VW previews new Touareg ahead of full reveal

Improved quality, more tech and better performance promised for updated Touareg – including 462hp R version

By Matt Bird / Wednesday, 15 February 2023 / Loading comments

It seems that barely a week passes without a new bestselling SUV based off the VW MLBEvo toolkit is announced. The Bentley Bentayga goes from strength to strength, the Lamborghini Urus has already sold 20,000 units and the Porsche Cayenne is due an update – despite still being near the top of the class already. But when did you last hear about the VW Touareg? It shares the same architecture and some of the engines, yet seems to pass mostly under the radar. Perhaps that’s the point of the pragmatic VW SUV against showier in-house alternatives. But the fact that the Touareg R eHybrid was axed at the end of last year after 18 months on sale – the kind of plug-in performance SUV we’re led to believe the world can’t get enough of – suggests it has been a trickier needle to thread. Time for the life-giving facelift.

We don’t have all the details just yet, with the full reveal due in May. But for the Touareg nip-and-tuck, much that’s already been confirmed for the Cayenne will make its way to the VW. That includes HD LED lights, made of 38,400 micro-LEDs that turn night – you’ve guessed it – ‘into day’, as well as a Lane Light assist to help out when there are roadworks on the motorway and the lanes are narrow. We’ve reached the point where cars are so big they’re fitted with a light carpet that ‘follows the lane with magnet-like precision’; that being said, anyone who’s encountered a motorway down to one lane in the middle of the night for a smart overhaul will probably appreciate Lane Light. Those behind will be able to gawp at VW’s first illuminated logo.

VW is promising powertrain upgrades for a ‘new synthesis of comfort and performance’, though the vital numbers for the engines currently offered in the UK are unchanged. That means 231hp and 369lb ft for the standard diesel, 286hp and 442lb ft for the more potent 3.0-litre TDI, then 340hp and 332lb ft for the 3.0 TSI petrol. Asssuming the eHybrid cars feature in the UK, the R gets the same 462hp combined output as before. 

Accordingly, the most notable changes for the drive will likely come from the ride and handling, with the standard steel suspension and optional air setup benefitting from both new hardware and software. VW reckons it has further increased ‘the already large bandwidth offered by the Touareg in terms of its combination of maximum comfort with optimum performance.’ Given how capable the cars with which it shares so much are (four-wheel steering and active anti-roll are also on the menu) there’s every reason to expect a lot from the new model. 

Not that that will really matter to those not behind the wheel; they’ll be more interested in faster charging USB-C ports (now 45 W rather than 15), softer armrests, new door panels and – get this – squidgier kneepads as well. The height of luxury. But then not much has changed because the Touareg interior was already quite good, 15-inch central touchscreen and all.

Perhaps people aren’t keen to spend almost Cayenne money on a VW SUV, and maybe these interior upgrades will convince buyers that the Touareg is rather more than a big Tiguan. But we’ll have a better idea when the camo comes off in May. In the meantime, those Touaregs you never noticed before are in the classifieds, including one of those very rare, 462hp R Hybrids – it’s yours for a little more than £60k.

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