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The Touareg Takes To The Wilderness

What Is It?

VW describes the Touareg as a car that’s designed for the restless spirit and they’re not wrong. The luxurious feel and technological prowess of the Touareg will have you yearning to hit the road, asking “Where to from here?”. For me the answer was simple, take me to the wilderness.

Style and Performance

I put the VW Touareg 3.0 V6 TDi Executive R-line to the ultimate test on an Easter Weekend getaway with my family. The Touareg has road presence and it’s Black Style Package turns heads. It features black rims, black mirror housings, black roof rails and a black grille that swallows up the lights in a vast grin of black chrome.

We hit the road to the picturesque Wilderness covering the distance between Pretoria and Graff Reinet, approximately 900km, on a single tank of fuel. Impressive, but I was of course light on the throttle with my right foot. The V6 turbocharged 3.0 engine pushes out 190kW at 600nM power and proved useful for overtaking sluggish trucks on our journey.

The claimed fuel-consumption of 7.5l was realistically around 8.4km/100km southbound to the Garden Route on the N1.

Interior

Naturally the Touareg’s interior is a mobile oasis of luxury. Elegance abounds in the Touareg which features plush leather and a high-tech command centre known as the Innovision Cockpit.

The crystal-clear digital dashboard features pioneering touchscreen technology that allows you to control the vehicle’s climate, front seat heating, entertainment, map and vehicle settings through touch, gesture and voice and I found it easy to use.

The expansive panoramic glass sunroof is one of my favourite features on the Touareg and my family got a kick out of it too as it bathed the interior of the vehicle in natural light adding to the spacious feeling. The roof’s automatic tint adjusts light which was useful as the African sun traversed across the sky.

When it comes to seating the rear seat “bench” is wide enough for all the kids shenanigans and allows adult passengers to sit comfortably, with sufficient legroom.

Safety

Being the family man that I am safety is a major selling point for me and the Touareg does not disappoint. The Night Vision feature is probably the most impressive for me and I was fortunate enough to see it in action.

Driving on the unlit R55 that connects Centurion and Midrand, the car suddenly applied brakes and displayed a collision icon on the heads up display (HUD). I was overcome with uneasiness, not sure of what was happening until I glanced at the Night Vision screen and saw a “ghostly” apparition. Ability to detect near invisible people? Check, the Touareg passed this test.

The Touareg also features an active lane assist system which is another nice feature that actively counter steers the car if it goes over into another lane without indicating. Talk about staying in your lane.

The unintended downside with it is that the active counter steer also happens when going into lanes that split into two lanes or merge into one lane, when you don’t engage the indicator. As a driver you need to remain in control, alert and not fully delegate decision making to the car’s artificial intelligence.

The Touareg’s IQ Light Matrix LED headlights have intelligent light modes and dynamic Light Assist which offers greater illumination and allowed me to see everything clearly without blinding oncoming traffic.

Verdict

Likes: Enormous 810 litre boot. The 14V charger for my laptop while sitting comfortably watching my amazing offspring playing in the sand.

Dislikes: The plastic window buttons I found jarring. Should have been in leatheror brushed aluminium. The diameter of the steering could have been thicker. It felt a bit flimsy for the 2 ton luxury SUV.

Author: Thembekile Vokwana

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