2015 Volkswagen Touareg | First Drive
* Adequate power delivery from the V6 engine
* Brilliant value proposition
* Refreshed interiors and exteriors for 2015
* Cabin familiarity doesn't allow the Touareg to stand out from other VW cars
* Predictive looks. Something more dramatic than year-on-year touch-ups is needed
* Technology apart, the Touareg is not really designed for off-road duties
When Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche sowed the seeds for an experimental project over a decade ago, the results baffled the automotive industry. What bloomed, was a German SUV that proved to be a hoot to drive on the roads, as well as one that maintained its composure off the beaten path. Having gone under the knife several times in the past fourteen years, the Volkswagen Touareg hasn’t witnessed a significant change per se, but instead, a series of evolutionary ones. To study what the cosmetic surgeons had got up to this time around, we jetted out to Oman and put the 2015 Touareg through its paces while admiring the serene and picturesque backdrops that the Garden City had to offer.
Clinging on to various cues that were made popular by its predecessors, the Touareg’s newest form is an evolution, as opposed to a revolution in the design world. With taut lines complementing the LED bands that embellish the headlamp clusters and a generous splash of chrome to accompany, the 4,796 mm long SUV looks smarter, sharper and more refined for 2015. Blending into the varying landscapes that our itinerary entailed, the Touareg proved to be part of a minority in the automotive realm – the one that is composed of vehicles that look just as appropriate outside a swanky hotel in the heart of the city, as they do crawling down treacherous paths away from any hints of civilization.
The cabin of the 2015 Touareg is home to silver trim, fine wood finishes, an abundance of leather that is to be found on everything from the seats, the steering wheel and the dashboard. Although the overall design is one that seems to arouse a sense of familiarity, the fit and finish of the roomy cabin cannot be faulted.
Offering a diverse range of features, the Touareg is not under-equipped on any count. On the comfort side of things, there’s everything from lumbar support to a quad-zone air conditioning system. While on the economical side, there’s the Start/Stop functionality and Coasting feature, new for 2015, that work to save you some money at the petrol stations. Off the beaten path, Volkswagen’s 4MOTION and Terrain Tech come to the rescue when things get sticky and allow for maximum torque to be transferred to all four wheels. In turn, generating enough push to allow the Touareg to scale gradients of up to 45°.
Under the hood of the 2015 Volkswagen Touareg resides either a 3.6 litre V6 engine, or a 4.2 litre V8. Although our Tour de Oman consisted mainly of tarmac driving with a short stint on the dried wadi beds around the area, the 280 horsepower and 360 Nm of torque from the V6 powerplant proved more than adequate both, on and off the tarmac. With the suspension stiffened up and the ride height increased, there were no issues with exploring the lesser travelled parts of Oman, although they did have to be done cautiously to ensure the low hanging plastic bits remain where they are supposed to and not get left behind on the trail.
Being one of the few journos to have actually owned a first-generation Touareg for over three years, I can confidently say that it has come a long way from its scruffy, initial years. Offering everything the significantly pricier rivals do and more, the 2015 Touareg makes for a fabulous value proposition. Comfortable on road and a techinically capable off-roader, the Touareg is the unsung hero of the German automotive space. Well done, Volkswagen.