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Bigger, better Touareg breaks free

2010-02-11 09:38

Volkswagen sure is releasing a lot of hot products these days and gauging by the look of the new Touareg, big SUVs are no exception.

The manufacturer has revealed its all-new Touareg full-sized SUV; a model the company says is the "most technically innovative since the brand has been in existence". That's one big statement, we think.

Lighter, stronger

Volkswagen says this Touareg reinterprets the idea of the SUV with its range of engines being 20% more fuel efficient (it is being offered at launch with a hybrid version, too) and it boasts a range of new assistance and safety systems.

The base model is also 208 kg lighter, yet the body has a 5% greater torsional rigidity than before. Drag is down, too, helped by this model being lower to the ground than the previous generation.

In addition, all models are sold standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission that the manufacturer claims offers significant fuel savings over the previous Touareg.

Touareg Hybrid replaces the V8 petrol engines in Europe and America and uses a supercharged V6 TSI motor with 245 kW on tap and a 34-kW E-Motor. When working in tandem, the TSI and E-Motor shove power up to 297 kW and the peak torque figure is 580 Nm.

The hybrid model can be driven at speeds up to 50km/h in emissions-free electric mode. It has a combined fuel consumption figure of 8.2 l/100 km, while Volkswagen quotes CO2 emissions as low as 193 g/km.

But don't expect lacklustre performance from this hybrid - it has a top speed of 240 km/h and accelerates from 0 - 100 km/h in a brisk 6.5 seconds.

Bye-bye big guns

More conventional engines in the mix include V6 FSI and TDIs, and a V8 TDI.

The supercharged 3.6-litre V6 FSI with direct injection produces 206 kW and 360 Nm of torque. The quoted fuel consumption figure is 9.9 l/100 km, claimed to be 2.5 litres less than in the previous Touareg.

Turbodiesel engines are more efficient, too. The 176-kW V6 TDI consumes 7.4 l/100 km, while the new 4.2-litre V8 TDI (with outputs of 250 kW and 800 Nm) has a combined fuel consumption of 9.1 l/100 km.

CO2 emissions are down on both V6 units, while the V8 emits 239 g/km.

Sadly, in line with VW's "downsizing strategy", the V10 TDI and W12 engines are being confined to the history books with the latest Touareg introduction.

Modes of 4Motion

New Touareg comes with two versions of VW's all-wheel drive 4Motion: an "off-road driving programme" that tunes the ABS and ASR, adjusts the gearshift points and activates hill descent assist, and "Terrain Tech Packet" that has a more rugged transfer case for more taxing off-road exploits.

A rotary switch allows the driver to adapt the SUV to meet his or her requirements in on-road, off-road and low modes, plus options to lock the centre and rear diffs.

The cabin of this new Touareg is said to be more comfortable. More leg room is available to passengers in the rear, and the rear bench's backrest angle can be adjusted. It can also be folded down to free up a massive 1 642 litres of luggage space.

This Touareg also comes with a host of new features including Area View that, like the system on Land Rover's Discovery 4, uses four cameras to provide information on the SUV's surroundings.

Lane Assist, Side Assist (alerting to vehicles in the SUV's blind spot), Adaptive Cruise Control and Bi-Xenon headlights with Dynamic Light Assist to automatically adjust the high
beam when an approaching car is detected, are among the Touareg's safety features. It also comes fitted with up to nine airbags.

And owners who'd prefer added exclusivity can option luxury items with Volkswagen Individual's new Exclusive badge that includes 19-inch alloy wheels, wood inserts and two tone Nappa leather interiors.

The new Touareg comes to South Africa in the third quarter of 2010.



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