The Volkswagen Touareg: One big surprise package

November 18, 2015
Posted by: admin

Named after a nomadic tribe from the Sahara and based on no less a vehicle than the Porsche Cayenne, the Volkswagen Touareg is one big surprise package.

Although it has the look and feel of a luxury SUV more suited to city streets than rocky roads, the Touareg won’t have any trouble keeping up with a Jeep Wrangler or Range Rover – and with a towing capacity greater than a Hummer H2, the Touareg should make you sit up and take note.

One only has to look at some of the awards that the Touareg has won: Overlander’s ‘4WD of the Year’ (2003), Motor Trend ‘Sport/Utility of the Year’ (2004), Car and Driver’s ‘5 Best Trucks, Luxury Sport-Utility Vehicle of the Year’ (2003), and American Woman Road & Travel ‘SUV Most Likely to Survive Anything’ Award (2004) – just to name a few.

With its articulated suspension, sophisticated drive system, and advanced technology, the Touareg gains the respect of true off-road enthusiasts. At the same time it maintains its luxury roots, not least through sharing the same basic structure and floorpan as the Porsche Cayenne.


The Touareg is fitted with Volkswagen’s 4XMOTION system, which provides permanent four-wheel drive.

Its off-road capability isn’t immediately apparent, although a switched-on observer will note:

  • High ground clearance
  • Robust wheel arches and bumpers
  • Big air intakes in the lower bumper
  • Big wheels

One of the big advantages of the Touareg is that most of them haven’t been utilised for off-road driving like a Jeep Wrangler or a Range Rover. A vehicle designed to be at home in the bush will be unscathed by the relatively minor rigours of city driving to which it has primarily been subjected.

In addition to the under-utilised off-road ability, you get all the luxury extras you would expect in a European marque, like leather, sunroof, and factory navigation system. But even the luxury goodies have an off-road bent. The factory navigation system, for example, is built for off-roading, with compass, altimeter, GPS coordinates, and tracking mode that can be used to retrace your route.

Other features include stereo system, cruise control, dual-zone climate control with rear seat controls, multi-function leather-wrapped steering wheel, split-fold rear seats, automatic rain-sensor windshield wipers, heated windshield washer nozzles, and on-board trip computer. Volkswagen’s trademark blue lighting adds ambience to the interior.

Safety-wise, the Touareg comes with an electronic stability program, adaptive torque distribution, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, emergency brake assist, and automatic hill-decent control. There are also front airbags, side-impact airbags, and curtain airbags as well as a carefully engineered safety structure and a rigid roof designed to protect passengers in a crash or rollover. The Touareg senses when an accident has occurred and automatically unlocks the doors, disconnects the battery, and turns on the warning flashers.

With its combination of luxury and off-road capability, the Touareg is full of surprises.

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