SUVs are no longer the chunky, mud‑ploughing beasts they once were – in form, at least. Still well equipped for off-road forays should the mood strike you, the new breed of sport utility vehicles boasts chic, sophisticated styling and top‑of-the-line innovations that make them perfect for urbanites and adventurers alike.
The SUV gets an upgrade
Epitomising this is Volkswagen’s Touareg, a premium SUV that has seen some one million units sold since its 2002 launch. This year, the German carmaker upgrades its flagship SUV with aesthetic and technological updates that make the third-generation Touareg perhaps the best one yet.
A marriage of function and form
Looks-wise, the latest Touareg maintains the commanding presence of its predecessors, but comes longer and wider, sitting lower for a more dynamic form, with powerful rear haunches accentuating its robust air. The range-topping R-Line model (with exclusive premium interior and trim upgrades for a sportier look) features the brand’s innovative IQ.Light LED matrix headlights, which not just add to the rugged charm of the chromed solid front grille, but also enhance night-time drivability by way of the interactive light control.
The allure extends to the inside as well, with the plushly padded interior ensuring occupants remain pampered throughout the journey. Glass-covered surfaces, wood or gleaming metal panel inserts on the dash, and touches of chrome all spell luxury, topped by a panoramic roof overhead.
In keeping with the Touareg’s position at the top of Volkswagen’s hierarchy, the third-gen Touareg comes with the latest technology and comfort amenities.
Making its debut, for instance, is the Innovision Cockpit, which sees an intuitive 15‑inch touchscreen display that is the Discover Premium infotainment system segue seamlessly into the 12.3-inch Digital Cockpit; for ease of use, the former is curved towards the driver, making access to the Touareg’s features literally at one’s fingertips. To minimise distractions, there is even a Head-Up Display, which projects information onto the Touareg’s windscreen, into the driver’s direct line of vision.
Big on safety, the Touareg also comes with features such as Front Assist With City Emergency Brake & Pedestrian Monitoring, which applies emergency braking in critical situations to prevent accidents with other road users. There is also the Traffic Jam Assist, available only with the Touareg R-Line, which takes over steering, acceleration and braking functions for semi-autonomous driving and safe progress in times of jams or start-stop traffic.
Then there’s what’s under the hood. Powered by a creamy smooth 3.0L V6 TSI, the Touareg hits 100km/h in just under 6 seconds and is good for a top speed of 250km/h; it’s spritely for its size, so progress is smooth and swift. The R-Line variant comes with the All-Wheel Steering system, which affords a smaller turning radius, improves low to medium speed manoeuvrability and aids high-speed stability. While Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel drivetrain provides maximum grip in all surface conditions, the All-Wheel Steering injects a dose of dynamic verve to the drive.
With the necessary panache and credentials for its tour of multiple duties – be it shuttling to the office, client meetings, herding the kids to school, or simply taking off on an impromptu road trip – the Touareg has you covered.
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All images from Volkswagen