 190TDI Adventure includ the three different sized cup holders in the centre console, one which is small enough for an espresso and the large front door cubby that is cloth-lined to reduce rattles. Plus the Adventure has a double sided sun visor so you can have one for the windscreen and one for the window. I also think the driver’s dash is very stylish with the two analogue dials and the digital screen between them. 

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 are two USB ports and one 12V outlet. The 190TDI Anturealso gets Bentley style touch control lights for rear passengers, which is something my children picked up on.

For children, 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 cubbies, which also have the removable cloth liner. 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 190TDI Adventure boot is electrically operated with automatic opening and closing of the tailgate with Easy Open and Close functions (gesture control) and the back of the SUV can be raised and lowered via buttons in the boot to make it easier to access. The Touareg boot is very large, officially to 810 litres, thanks to this SUV being based on the same sub-frame as the seven-seat Audi SQ7 and the Bentley Bentayga, and it would easily fit the pram and a weekly shop. The boot has a removable carpet mat for easy cleaning and the cargo cover moves up and out of the way. 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. The cargo net is contained neatly in a bag that can be stored in your garage until it is needed; similarly the roof racks for the 190TDI Adventure are also stored in a bag. Other features of the boot include four tie down points, two hooks and one 12V outlet and a temporary spare tyre.

The Adventure gets a 3600 view camera with 360o sensors and you can touch the display to show either the front, side or rear camera on the right hand side of the central screen and this allows you to see directly in front, beside or behind the vehicle. Plus if a sensor detects an object regardless of the gear you are in the projection of the SUV is displayed on the screen for your attention.

The headlights on the 190TDI Adventure are light Matrix LEDs with dynamic high beam range adjustment, low light sensor with automatic headlight function, and LED daytime driving lights. They also feature the coming/leaving home function that turns on the headlights when you are about to get in or leave the Touareg, so you can find your way safely to your door.

Active safety features include adaptive cruise control, annoyingly though once you have set the speed on the cruise control you can only adjust in 10km/h increments. For example if you set the speed for 97km/h, when you increase the speed on the cruise control it will go to 100km/h and then if you adjust it again it will increase to 110km/h.

I felt the lane assist with adaptive lane guidance worked pretty well and you also have blind spot assist, front and rear traffic assist and front assist for collision warning that gives you a vibration feedback through the accelerator pedal. 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.

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.

This luxurious Volkswagen Touareg 190TDI Adventure is very competitively priced at $90,990 plus on-road costs and as tested with metallic paint my 190TDI Adventure was $92,990 plus on-roads. Visit your preferred Volkswagen dealer for more information on the entire Touareg range.

ProsCons
Front seats are heated, cooled and have massage functionNo phone controls on the steering wheel
Diesel engine is quiet, peppy and efficient  Does not have separate temperature control for rear passenger climate control
Large and easy to use bootExpensive service costs

Photographs by Driven Women Magazine.