HomeLocal NewsVW Touareg: The best of both worlds

VW Touareg: The best of both worlds

ANDREW MUZANHINDO:ANALYST

EARLY this month I had the opportunity to drive the 2007 Touareg. Those who own this vehicle will always complain about expensive parts and a feeble suspension. It is a powerful machine. It is a piece of art.

Having spent a lot of my time in an Audi, when I climbed into the Touareg, I felt like I was getting into an Audi.

I still prefer the Audi. The Touareg was a joint venture project developed by Volkswagen Group, Audi, and Porsche. The goal was to create an off-road vehicle that could handle like a sports car.

The team, with over 300 people, was led by Klaus-Gerhard Wolpert, and based in Porsche main base Weissach im Tal, Germany. The result of the joint project is that the Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7 shares the Touareg’ s Volkswagen Group PL71 platform, although there are styling, equipment, and technical differences between those vehicles.

The Volkswagen Touareg is a mid-size crossover SUV produced by German automaker Volkswagen since 2002. The vehicle was named after the Tuareg people, a Berber-speaking group in North Africa. Is it not funny how the European manufacturers find joy in African names yet we shun our local names.

Did you know that Touareg V10 holds the world record for the heaviest load towed by a passenger car, pulling a Boeing 747 as part of an advertising campaign. That should be testimony of the power that resides in this beast.

The best of both worlds idiom means one is in a scenario where they can enjoy the advantages of two different things at the same time. You can have the Best of both worlds.

Striking Beauty and a Powerful Beast! That is the Touareg for you.

The 2007 Volkswagen Touareg midsize SUV is available in three trim levels that reference the equipped engine — V6, V8 and V10 TDI. Each Touareg comes with alloy wheels (17s for the V6 and 18s for the V8 and V10), a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated leatherette seats, a telescoping steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a premium audio system with a single CD player.

The one I drove has 3,6-litre V6 engine which produces 276hp and 266lb-ft of torque. On V8 models, a new 4,2 litre V8 delivers 350hp and 324lb-ft of torque. The range-topping Touareg V10 TDI has a diesel-fuelled, turbocharged V10 displacing five litres.

It is rated at 310hp and a stout 553lb-ft of torque. Each engine is connected to a six-speed automatic transmission that sends power to a full-time four-wheel-drive system with low-range gearing.

None of these engines delivers impressive fuel economy; the V10 is best at 7km/litre in town and 9km/litre highway. Properly equipped, any 2007 Touareg can tow 3500kg.

Every 2007 VW Touareg comes with antilock disc brakes with brake assist, stability control, hill descent and incline rollback control. Passive safety features include side airbags for front occupants and full-length side-curtain airbags.

In crash tests, the NHTSA has given the Touareg a top five-star rating for the vehicle’s protection of occupants in frontal and side impacts. Inside, the five-passenger Touareg has an upscale two-tone ensemble accented by real wood and aluminium.

Most surfaces are soft-touch, and what hard surfaces there are (lower dash, console and doors) feel smooth and substantial. Build quality is excellent, too. The backseat is not overly roomy for a midsize SUV, and we encourage families to try before they buy. Cargo capacity is average — 31 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 71 cubes when they are folded.

Even if you never leave the pavement, the 2007 Volkswagen Touareg should satisfy. The new V6 and V8 engines provide a welcome power boost, as they help overcome the vehicle’s hefty curb weight.

The V10 TDI might have been the range-topping choice back in 2004, but its massive torque is tempered by a three-tonne curb weight — nearly 1 000 pounds more than a base V6 model — and a hefty price premium.

For all-around performance the V8 would be our choice, and for shoppers on a budget, the more fuel-efficient V6 should be perfectly adequate. On the road, the Touareg’s ride quality is smooth and stable. The SUV is also surprisingly agile around corners when equipped with the air suspension. Taken off-road, the Touareg amazes as it tackles steep passes and deep ruts normally reserved for rough-and-tumble Jeeps.

Likes
Upscale interior, polished road manners, true off-road capability, diesel engine option, lengthy standard equipment list.

Dislikes

Smaller backseat than competitors, hefty curb weight results in disappointing fuel economy from V6 and V8, no third-row seat. Weak suspension and expensive parts.
email:andrew@muzamhindo.com

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