Words & Pictures by Andrew Middleton
The Touareg, launched in 2002, was a joint effort by VW, Audi and Porsche to create a capable SUV that also performed like a sports car. Named after the Nomadic Touareg people of the Sahara Desert, Volkswagen’s offering is the ‘value’ proposition in the VAG group’s PL71 platform, shared with the Cayenne and Q7. After almost five years without a facelift, the second-generation Touareg has become overlooked in the highly competitive luxury SUV segment. Competing Germans include the Mercedes ML, BMW X5, and the in-house rivals already mentioned.
The facelift brings the understated Touareg back into contention with an updated interior, exterior and suspension. Engines remain unchanged across the range, where the V6 TDI accounts for over 80% of sales. The new Touareg can be differentiated from its predecessor by the new Bi-Xenon headlights (standard across the range) and daytime running lights. A new, stylized, air intake and bumper make the Touareg look ‘appreciably wider’ and add a touch of sportiness.