2019 Volkswagen Touareg 190TDI Launch Edition Review
Toby Hagon’s 2019 Volkswagen Touareg 190TDI Launch Edition Review with Price, Specs, Performance, Ride And Handling, Ownership, Safety, Verdict And Score.
In a nutshell: Much improved third generation of Vollkswagen’s large five-seat SUV, which fills the gap between the mainstream and luxury brands.
2019 Volkswagen Touareg 190TDI Launch Edition Specifications
Price $89,990+ORCs Warranty 5 years, unlimited km Service Intervals 12 months, 15,000km Safety 5-star ANCAP Engine3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel Power 190kW at 4000rpm Torque 600Nm at 2250rpm Transmission 8-speed automatic Drive AWD Dimensions 4878mm (L), 1984mm (W), 1686mm (H), 2899mm (WB) Ground Clearance 213mm Kerb Weight 2086kg Towing 3500kg Towball Download Up to 280kg Boot Space 810L Spare Space Saver Fuel Tank 75L Thirst 7.4L/100km
The Volkswagen Touareg is a large SUV that has typically straddled the mainstream and luxury segments.
But the third generation of Volkswagen’s largest, most expensive car is now pushing upmarket, hoping to tempt people out of traditional luxury brands with a broad spread of equipment and a more convincing driving experience.
What’s in the range and how much does it cost?
For now, there’s a single Touareg model, but that will evolve over 2019 and 2020 to grow into a broader family.
Unlike previous Touareg iterations, Volkswagen won’t have two power outputs for its V6 diesel models, instead badging all as 190TDI (190 referring to the power output in kilowatts). All will drive all four wheels and use an eight-speed automatic transmission. Other details on other models are unknown for now, although expect an entry price somewhere around $75K.
For now, it’s the 190TDI Launch Edition doing the heavy lifting, its $89,990 price tag a big step up from the sub-$70K price of the previous Touareg. But it comes suitably stuffed with gear, including some big ticket items such as air suspension, four-zone ventilation, matrix LED headlights, plush leather and new active safety technology such front and rear cross traffic alert with auto braking.
There’s also 20-inch alloy wheels, tinted windows, parking sensors at either end, ambient lighting, wireless phone charging electric tailgate and electric seats with massaging, ventilation and heating functionality.
One option with showroom appeal is the Innovision Package, which adds a whopping 15.0-inch central infotainment screen and teams it with a 12.3-inch curved digital instrument cluster. For $8000 it also brings a head-up display and more advanced ambient lighting system. A sunroof is another $3000 while any colour but white is $2000.
What’s the interior and practicality like?
It’s a big vehicle and feels it, reinforced by the large dashboard that in our cars was dominated by bright colour screens.
The seats are snug and comfortable and come with various massaging functions for those who like some seat rollicking on the move. The seats themselves are also suitably supportive, working nicely on twisting roads.
Despite the size the Touareg is strictly a five-seater, leaving the rear-most section for a long, broad 810-litre load area (slightly less if you’ve got the rear seats slid to their rear-most position). It’s certainly a handy luggage area and makes for a terrific family car that can also comfortably carry five adults when required.
Indeed, those rear seats have plenty of head and leg room for larger frames; headroom is excellent. Only the centre occupant will get less of the luxury treatment, the transmission tunnel on the floor stealing some foot space and the raised seat lacking that cossetting feel. The rear seat also slides and splits in a 60/40 configuration.
What are the controls and infotainment like?
All our cars at the local launch were fitted with the $8000 Innovision pack, which replaces a regular 9.2-inch infotainment screen with a 15.0-inch unit. The partial analogue instruments are also replaced with a customisable digital display. All of which makes for tech overload, the central screen dominating the dash. There’s plenty packed into it and it’s clear and bright, providing crisp displays, icons and graphics.
A large virtual home button brings some iPhone thinking to the display, something continued with the pinch-and-swipe functionality to dart between menus. Swipe with two fingers and it performs different tasks, reinforcing the need to familiarise yourself with its operation before zipping into traffic.
There’s also a degree of customisation to the screen, with various apps that can be pinned to the home page, teaming with the permanent strip along the bottom to control things such as cabin temperature and seat heating/ventilation.
