The VW Touareg range has finally filled out, with a new sub-$80K base model tested here.
Can the entry-level version of the VW Touareg 2020 model range live up to the much-loved high-grade Launch Edition model? It should be able to, given it starts life off with a $20,000 advantage. But is there more to it than just value for money? Read on to find out.
We’ve been waiting a long time to sample the entry-level version of the VW Touareg.
This generation model went on sale internationally a while ago, but it has only just launched in Australia as part of a two-model range. And the range will expand further in the future, but right now, our focus is on this variant - the 190TDI.
We put the high-spec Launch Edition model up against some of those rivals in our luxury SUV comparison test, but now it’s time to see what this base model is like without some of the plush features the comprehensively kitted-out LE model had.
Is there anything interesting about its design? 7/10
Less flashy, more classy. That’s my take on the standard-spec version of the VW Touareg, which in 190TDI spec gets 19-inch wheels, and they combine nicely with our test car’s no-option-cost flat white paint. It looks classy, in a classic kind of way.
There are LED headlights and tail-lights, which look modern and work very well, plus the chrome elements on the ‘cascading’ grille are not too blingy as to be overbearing. The rear-end design is simple and elegant, and it carries its size quite well.
Less flashy, more classy.
This isn’t a small vehicle, spanning 4878mm long (on a 2899mm wheelbase), 1984mm wide and 1717mm tall. Note: the Premium model sits a little lower (1686mm) due to its air suspension system, and it also has a lower running clearance (213mm vs 215mm), but it can be raised higher in off-road mode.
And it’s only a five-seater, which could rule it out for some. But let’s get to the practicality section next, and be sure to check out the interior photos to cross-reference what I’m talking about.
Being only a five-seater, the Touareg won’t be to all tastes. Audi’s Q7 is a seven-seater as standard, while the BMW X5, Lexus RX and Mercedes GLE all come with the option of seven seats if you need it. You can’t get a seven-seat Touareg. And that’s a shame.
But if five seats is enough, the Touareg’s cabin is spacious for five adults and their luggage. Like, you’ll easily fit five adults in, and a weekend’s worth of suitcases, too. The boot space is 810 litres with the seats up and 1800L with them folded down. The second-row seat slides and reclines, too, so you can get a comfy spot on longer trips.
With the rear seats in place, boot space is rated at 810 litres.
There is a fold-down armrest with cup holders, big door pockets with bottle holders and map pockets in the seat backs, plus there are rear air-vents (no temperature controls, though) and theres a flip-down power section with two USB ports.
Up front there are two more USBs, and the media screen is a 9.2-inch display that is crisp and easy to navigate. The ‘classic’ looking dials for the driver with silver backing are a bit old-school, but there’s a nice digital info display between them with all the vitals (speed, fuel use, navigation instructions etc).
The media screen measures in at 9.2-inches.
One thing that does take some getting used to is the air-conditioning controls. There is dual-zone climate control buttons and a few others, there are no fan speed control buttons - you have to use the screen for that, and it’s annoying to do so (if you’re like me, and don’t like using the Auto mode, or you’re just particular about the amount of airflow you like in the cabin).
The seats are comfortable and the materials are great, and there are ambient lights front and back, plus that dashboard vent section just looks immense, adding to the wide and airy feel to the cabin.
The Touareg’s cabin is spacious for five adults.
The seats are comfortable and the materials are great.
Does it represent good value for the price? What features does it come with? 8/10
As mentioned, the 190TDI is the entry-point to the current Touareg range, with a list price of $79,490 plus on-road costs. The other option is the 190TDI Premium, which costs $85,490 plus on-roads.
Standard equipment for the 190TDI includes 19-inch alloy wheels (with - egads! - a space-saver spare wheel) LED headlights with LED daytime running lights and LED tail-lights, steel spring suspension, leather front seats with heating and electric adjustment, keyless entry and push button start, electronic tailgate with hands-free operation, auto headlights (including auto high-beam) and auto wipers, dual-zone climate control, and a 9.2-inch touchscreen media system with sat nav, smartphone mirroring and four USB ports.
Standard on the 190TDI variant are 19-inch alloy wheels.
There’s also plenty of safety spec as standard - see the section below for a breakdown.
