2015 Volkswagen Touareg
In the SUV world, Volkswagen’s Touareg is the automotive equivalent of the strong, silent type. A consistent seller—VW says it’s sold 720,000 of the utes worldwide in the last decade—with a handsome but innocuous exterior and stylishly functional interior, it’s traded on competence over brash exuberance since its introduction, and the updated Touareg that debuts ahead of this year’s Beijing auto show doesn’t stray far from that formula.
Virtually every element of the Touareg’s fascia has been reworked in the make over. Larger, trapezoidal-shaped bi-xenon headlamps (now standard across the lineup) are positioned to insinuate a line extending to the new grille, which now wears a quartet of transverse chrome fins where previously there were only two. Together, the headlights and grille work to form a wide band across the Touareg’s front end. The lower fascia takes inspiration from the new Scirocco R, as the lower air inlet now forms a stylized “A” lending the SUV the look of a broader stance when viewed from the road. Newly developed fog lights have been integrated into the new look, as has the splitter, which we’re told is shaped for optimal aerodynamic properties. The Touareg’s rear end has incorporated many of the same widening processes as the truck’s front end.
The interior gets a good dusting off as well. Chrome accents now surround the control panel controls, and the vehicle’s switchgear has been replaced with more-refined units. The list of available interior themes grows, adding “Bonanza Brown” and “St. Tropez” to the leather pallet, and the provocatively named "Sapelli Mahagoni" and "Engineered Ebony" to the wood trim choices.
In addition to the sorts of nanny aids you’d come to expect from a mid-size SUV, the Touareg also adds adaptive cruise control with emergency braking, a pre-crash accident-prep system, and adaptive high beams. Of course, this comes on top of standard fare such as 17-inch aluminum wheels, all-wheel drive, and a stop-start system.
The Powertrain list will read very familiar for anyone who’s flipped through a Touareg brochure. The standard 3.6-liter V-6 and 3.0-liter turbo-diesel TDI have been confirmed for American consumption, but we’re hearing that the hybrid model may not come to our shores for 2015. Both of the confirmed engines with be mated to an eight-speed automatic, and for the first time outside of the hybrid model, the Touareg will get a standard coasting function that optimizes fuel economy by decoupling the engine from the gearbox when the driver lifts off the accelerator.
It’s clear that Volkswagen’s mission is not to change the Touareg’s winning formula, but rather to keep it current by adding content and toning up its looks. Touareg fans interested in getting with the program will get their chance when the 2015 model hits showrooms this summer.