1 Jul 2007
AS the first Touareg did not live up to the expectations of Volkswagen Australia after an initial burst of sales in its first year on sale, the firm tried again with the facelifted version in mid-2007.
The update does not represent an overhaul - it is more of a mild facelift. VW counts 2300 newly developed parts for the Touareg, but they are mostly styling related.
And while there are some safety upgrades, the major mechanical components including the engines, gearboxes and 4WD system remain the same.
Buyers will most likely notice the new Touareg’s front-end as representing the biggest change.
The bonnet, headlights and grille are new, as are the front guards, while the wing mirrors have also been redesigned to cut drag.
No sheetmetal has been changed for the rear of the car, with designers instead reshaping the tail-lights, exhaust pipes and adding a roof-mounted spoiler.
There are also new wheel designs and paint colours.
More attention has been applied to lifting comfort and refinement levels inside the Touareg, which gains new seats from the Phaeton limo that tops the VW range in Europe.
The interior layout is largely the same except for a new instrument cluster and trim.
On the safety front, there is now an active rollover protection system, which is now a standard-fit item in most high-end 4WDs.
VW has also worked on improving the Touareg’s braking capability on loose surfaces.
It dropped the slow-selling V8 petrol model and replaced it with a V6 turbo-diesel, while the 3.2-litre V6 petrol was dropped for a 3.6-litre direct-injection V6 petrol unit. The 2.5-litre five-cylinder R5 turbo-diesel kicks off the range as before, and produces 128kW of power and 400Nm of torque.
The V6 turbo-diesel, also used in the Audi A6 and Q7, steps up to 165kW and 500Nm and the 2251kg vehicle achieves a combined fuel economy figure of 10.9L/100km.
Its petrol V6 sibling beats it on the power front with 206kW, but has less torque - 360Nm. The fuel economy of the 2168kg petrol Touareg is unpleasant – 13.8L/100km.
The monster V10 turbo-diesel packs a reasonable 230kW and a whopping 750Nm of torque. Even so, its fuel economy figures are not terrible, with the 2532kg big-daddy Touareg using 12.8L/100km.
All engines are teamed with standard six-speed automatic transmissions linked to a competent constant 4WD system.
Unlike most other premium SUVs, the Touareg’s drive system has a transfer case for low-range for tough low-speed work.
Most models run a standard coil-spring rear double wishbone rear suspension, but the V10 diesel comes standard with air suspension which offers a plush ride and also means the vehicle’s ride height can be raised substantially when it is taken off road.
All Touareg models can tow up to 3500kg, as long as the trailer or caravan being towed has brakes.