With the Touareg, Volkswagen has had an incredibly expensive car… in its range since the beginning of this century. Especially the first generation sold pretty well. Especially if you compare it with the just as megalomane Phaeton. Maybe it was because Volkswagen was very early to the… big SUV-party. Fact is that this new third generation Touareg has a lot more… competition to worry about than its grandfather. From the Range Rover Velar for example. To increase the chances, the Touareg now has a more distinctive design.For a big SUV, its predecessors were pretty modest. This however looks like it’s got half the world’s supply… of chrome in its grille. On the inside, it’s less bling, but just as impressive. There’s a huge screen in front of you, and there’s an even bigger one in the middle. Only the Tesla Model S probably has a bigger screen. Other than that, it looks great. It’s flashy, it has nice animations, and it’s nice and all. But, because you’ll have to do everything with that screen, it’s kind of distracting when you’re driving. You’ve got to use all kinds of menu’s, the buttons aren’t of the same size, and when you’re driving, it requires a tad too much of your attention. A physical button like BMW’s iDrive is better, ergonomically speaking. Of course, it looks great, but a few physical buttons for the aircon for example, would’ve been nice.Other than that, there isn’t anything really to complain about. It’s incredibly decent. It looks good, the wood is nice, the plastics underneath are quite hard, but you don’t even look there, right? Also, it’s incredibly spacious. On the rear seat, the headroom is much better than in the Velar, but the boot is the big winner. It offers you 810 litres of luggage space. That’s almost 130 litres more than the Velar offers you. Beneath the skin, the Touareg is on the same MLB-platform as the…Audi Q7, Bentley Bentayga, Lamborghini Urus and Porsche Cayenne. That means there’s a lot of technology available. You can get all kinds of nice driving features. If you tick them on the options list that is, because most of them are options of course. Things as air suspension and four-wheel steering are on that list, and this car is fitted with both of them. If you get those features, you’ve got a car which is incredibly capable. It feels reliable under a wide range of circumstances. It doesn’t matter if you corner with 30 km/h or 130 km/h, it doesn’t matter
because it will do what you’ll ask it to do. Up to an incredibly high level. Cornering at 130 km/h is something you’ll do once, just to see if it’s able to do it, but after that, you’ll put it back in Comfort or Normal, and you’ll heave about towards your direction, but you’ll know your car can corner at 130 km/h. That’s the appeal of the Touareg, being able to do everything.Very nice and all, but it’s not a car which challenges you. It’s not incredibly fun to drive or anything. Not a lot of feedback either. It’s really meant as a comfortable cruiser, and the longer you drive it, the more you like it… because of that very reason. The engine plays a part in that as well. In this case, it’s powered by a 3.0-litre V6 TDI-diesel, producing 286 horsepower and 600 Nm of torque. Those 600 Nm of torque mean that it’s able… to do everything with ease. Even when it’s such a big car as this. You gently touch the throttle, it’s going along nicely, you don’t hear anything, but it just keeps going and eventually, the speedometer will be saying 150 or 160 km/h, and you’ll think that’s a little too quick. You won’t hear it, you won’t notice it, almost no wind noises… That’s what this car does best. It’s connected to an 8-speed ZF automatic gearbox as standard, which is the same as found in BMW’s and Land Rovers. It’s a gearbox which changes gear very smoothly, changing gear goes very quickly, only it’s been aimed at economical driving. If you want to speed up a little, if you want to change back a gear, you’ll have to keep pushing.Eventually it goes, but it’s not like it changes back fanatically. Even in Sport-mode, you’ll have to push it before it does anything. If you think 600 Nm of torque is a lot, this Range Rover adds another 100 Nm. 700 Nm of torque in total, and it produces 300 horsepower as well. So there’s more power and more torque, but the performance is the same. They’re about as quick. This is slightly slower from 0-100 km/h, but it’s got a higher top speed, so yeah.It doesn’t really matter. What does matter, is that Volkswagen uses more insulation material. That means you almost don’t hear the V6 TDI. This D300-engine, which is a 3.0-litre V6 diesel as well, produces a clearer sound. It’s not annoying, but you can hear more industrial noises. It’s the same with the wind noises. You can hear them slightly clearer, not annoying, but slightly clearer. It’s very close though, but that’s
because the drivetrains are pretty similar. They’ve got the same automatic gearbox, so the commentary will be the same. It changes gear fluently, quickly, it always selects the right gear, but if you want more all of a sudden, you’ll have to push, because it won’t just change down a gear. So they’re pretty similar up until now. When it comes to the drive however, Land Rover has made some other choices than Volkswagen.When they introduced this Velar, they said it’s the most asphalt-oriented Range Rover ever, but that says more about their other cars than it does… about this Velar, because primarily, this is still a terrain car, because it’s obliged to be. And you’ll notice that, because the Volkswagen can easily go off-road, with a nice off-road mode and all, but this Land Rover has three off-road modes. Also, it has all kinds of camera’s to see if your wheels… will or won’t hit rocks, a system which measures the depth of the water, and if you can go through it and such, and all kinds of stuff like that. At the same time, it’s a different kind of Range Rover than we’re used to.On the roads, it feels less massive than other Land Rovers. It still feels big, but it doesn’t feel like a sea container. That’s pleasant, but it’s a very comfortable car as well. That’s what its aimed at. Even when you put it in Sport-mode, it heaves a little more, if you corner, it clearly heaves to one side, more than the Volkswagen does. But that’s my personal preference. It’s not better or worse, but the Range Rover makes a clearer choice. Only, what you do notice in the Volkswagen, it’s a car which is technologically more advanced. The four-wheel steering which makes it more manoeuverable in the city, and that’s when this car feels like what it is. Very big. But with a face of its own. In the interior, Range Rover makes a clearer choice as well. Where Volkswagen chases perfection, it’s like you step into an English pub in the Range Rover. It’s warmer, cozier, more homely. A lot of leather, great looking, as you can expect from a Range Rover, and I’ll have to say it’s very attractive.It’s not better per se. It has more screens, three instead of two, but they’re smaller, slower, graphically not as impressive, but ergonomically, it’s nice that you’ve got some physical knobs. With that, you can use the climate control. It takes a little getting used to, because it’s still a different kind of Range Rover than we’re
used to. But mostly because of the physical buttons, it’s a little quicker. That means it’s more accessible. When it comes to space, it’s a little more cramped. If I get behind myself, the legroom and headroom aren’t as royal. And then there’s the price. The Touareg as it stands there, will set you back €120.000. This Velar even costs €130.000, which is a huge amount of money in both cases. But, in the Touareg, you’ll ask yourself why you’ve spent so much money on that car. Where’s the added value? Because it does a lot of things very good, but it’s not something other SUV’s can’t do as good. You could ask yourself the same when you drive this Velar, but it will be answered the moment you get out, walk away and take another look at the way this car looks. .