It is the busy week leading up to Christmas and here we are stuck in yet another traffic jam. Shopping center’s are crammed and already I have heard on the radio that both Blanchardstown and Dundrum have zero parking available. Is the recession finally over? Well, we will let you be the judge of that but as I turn southbound on the N7, and aim for a bit of shopping in Kildare, I take time out to acknowledge that I am driving a vehicle that thrived in pre recessionary times. The Volkswagen Touareg has always been a good-looking 4×4. Yes there was always flashier and brasher SUV’s in this sector but the honest hard working Touareg sold extremely well in Ireland. This week we have the latest generation, which came out early 2015. The Touareg still is easily recognisable but it does feature a redesigned front and rear. The face lifted nose draws your attention to the Bi-xenon headlights which are now standard on all models and at the back features new rear lights with cool daytime running LED’s. Our test vehicle was in dark flint grey but there is now an additional choice of colours and combos to pick from.
Inside the cabin has had a redesign but it is still fairly modest compared to others in this class. Comfort is something the Touareg does well though and when you are in with the electric seat adjusted to your liking, it’s a very nice place to be. Everything is within easy reach and when you power the V6 3.0 TDI lump into life you will be amazed at just how quiet it is. For me this engine is easily my favourite part of the Touareg. Yes it’s not as refined as it could be sitting in Tax band E meaning an annual road tax bill of €750 but Christ is it worth it! This new engine has had modifications including the addition of an SCR catalytic converter to reach the demanding EU6 emissions standards but when you open the taps it feels like a powerhouse and this is just the 204bhp model. Mated to a silky smooth 8 speed DSG gearbox the Touareg can still return 6.6 l/100km which is even better than its predecessor. Helping the Touareg achieve these figures is a new coasting function, which disengages the standard 8-speed automatic transmission in order to use kinetic energy during periods when you are not on the accelerator pedal thus reducing fuel consumption further.
The biggest news for the new VW Touareg has to be the price point. This new model now has a starting price of just €69,675, which is a whopping €6,430 price reduction, despite the addition of over €10,000 worth of equipment compared to last years model. Irish buyers get 20-inch Tarragona alloy wheels, Vienna leather upholstery with heated front comfort seats, Memory Pack including 14-way adjustment for the front seats, Bi-xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights, LED tail light assembly, tinted windows, premium Bluetooth, and Media-In for iPod/iPhone all as standard! This is an excellent package and easily makes the Touareg the cheapest SUV in this class. Those of you who are that bit more adventurous and require a little more off road capability might also consider the Terrain Technology pack for just €2,630. This kit adds off-road suspension (raised 10mm front, 15mm rear), additional stone and underbody guards along with a rear axle mechanical differential lock that features an off-road speed-reducing ratio and flywheel. You can also travel further with the Terrain Technology pack thanks to an additional 100 litres of fuel capacity. All models come with three years free servicing, 3.9% PCP and 5.9% APR will also be offered in addition. Although we have only spent a few days so far with the Touareg driving it has been a pleasure. It feels robust, handles great and really is a nice place to be even when sitting in Christmas traffic!
Engine Size – 3.0 TDI
Fuel Type – Diesel
Power – 204hp
Torque – 450Nm
Acceleration (0-100km/h) – 8.7 seconds
Top Speed – 205 km/h
Consumption (Combined) – 6.6L/100km
CO2 Emissions – 173g/km
Road Tax – €750 Tax Band E
Base Price – €69,675
Price As Tested – €71,523
*Pictures not of actual model driven.