2011 VW Touareg

2011 VW Touareg
Date:1 December 2010 Tags:, ,

The launch of the new Touareg, in V6 turbodiesel form, coincides with the South African introduction of BlueMotion technology, VW’s “green” programme.

That programme involves, among other things, thermal energy management (essentially, a fancy term for disconnecting the water pump), start-stop technology, longer gearing and brake energy regeneration.

The Touareg will be followed in the first quarter of next year by similarly equipped models of the VW Polo, Golf and Tiguan. In fact, the BlueMotion version of the Polo, when it’s introduced here soon, will be the vehicle with the lowest carbon emissions – 89 g/km – available new in South Africa. Incidentally, with the V6 diesel VW recommend using exclusively 50 ppm diesel fuel. A hybrid version is under consideration; it’s likely to see the light of day some time in 2011.

Such matters are hardly likely to be uppermost in the minds of Touareg buyers.

The large SUV segment, home to the likes of the Mercedes ML, Mitsubishi Pajero and BMW X5, is heavily traded. When the Touareg was launched in 2004, there was a choice of 16 large SUVs; by the last quarter of 2010, this number had doubled.

The new Touareg brings a fresh, more chiselled appearance that reflects the VW “family” look. Oddly, it looks more compact than before, though it’s a little longer, wider and lower than its predecessor, with a bigger wheelbase. Overall weight has been slashed; quite remarkably, the original’s body weight alone has been trimmed by more than a quarter, and even more has been pared off the axles and drivetrain.

Performance is, no surprise, brisk, whether in V6 or V8 guise. (There will not be a V10 in this market, we were told.) Although the transmission is now 8-speed, ratios 7 and 8 are essentially overdrive; top speed is achieved in 6th gear, and there is a rear-wheel-drive bias. Off-road, tweaks include reduced accelerator travel (to 20 per cent of normal) when using downhill traction aids, to avoid accidentally stamping on the pedal, provoking jerkiness.

The ABS braking, optimised for off-road conditions, allows wheels to lock by letting a wedge build up in front of the wheels on soft ground, aiding stopping. Additional brake tech features rain brake support (the pads are automatically applied gently, “wiping” the discs dry) and fading brake support. To help prevent a roll-over, in hard cornering the outer wheels are locked to promote a skid that counters the roll movement.

Interior fitments and features are well in line with a premium SUV though, oddly, sat-nav is optional. There is no 7-seater at present, based on low demand in the past. Clever touches include programmable tailgate opening height and optional “cargo management system” for the rear load area. The new panoramic tilt window in the roof was described as being “noiseless up to 300 km/h”. We decided against trying this out. Views from the car’s four cameras are combined to provide virtual bird’s-eye view to help aim it while parking; you can actually reverse right under a trailer’s tow-hitch.

V6 models start at R562 600; V8 prices were not available at launch time.

Related material
Wallpaper:
To download wallpaper images of the 2011 VW Touareg. [cick here]
 

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