New Volkswagen Touareg review, test drive
18th Apr 2012 3:24 am
The Touareg is all set to make it’s big comeback. How good is it?
On the move, the Touareg is agile in a way such a big, heavy vehicle has no right to be. The steering in particular is weighty and has little slack off-centre, so you can place the SUV precisely where you want to. There’s loads of grip from the full-time four-wheel-drive system and the 255/55 R18 tyres. Even body roll is well contained. Sure, it’s no BMW X5 when you’re pelting down a mountain road, but it’s still impressive.
The suspension offers two modes – Sport and Comfort – and surprisingly, it’s the Sport mode that’s more comfortable. When you’re in Sport, the ride is impressively flat and the suspension is pliant enough to absorb almost everything you throw at it. It’s only the sharp edges that result in thumps. Stick in comfort and even this trait disappears, the trade-off being more float and wallow at high speeds. Naturally, there’s more body roll in this mode as well.
What’s really impressive though is how tough the Touareg feels, the chassis stiffness shining through. It really feels like it can take battle-tank levels of pounding and this, needless to say, is a huge plus on our roads. In the confines of traffic, you do feel its girth, but you could say the same about a Q7, and it is not easy to judge where its extremities lie. You do end up relying on the front and rear park sensors and the reversing camera quite a lot.
Off road, the Touareg performs pretty well, the short overhangs and high ground clearance allowing you to get pretty far without damaging bodywork. We didn’t get to test it in slush though.
Thanks to the torque and the eight-speed gearbox, you can expect a reasonable 7.5kpl in the city. The tall cruising gears also help it achieve a decent 11.8kpl on the highway. This and the simply humongous 100-litre fuel tank means you can comfortably go 1000km between fill ups. Volkswagen isn’t offering the fuel -saving Bluemotion tech here tough.