A look back at the company's flagship SUV

The third-generation 2019 Volkswagen Touareg was revealed earlier this week, so we thought we'd look back on how far it has come over its 15-year history.

Let us know which is your favourite in the comments below.


First Generation: 2002-2010

Volkswagen's first iteration of the Touareg launched globally in 2002, offering a luxurious interior combined with proper off-road ability.

In terms of design, the first Touareg looked very much like an oversized Golf, but that's no bad thing, either.

The original model offered a locking centre differential, four-wheel drive, and adaptive air suspension.

An array of powertrain options were offered depending on market, including a 162kW/305Nm 3.2-litre V6, a 128kW/400Nm 2.5-litre turbo-diesel, a 176kW/550Nm 3.0-litre V6 turbo-diesel, a 230kW/750Nm 5.0-litre V10 turbo diesel, and even a 331kW/600Nm 6.0-litre W12 – the latter reserved for China, Europe and Saudi Arabia.

The first-gen Touareg also offered an R50 performance hero, which got an uprated version of the 5.0-litre V10 turbo-diesel making 258kW and 850Nm.

Like the models after it, the original Touareg shared its underpinnings with the Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne.

Fun Fact: The original Touareg was the only iteration offered in both manual and automatic guises.


Second Generation: 2010-2018

Taking over duties at the turn of the decade, the second-generation Touareg featured an overhauled exterior and interior in line with Volkswagen's current model range of the time, while also debuting a world-first glare-free high-beam headlight system.

What's glare-free high-beam? Dubbed 'Dynamic Light Assist' in Volkswagen-speak, the technology adjusts the range and pattern of the high-beam – similar to new Matrix LED headlight systems, but with a different bulb.

In terms of motivation, the second-gen Touareg dropped its predecessor's V10 and W12 powertrains, instead offering a range of V6 and V8 petrols and turbo-diesels. Some regions also got a petrol-electric hybrid.

A 2015 facelift brought features like autonomous emergency braking, post-collision braking, mobile online services for the satellite navigation system and standard bi-xenon headlights (previously halogen as standard).

Fun Fact: The most powerful model in the second-gen Touareg range was the V8 TDI, generating 250kW and 800Nm. It could sprint from 0-100km/h in just 5.8 seconds.


Third Generation: 2018-

And now, we're up to date. The third-generation Touareg is based on the Volkswagen Group's new MLB Evo platform – which not only underpins the Cayenne and Q7, but also the Bentley Bentayga and Lamborghini Urus.

Despite previous iterations sitting somewhat below its Audi and Porsche cousins in terms of features and performance, it appears Volkswagen is going all out with this new model.

The driver gets two massive displays – a 12-inch instrument cluster and a new 15-inch central infotainment system – along with the latest in driver-assistance technology.

It's also lighter yet more spacious than the outgoing version, weighing up to 108kg less than the second-generation car yet sporting 113L extra volume behind the second row (810L).

The third-gen Touareg is also the first to get the option of a plug-in hybrid – though this version is primarily for the Chinese market.

When it arrives in the second quarter of 2019, the new Touareg will be celebrating the nameplate's 16th year on sale in Australia.

Fun Fact: The latest Touareg offers Roadwork Lane Assist, a technology that provides semi-autonomous driving up to 60km/h by accelerating, braking, steering and lane keeping


Which Touareg is your favourite?