9tro issue #10
Photos by Adrian Wong
The kind of car I would want to be in when driving up to Malaysia will be something that is huge, spacious and comfortable. Having convenient features like keyless entry, start-stop engine button, automatic headlights and wipers and leather seats with 12-way adjustments for that best napping position during the long drive.
The Volkswagen Touareg is exactly the type of car that I will want to drive in to Malaysia and I found myself telling myself that when I took out the chocolate brown Touareg for a test drive. The weekend of the test drive I had a trip to Malaysia but the Touareg was not available unfortunately.
I have always been fond of the Touareg – I remember referring to it as the Big Friendly Giant in my review of its predecessor. Jointly developed together with Porsche’s equivalent – the Cayenne – this is the second generation Touareg and it shares the same 3.6-litre engine with the Cayenne, the Panamera as well as other models under the string of car brands that the Volkswagen Group owns.
The 24-valve V6 engine remains the same from its facelift in 2006, delivering a maximum of 280bhp at 6,200rpm and 360Nm at 3,200rpm. Compared to its predecessor, the performance numbers are not significantly different but what is new in this one is the eight-speed automatic Tiptronic transmission that is shared with some of the Audi models.
Other than improving fuel economy and reducing carbon dioxide emissions, the new gearbox also aids in the zero to 100km/h time, improving it by almost one full second. This might also be due to the weight reduction that the car has undergone though.
Easily recognisable even from the rear view mirror, the new Touareg looks largely the same as before but this time it has pretty headlights that have LED daytime running lights, giving it a rather piercing and distinctive look.
I was enamoured with the brown interior panels of the Touareg; it gives a much softer feel to the cabin compared to the typical black. Sitting high in the driver’s seat, I enjoyed barrelling my way in traffic and intimidating the rest of the drivers with the Touareg’s new illuminated look. Despite being larger than life, the car takes bends and corners in control and is more nimble than you think it looks.
Offering a load of innovative features like an electronic parking brake, glove compartment with cooling system and cruise control, the Touareg is the kind of car you can just lounge inside in for long hours. Saying that it is roomy is a sheer understatement. The longer wheelbase means more leg room and the bigger boot means more space for your shopping. With an electronically operated tailgate, you need not worry if your hands are full. For more space in the back, a simple push of a button will fold down the rear seats.
The display screen houses lots of goodies, including the standard navigation system, audio system and this thing called Area View. Basically, there are four wide-angle cameras placed around the car on the outside. Working in tandem, these cameras give an accurate aerial view of the surroundings, making me feel as if I am sitting atop the car while it is on the move. This will help when checking for obstacles during parking or simply to see if you are within the lines of the parking lot. Most of the time I just enjoyed seeing what was around me as I drove!
I am still hoping for the opportunity to take the Touareg for a long-distance drive. It is solid, comfortable, spacious and innovative and just the companion you want on an extensive journey. Hopefully my next experience with the Touareg is one across the causeway!
Volkswagen Touareg V6 3.6
Engine: 3,597cc 6-cylinder v-formation with 24 valves
Transmission: 8-speed automatic Tiptronic
Max Power: 280bhp at 6,200rpm
Max Torque: 360Nm at 3,200rpm
Top Speed: 228km/h
0-100km/h: 7.8 secs
Price: $262,800 with COE
Distributor: Volkswagen Centre Singapore
(+) Generous amount of space, great gearbox, more luxurious feel
(-) Still a tad clumsy due to its size
Verdict: Greatly improved on the inside, but can do better on the outside
*This was first published in 9tro.