You would have to be blind to mistake the Touareg for anything other than a Volkswagen. The headlights look like they’ve been taken straight off a Passat, as do the taillights, and that rather round shape isn’t anywhere as adventurous as its exotic name suggests. Also missing is the old Touareg’s decidedly SUV-ish feature – the tailgate-mounted spare wheel. This new one makes do with a space-saver and a portable air-compressor stored away under the boot floor. Still, it’s an inoffensive design and the Touareg’s got tremendous presence – a fact confirmed by the number of heads it turned everywhere we went.
This Touareg (codename: 7P5) shares VW’s PL71 platform with the Audi Q7 and the Porsche Cayenne. Volkswagen is quite proud of the fact that, despite being bigger than the car it replaces, it weighs at least 203kg less. Look at the spec sheet and you can see where Touareg 2 has grown – it is longer, wider and more importantly, has a 40mm longer wheelbase that substantially improves cabin space. More impressive still is the Touareg’s fundamental rigidity, which has risen by more than five percent, making it one of the stiffest vehicles in it class.
Suspension is by way of independent double wishbones all around and adjustable air springs. The air suspension has five settings – Loading, Sport Normal, Comfort Normal, Off-Road and Special Off Road. At its Special Off-Road height, the Touareg has an impressive 300mm of ground clearance and looks quite formidable standing tall on its springs. At this height, it can ford 580mm depths too and in VW’s own words “ensure fish stay outside the Touareg.”
In other markets, Volkswagen offers a low-range transfer case and lockable differentials for serious off-roading, but Indian cars will have to make do with the regular all-wheel drive system and a special off-road program that activates hill-descent control and tweaks ABS, ESP, traction control and electronic differential lock settings. Not offering the full-blown off-road kit
is a good move – it will help keep costs down. Most owners won’t venture too far off tarmac and if they do, this standard Touareg is pretty good on the loose stuff anyway.
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Issue: 165 | May 2013
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