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Driving impression: Volkswagen Touareg 3.0 TDI Executive

2018-10-07 09:00

Sean Parker


Image: Sean Parker / Wheels24

It’s no secret that Volkswagen’s flagship SUV, the Touareg, is based on the same MLB platform as its more expensive siblings from Bentley, Lamborghini and Porsche. 

We recently had the Executive model on test and while we didn’t venture off the beaten track it was pleasing to drive in the city. And let’s be frank, this is where the behemoth will spend most of its time. 

What’s it powered by? 

Volkswagen has decided to keep engine choice down to one while offering two trim options: Luxury and Executive. 

The engine is peach. It’s a 3.0-litre turbodiesel engine producing 190kW and 600Nm, all that surge is channeled through an 8-speed automatic gearbox. 

Gallery: 2018 Volkswagen Touareg

Its 600Nm are all available at a lowish 2510 r/min and translate into a claimed 0-100km/h sprint time of 6.1 seconds. It doesn’t feel as quick as the claimed figure suggests but it does feel quite rapid on pull away considering its gross weight of almost three tons. 

It runs out of puff at 235km/h and during the week had it on test averaged around 9.0 litres/ 100km, which I think is phenomenal for an SUV of its size. 

The engine is as creamy smooth as a freshly baked meringue. The ZF-sourced gearbox is sublime and is best left to its own devices. 

There are numerous driving modes that can be accessed via the rotary controller, these include an off-road mode and modes for different surfaces (gravel, sand and snow). 

At its launch in June, I drove it for a lengthy distance on gravel roads and it still felt similar to German limousines. It's simply majestic off the beaten track mostly because the all-wheel-drive system knows exactly when to distribute power to a specific tyre to make sure you're never struggling. 

Off-road limousine

The Touareg benefits from sharing the same platform as the Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini’s Urus. Yes, the luxury SUV business is proving to be profitable because the VW Group can draw on its vast resources to produce numerous models from a common platform. 

The permanent four-wheel drive system powers each wheel independently rides like a sumptuous SUV. 

That PL71 platform means there is space and technology to add all the trimmings. The (optional) air suspension means it rides well on roads that look like an adolescent teen. It feels like a limousine that sits 2000mm off the ground that can fit five adults with the ease of con-man.

About those trimmings… 

The high-level of specification offered on local models shows how intent VW are on pushing the figurative goalposts, especially in terms of safety. 
I played around with the night vision which picks up objects displays them on the screen ahead. It’ll come in handy when you’re heading to bush for the weekend and the only light you have are the stars. 

Another nifty feature (dynamic light assist) that’s part of the LED light package is when it senses a pedestrian on the pavement it’ll flash an LED at the person to warn them of the approaching SUV. It’s brilliant though it gave pedestrians a helluva fright on my way home. 


Image: Quickpic

The innovision cockpit has a three-pronged approach to driver connectivity via the touchscreen, gesture control and voice. It’s headlined by a massive 38cm touchscreen that offers clear graphics for the driver. A heads-up display system offers the most important info and allows the driver to focus on the road. 

There’s little to fault about the new Touareg, its more than 800 litre boot can swallow pretty much anything except a T-Rex. It loses out on badge snobbery to Ingolstadt’s which is surprisingly has a lower base price than the VW. 

But VW’s quality is now near as makes no difference on the same level as Audi’s. The new Touareg for the most part is exceeding its sales targets. 

VW South Africa told Wheels24 that their aim is to sell 60 units and in September no less than 63 were sold, in comparison Audi only sold 14 Q7s. 

Price - R1 142 200 


Dynaudio sound system

Ambient light package for R-Line 

Cargo package 


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