One dial that’s closer than the rest is the volume one, nestled in the centre console and with a quality knurled finish. Two circular dials not far from that volume knob allow adjustment of the air suspension (as well as the normal ride height there’s a lower loading height and two off-road heights) and various drive modes (Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport, Offroad and Snow, as well as a customisable Individual mode).
Those wanting to keep their gadgets charged can use one of the four USB ports (two up front, two in the rear) or the wireless charging pad at the base of the dash.
What’s the performance like?
The 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel is a heavy revision of the previous engine, albeit one that realises gains to performance and efficiency. The 190kW power peak is respectable, while the 600Nm of torque on tap from 2250rpm is genuinely impressive.
It provides a generous and effortless shove that easily deals with the near-2.1-tonne body. It’s helped by the eight-speed auto, which is intuitive and intelligent, leaning on the low-rev muscle regularly. There’s a Sports mode that makes for crisper response and will occasionally pluck a lower gear, although the whole car feels more relaxed in its regular D for Drive mode.
Just as impressive as the performance is refinement, the engine emitting a muted rumble that is barely perceptible in everyday touring. Combined with respectable claimed fuel consumption of 7.4 litres per 100km it makes for an impressive and well suited drivetrain.
What’s it like on the road?
Comfort is a major focus for the Touareg Launch Edition, which rides on air suspension and 20-inch wheels. You can read our international first drive which covered off the drive experience of those Toureg variants running non-air suspension.
There’s a choice between Comfort, Normal and Sport suspension settings, the first two smothering bumps beautifully and the third tensioning things to the point where the ride deteriorates notably. We can’t imagine too many Australian roads where Sport would make much sense.
Best to leave it in the gentler settings, then. Combined with the hushed engine and quiet cabin it makes for a serene experience. The Touareg is also beautifully controlled, its broad footprint adding to the reassurance in corners and the tyres providing ample grip. The steering is a tad numb, but it’s a minor gripe in an otherwise accomplished dynamic equation that eats up the kilometres with ease.
What’s it like off the road?
The extent of our off-road involved snow-smattered gravel roads, which the Touareg handled with no issues. While it has 213mm of ground clearance, it’s more soft-roader, albeit with some basic electronic extras to help you along. The Offroad and Snow modes in the driver select system tailor throttle response and traction control to maximise traction and control. But, again, we’d be keeping things on the softer side rather than getting too rugged, something reinforced with the lack of a full-sized spare tyre.
Does it have a spare?
There’s a spare wheel and tyre but it’s a skinny space saver that needs to be inflated before use with the onboard compressor. It’s teamed with tyre pressure sensors to warn of any issues.
Can you tow with it?
The Touareg has a big towing advantage against many rivals, able to lug up to 3500kg with a towball down weight of up to 280kg. However, once you start loading it up with people and/or luggage the towball load limit is reduced to as low as 130kg, which will almost certainly limit how much you’ll be able to carry. So, check the owner’s manual before you go hitching up that massive caravan behind.
What about ownership?
Volkswagen sees its five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty as a big advantage over the three-year coverage of most luxury brands (Lexus and Infiniti have four-year coverage and the upcoming Genesis brand five years).
Considering the Touareg plays in the same market as vehicles such as the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE and Audi Q7 it makes for a more respectable factory warranty – and one potentially worth thousands of dollars.
Servicing must be done every 12 months or 15,000km, with the first five services adding up to $3248. Volkswagen also offers pay-up-front service plans , which typically bring a small discount to that total.
What safety features does it have?
There are eight airbags providing frontal protection for those up front and side protection for the head and chest of all outboard occupants. That helps the Touareg achieve a five-star ANCAP safety rating.
There’s also a healthy suite of active safety equipment that contributes to that rating, while also going beyond ANCAP requirements. Autonomous emergency braking benefits from a forward-facing radar and camera, each of which can react to upcoming obstacles up to more than 150km/h. Blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assistance is also standard. Plus, there’s rear auto braking for when parking.
Another useful feature that’s rare these days is cross traffic alert not just for the rear but also the front. It means that whether you’re reversing or edging out of a parking spot with poor visibility (or a narrow alley or driveway) the car can warn of vehicles approaching from either side and even apply the brakes to avoid a crash.
How do we rate the interior and practicality?
How do we rate the value?
How do we rate the controls and infotainment?
How do we rate the performance?
How do we rate the ride and handling?
How do we rate the safety?