Optional for the 190TDI is the Innovision package ($8000) continues to be available for both models, bringing a 15.0-inch touchscreen media display, a 12.3-inch driver info screen, a head-up display, ambient interior lighting (30 colours), illuminated scuff plates and a black/silver gloss interior trim for the centre console.
The 190TDI can be optioned with the larger 15.0-inch touchscreen and a black/silver gloss interior trim for the centre console. (not present on our test car)
Premium paint on this spec will cost you $2000.
There are no other option packs for the Touareg, but there are a few choices in terms of accessories.
What are the key stats for the engine and transmission? 9/10
The engine output of the 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel engine fitted to the Touareg is the reason it has that 190TDI moniker: it pushes out 190kW of power (at 4000rpm) and a huge 600Nm of torque (at 2250rpm). It has an eight-speed automatic and VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system as standard.
Those are good outputs. It’s a good engine. More on that in the driving section.
The 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel produces 190kW/600Nm.
The claimed combined cycle fuel economy for the Touareg 190TDI is 7.4 litres per 100 kilometres, which is probably achievable if you have a very light foot and like to travel under the speed limit on the highway.
In our real-world testing we saw an average of 8.6L/100km, which included a couple of stints of highway and a bit of urban running, too. Some of it was with four occupants, while other times it was just me in the car.
I rate that as pretty good, but the fact the fuel tank is just 75 litres might be an issue for some customers - especially if you’re towing.
You can get a bigger 90L tank… but only if you get the more expensive 190TDI Premium model ($85,490) and option the Sound & Comfort package for an extra $8000. Or you could just carry some jerry cans…?
We reckon VW Australia might make the larger tank an option in the future, in combination with the air suspension, as part of a Towing Pack… which would be a really good move from the brand.
What's it like to drive? 7/10
It’s not as good as the Touareg with air suspension.
Phew, I’ve got that out of the way now. This whole time I’ve been skirting around the fact that the 190TDI Premium has the excellent (in fact, I’d go as far as saying it’s class-leading) air suspension ride control, but this base variant doesn’t have it.
Instead it rides on steel suspension without any form of dampening control, meaning the ride you get is what you get. And it’s still good - better than a GLE, that’s for sure - but there is some rigidity to the suspension at higher speeds. It can be a little bouncy at the rear, though around town it isolates cabin occupants from the road surface nicely.
The steering is trustworthy - a little slow at times, but easy to judge and natural in its feel, and there’s a self-parking system if you’re nervous about piloting it into a spot. Visibility is good, too.
The engine is a corker, with heaps of mid-range pulling power and a good amount of squirt when you get on the throttle. Overtaking is not an issue, and if you find yourself needing to squeeze through a gap, you’ll be able to do it without a second thought. The transmission is smart and shifts smoothly - and during my time with it, I never once caught it out.
But there is some low-rev lag to contend with. The outputs tell the story - peak torque hits at 2250rpm, and that means there’s a bit of a turbo-lag hole before you get there.
Warranty & Safety Rating
5 years / unlimited km
ANCAP Safety Rating
What safety equipment is fitted? What safety rating? 9/10
The VW Touareg has a five-star ANCAP crash test rating, which it achieved under the 2018 criteria.
All Touareg variants come with a reversing camera.
It also has dual ISOFIX and three top-tether child seat anchor points, and eight airbags (dual front, front side, rear side and full-length curtain) are fitted.
What does it cost to own? What warranty is offered? 9/10
VW Australia brags that the Touareg is the only luxury SUV in the country to be offered with a five-year warranty plan, and that’s worthy of note. Lexus offer four years/100,000km, while the other Germans have three-year/unlimited kilometre plans.
The company also offers a choice of pre-pay service plans (three years/45,000km: $1400; five-year/75,000k: $2500) which can be rolled into your finance package, or the option of capped-price servicing as you go (total over three years: $1578; total over five years: $3248). So you’re totally better off going pre-paid.
There is a lot to like about the entry-grade VW Touareg 190TDI. It’s a nicely sized, nicely specced and nice to drive luxury SUV, though there is no denying it doesn’t feel quite as special as the Launch Edition I’ve sent a lot more time in. That said, this car is $20K cheaper. So there’s that.
The fact remains that the Touareg is a great premium SUV for the money. If you can stretch, maybe consider the 190TDI Premium which gets the better suspension and a few more trinkets beside.
Note: CarsGuide attended this event as a guest of the manufacturer, with travel and meals provided.