By Wayne Gorrett
The Volkswagen Touareg is a large, premium SUV with a spacious interior, attention-grabbing styling and enough new technology for a sneaky kick at the shins of rivals such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes.
This third-generation Volkswagen Touareg is quiet and smooth on the road, comes with an impressively powerful engine and is packed to the gunwales with advanced technology – attributes that should make it popular with business and family buyers alike, even if it lacks the option of seven seats (see Tiguan Allspace review).
Since the demise of the Phaeton, Volkswagen is keen to remind us that - sitting atop the VW price list as it does - the Touareg SUV is currently, and always will be, its flagship car. When considering that its rivals include the likes of BMW’s X5, the Land Rover Discovery, Merc’s GLE and even (the VW Group’s) Audi’s Q7, you begin to understand why Volkswagen has pebble-dashed the new Touareg with every available technology.
The overall shape of the latest Touareg adheres to the SUV styling convention of a high-riding two-box car, but VW designers have brought the detailing right up to date in deference to VW’s current design-speak.
The new Touareg is a little longer and wider than the previous iteration and the car's visual evolution has seen it dismiss the original's softer, rounded curves for a much sharper image with purposeful-looking creases and a signature chrome grille, similar to that on the recently-launched Arteon saloon.
The new full-width grille incorporates the new headlight clusters and there are certainly echoes of the new Audi Q7 about the car (understandable, given both cars are built on the same MLB architecture). The designers have given the all-new Touareg a more aggressive, modern look that wouldn’t be out of place in a Range Rover showroom.
Only available as a five-seater (there are no plans to introduce a seven-seat configuration), the new Touareg isn’t as boxy at the rear as some rivals and the standard rear spoiler is a neat touch. To finish off the exterior aesthetic, available wheel sizes range from 18 to 21 inches.