Volkswagen Touareg 2020 adventure special edition
review

2020 Volkswagen Touareg 190TDI Adventure Edition review

Rating: 8.3
$90,990 Mrlp
  • Fuel Economy
    7.4L
  • Engine Power
    190kW
  • CO2 Emissions
    194g
  • ANCAP Rating
    5Stars
The VW Touareg Adventure edition is designed to appeal to buyers who want to tow in comfort.
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Volkswagen has released a limited edition of its Touareg SUV to farewell the 190kW/600Nm version of its 3.0-litre turbo diesel V6 – ahead of the arrival of Euro 6 updates with 170kW and 210kW outputs, and the requirement of an AdBlue additive.

The 2020 Volkswagen Touareg Adventure is the last of the Euro 5 engines for this model locally, and arrives about 18 months after this generation of Touareg went on sale.

There are two Adventure packs available. The example tested is VW Touareg Adventure pack one. It costs $90,990 plus on-roads and includes a tow bar, cargo floor mat and mud flaps. Adventure Pack two adds side steps and all-weather floor mats.

The limited edition is also designed to highlight the Volkswagen Touareg’s towing potential, as more Australians plan to holiday at home in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

While the Touareg has a reputation as a luxury SUV, many customers don’t realise it can tow 3500kg – the same maximum capacity as double-cab utes such as the Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max and Mazda BT-50.

However, versus the current crop of double-cab utes, the VW Touareg has much more grunt, permanent all-wheel drive, and luxury levels of refinement.

It’s also surprisingly efficient. The official fuel-rating claim is 7.4L/100km, which is fair for the class and its size. On test, we averaged between 6.1 and 8.0L/100km with mostly inter-urban and freeway driving.

Contributing to the fuel savings: a largely aluminium body and core construction. Of the exterior panels, only the front fenders are steel. The roof, bonnet, doors and rear fenders are aluminium. The tailgate is composite.

Standard equipment includes a 9.2-inch infotainment screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, sensor key with push-button start, leather seats and timber finishes in the dash, though it misses out on the super-large infotainment screen from the VW Touareg Launch Edition.

That’s available as part of the $8000 Innovision package, which includes a digital instrument display, ambient cabin lighting, 15-inch infotainment screen, USB-C fast-charging ports, and head-up display projected onto the windscreen.

The $8000 Sound and Comfort package includes: illuminated vanity mirrors and double sun visors, dusk-sensing headlights, LED daytime driving lights, parking bay and parallel parking assistance, four-zone air-conditioning, 360-degree camera, power-operated front seats with memory function,Dynaudio sound system (subwoofer, effect speakers, centre speakers, and amplifier), auto-dimming and power-folding side mirrors, and heating for front and rear seats.

The warranty is five years/unlimited kilometres, and service intervals are 15,000km or 12 months, whichever comes first.

Over five years, the capped-price servicing cost for routine maintenance amounts to $3163, which is on the high side, though some double-cab utes can be this expensive. The cost breakdown for each scheduled service is as follows: $354, $737, $420, $1232 (60,000km or four years), $420.

Volkswagen Touareg 190TDI Adventure
Price$90,990 plus on-road costs, $99,700 drive-away
Engine configuration3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel
Power and torque190kW at 4000rpm, 600Nm at 2250rpm
Transmission8-speed automatic
DrivePermanent all-wheel drive
Weight2086kg
Fuel-rating label consumption7.4L/100km
Fuel consumption on test7.2L/100km to 8.0L/100km
Fuel typeDiesel (75L tank is standard, but Adventure has a 90L tank)
Boot volume seat up/down810L/1800L
Spare tyreCollapsed space-saver that requires inflation
Turning circle11.19m
Length/width/height4878/1984/1686mm
Wheelbase2899mm
Ground clearance213mm
Towing capacity3500kg
Front brakes350mm discs, six-piston callipers
Rear brakes330mm discs, single-piston floating callipers
0–100km/h (claimed / as tested)6.5 seconds / 6.8 seconds
100km/h to 0 (as tested)38.1m
TyresPirelli P Zero 255/55R19
ANCAP safety rating5 stars (2018 rating year)
Warranty5 years / unlimited km
Main competitorsAudi Q7, BMW X5, Mercedes GLE

On the road

The Volkswagen Touareg is, in effect, an Audi Q7 with a VW badge. It shares the same DNA and technology – and is also built largely out of lightweight, high-strength aluminium.

It would not be fair to compare the Touareg to a double-cab ute – workhorses have to excel across more areas, which comes with many compromises – but for anyone needing a comfortable tow vehicle, it’s a revelation.

Volkswagen may not appreciate the comparison with the Ford Territory (RIP), but the home-grown SUV was a benchmark for driving dynamics even in its final days.

The Volkswagen Touareg has the plushness of a luxury SUV, yet goes beyond the agility of a Ford Territory, and does so with a lot less fuss. It’s quiet, supple and refined, and masks its sheer grunt almost too well.

These aren’t supposed to be race cars, but Volkswagen claims a 0–100km/h time of 6.5 seconds. That’s almost as quick as a VW Golf GTI. On our precision timing equipment it stopped the clock in 6.8 seconds, which is still impressive for a large five-seat SUV.

Emergency braking performance was also impressive, stopping from 100km/h to 0 in 38.1m. That’s a shorter stopping distance than a Toyota GR Yaris hot hatch (39.7m) in the same conditions and on the exact same stretch of tarmac.

The six-piston front callipers clamping 350mm rotors, and single-piston floating callipers clamping 330mm discs at the rear, work well with the grippy 255/55R19 Pirelli tyres.

The grip and composure through corners are superb, and the tyres are surprisingly quiet (given their grip), even on coarse-chip roads. The handling sits relatively flat (even with a tall-ish ground clearance of 213mm), and the air suspension recovers quickly and effortlessly after bumps.

The eight-speed auto is a smooth operator and shifts intuitively. The turning circle is a tight 11.19m, which is helped out by the standard inclusion of four-wheel steering (double-cab utes are usually 12.5–12.7m, and other 4WDs are in the high 11s and low to mid 12s).

The cabin is cavernous. You could be forgiven for thinking this is big enough to be a seven-seater. Rather, Volkswagen has chosen to pamper five in comfort by giving everyone ample room, and plenty of space for cargo (810L back seats up, 1800L back seats stowed).

Under the boot floor is an inflatable space-saver. Not ideal, but better than only a can of goop.

While the car is rated to tow 3500kg, the tow ball down weight is only 280kg (rather than 350kg as per the norm) with two people occupying the front seats, and 130kg with five occupants.

The overall weight of the vehicle is 2086kg – on the lighter side versus most rivals.

There is good visibility all around due to the large glass area, and there’s ample space in the front and back seats. The back row also gets air vents and power ports to charge portable devices, tablets and phones.

Small annoyances include the lack of buttons or dials for the air-conditioning controls (instead accessed via the touchscreen, which is cumbersome and annoying, especially when on the move), and some buyers might expect a seven-seat option in this size and price range.

Verdict

The Volkswagen Touareg Adventure is aimed at buyers who are keen to tow heavy loads, but prefer car-like comfort and dynamics over hardcore off-road ability.