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Volkswagen Touareg 2019 review: Launch Edition


If you’re after a large, good-looking SUV and have around $90K to spend (before extras), you’ve come to the right page.

The new Volkswagen Touareg is a real step up from your usual VW and this 'Launch Edition' competes on the next level, with the Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90 - even though they have seven seats and the Touareg has five. 

I actually didn’t miss the two extra seats in the back this week. If you’re family of two or three, you usually need the extra boot space anyway and rarely use those seats. Here’s how it did with my family of four over a week of driving.

How does it look?

Volkswagen's hit that sweet spot with the exterior, right between grand and sophisticated but still family friendly.

Volkswagen's hit that sweet spot with the exterior. Volkswagen's hit that sweet spot with the exterior.

It looks appealing, not pompous and you’re immediately struck by the modern design. The special paint colour is glorious and so it should be - it’s an extra $2000.

The special paint colour is glorious and so it should be - it’s an extra $2000. The special paint colour is glorious and so it should be - it’s an extra $2000.

The interior looks luxurious. It’s fitted with the 'Innovision Package' (an extra $8000) which gives you an enormous multimedia screen that stretches from the middle to across in front of the driver’s seat, so you get a completely digital dash.

The interior looks luxurious. The interior looks luxurious.

The size of the screen and the way it’s incorporated into the design really makes it feel premium, and like you’re getting value for the amount you paid for the system.

The seats are high quality leather, very comfortable and the front seats are heated and cooling, 18-way power adjustable, plus come with a 10 program in-chair massage feature, which is exactly what you want while sitting in traffic.

One feature that was a hit with my children was the way the interior lights up at night - it happened to be in my daughter’s favourite colour purple, but you can choose from 30 shades.

One feature that was a hit with my children was the way the interior lights up at night. One feature that was a hit with my children was the way the interior lights up at night.

It was such a pleasure to sit in all week and really made me feel good driving it.

How does it drive?

It’s a large car, but it doesn’t feel heavy on the take-off - or not out of balance with the car anyway.

It drives very smoothly and quietly and the steering feels the right weight for the car. It turns easily so you can do three-point-turns without getting an impromptu arm workout.

It drives very smoothly and quietly and the steering feels the right weight for the car. It drives very smoothly and quietly and the steering feels the right weight for the car.

There’s a 3.0-litre V6 engine so you’ll have no trouble getting up hills or cruising along a highway and I felt completely confident on the road this week.

It handles nicely and while it’s never going to be considered agile, it still gets in and out of traffic well.

There’s a 3.0-litre V6 engine. There’s a 3.0-litre V6 engine.

Parking, surprisingly, was fine for such a large car. There’s a reverse parking camera and 360 degree camera to get you into tight spots and if you’re really unsure, you can turn 'Park Assist' on and the car will park itself for you. 

How spacious is it?

This car is roomy. Because it’s big, with only five seats, VW's really exploited the space available to give each passenger a good amount of air space around them.

Head and leg space up the front is great. Head and leg space up the front is great.

Head and leg space up the front is great and even the taller members of my family were good in this car. 

The back seat feels a bit like a lounge for me. At 161cm I was very comfortable, with loads of space between my knees and the seat in front, so taller teenagers and adults will easily have enough room. 

The back seat feels a bit like a lounge for me. The back seat feels a bit like a lounge for me.

It’s also one of the only five-seaters where you can comfortably fit a third child seat in the middle, without the seats touching so you’ll actually be able to do up seat belts.

I did it with two boosters and a baby capsule, but please note it’s always going to depend on your baby seats.

The boot is huge at 810 litres. The boot is huge at 810 litres.

And the boot is huge at 810 litres, making it one of the biggest in the class. It fit the CarsGuide pram, will fit a double pram, and you’ll get large suitcases in there.

It fit the CarsGuide pram and will fit a double pram. It fit the CarsGuide pram and will fit a double pram.

It would be an ideal car to take away for long weekend road trip, with all your stuff in the back.

How easy is it to use every day?

This one has all the mod cons. A power operated tailgate is super helpful when hands are full. The driver’s seat has a driver recognition system which you can program for different drivers.

There are two cupholders in the front, a spot to throw keys and a phone which also charges your phone if it’s compatible, a shallow centre storage bin, a netted pocket on the front passenger side and bottle holders in each door.

There are two cupholders in the front, a spot to throw keys and a phone. There are two cupholders in the front, a spot to throw keys and a phone.

Rear passengers get two cupholders in the centre armrest, pockets on the back of the front seats and their own climate control.

Rear passengers get two cupholders in the centre armrest. Rear passengers get two cupholders in the centre armrest.

There are two USB ports in the front, two in the back and two 12-volt outlets in the car. Easy to charge things when you’re on the road.

How safe is it?

The Touareg has comprehensive safety with eight airbags including side airbags for rear passengers, not just side curtain airbags which is quite often the case. 

Advanced safety includes driver fatigue detection, auto emergency braking, front and rear cross traffic alert, which is one of the most useful features coming out onto a road where you can’t see the traffic (like I am out of my driveway). 

It’s also got two ISOFIX points and three top tether points to fix child car seats in safely which all rounds up to a full five ANCAP stars.

What’s the tech like?

This multimedia system looks fab and it’s fitted with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so you can voice command the maps app and ask your phone to make calls and send text messages.

This multimedia system looks fab. This multimedia system looks fab.

There is an actual volume knob but apart from that, everything is controlled via the screen, so things like changing the temperature takes some getting used to but it is easy.

There’s also gesture control, which means you do things like turn the volume up or down with a wave of your hand but I’m fairly rubbish at making this work properly.

With the Innovision Package you’ll also get a head-up display in the windscreen, always a good way to register your speed.

How much does it cost to own?

The Volkswagen Touareg Launch Edition costs $89,990 before extras. This car came with the Innovision Package which is an extra $8000 and the special paint job adds another $2000, taking it to $99,990.

Fuel consumption is a claimed 7.4L/100km which is surprisingly low for such a large engine.

The Touareg is covered by Volkswagen’s five-year/unlimited km warranty and servicing is required every 12 months/15,000km.


The Wrap

This was such a great, easy car to drive this week. The interior is luxe, the boot is enormous and there is plenty of space for families of four or five. It’s quite big and bulky, but was still fine to park and it really felt like a car of the future with the huge multimedia screen. 

It drives beautifully and the advanced safety and airbags made it feel extra safe for a family. I gave it a family rating of 8.5 out of 10 and my kids also gave it an 8.5 - they loved the purple lighting on the interior at night.

Likes

Interior design
Multimedia and tech
Spacious and large boot

Dislikes

It's big

Scores

Nedahl:

4.3

The Kids:

4.3

$89,990

Based on new car retail price

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