Make: Volkswagen

Model: Touareg

Variant: Premium 190TDI

Engine / Transmission: 3.0 litre V6 diesel – 8 Speed automatic

Manufacturer Claimed Fuel Economy: 7.4L/100km combined 

Price: From $86,790 plus on roads

First Impressions:

Last week, the EFTM Garage was home to the ‘basic’ Touareg, if you can call an $80k VW “basic”. This week, we’re host to the Volkswagen Touareg Premium TDI190. The question everyone always wants to know when you drive different specifications back to back is if the extra spend is worth it. In the case of the Touareg, it unequivocally is.

Tech Inside: 

Your outlay of a further $6k gets you not only more advanced LED headlights, LED tail lights, nicer leather heated and cooled seats, but also the superb air suspension. The car on test was fitted with some ridiculously expensive options, but these choices make more sense when you remember that most Touareg buyers are cross shopping much more expensive options from Ingolstadt, Stuttgart and Munich. 

The $3k for the glass roof is somewhat reasonable. It is huge, beautifully trimmed and fitted with a big electric sunblind. Meanwhile, asking $2k for metallic paint is just rude. 

Tech heads will opt for $8k ‘Innovision Pack’ with its 12.3” and 15” displays, piano finish trim, head-up display and interior lighting that can be programmed in 30 different colours. The $8k ‘R-Line Pack’ adds impressive four-wheel steering, body kit, big wheels, and a few other goodies, while the $8k ‘Sound & Comfort Pack’ adds 360 parking camera, heated seats from and back and, strangely, a bigger fuel tank (up 15 litres). Sealing the deal for the ‘Sound & Comfort Pack’ though is the excellent DYNAUDIO 16-channel amplifier, 14 speaker, 730W stereo. Combined with the almost silent nature of the Touareg, this stereo brings high-end home sound to the car. I am deeply in love with it. 

Most Impressive:

Without question, the most impressive aspect of the Touareg Premium is the air suspension. Combined with the excellent V6 diesel, the Premium represents one of the finest long distance grand tourers available, at any price. In fact, many grey nomads, especially those exploring sealed roads, would be far better ditching the Land Cruiser Saharas they are so fond of and choosing the far more technologically advanced Touareg. My only reservation would be tyre choice. It is tricky to get outback tough tyres in the 19” and 20” size.  

Not So Impressive:

For me, many of the option packs are superfluous. The big screens, for example, distract. The massage seats are of no interest to me, but Mrs Flipsy loved them. The changeable interior lighting is a gimmick, but better than being stuck with a shade you don’t like, I guess. 

A deeply impressive car, about to become even more impressive given Volkswagen’s recent announcement that the Touareg V8 TDI R-Line is confirmed for Australian delivery. This bad boy will be packing a 4.0-litre twin turbo diesel engine that delivers 310kW and a formidable 900Nm of torque. With either the new V8 or the existing V6, it is hard to see why anyone needs to spend more for a silver star, a blue roundel or four interlinked rings.