With more and more camouflage coming off, it is becoming clear that the 2018 Volkswagen Touareg that’s slated for an April debut at the Shanghai Motor Show will grow in every conceivable dimension when it arrives in Australia sometime next year... including price.
Aimed at the completely revamped BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE also due to break cover within the next 12 months, the third iteration to wear this nameplate is clearly from the same stable that has brought us the Tiguan and Volkswagen Passat – down to archly conservative design, similar body surfacing and quite blunt stylistic detailing around the nose and tail.
More importantly for some, the Touareg ‘3’ will switch to an all-new premium SUV architecture, for it to help maintain its position as the Wolfsburg company’s global luxury flagship.
To that end, the completely redesigned Touareg will adopt the Volkswagen Group’s advanced MLB Evo modular longitudinal architecture that has served the current Audi Q7 (and next year’s Porsche Cayenne ‘3’) so well, ushering in semi-autonomous driver-assist tech, an array of plug-and-play electrification on certain hybrid versions, and a platform that delivers on both the driveability and comfort fronts.
Aiding the latter are reports that kerb weight has plummeted by a dramatic 200kg, taking the large luxury SUV’s appetite for fuel with it.
On the topic of powertrains, a pair of 3.0-litre V6 turbos in petrol and diesel formats are said to be in the pipeline for Australia, driving all four wheels via an eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission. Some markets are also in line for a rumoured 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol plug-in hybrid, featuring an electric motor capable of providing emissions-free driving for up to 50km.
Interior space will likely balloon in line with this vehicle’s far larger footprint (overall length increases from about 4.7 metres to nearly five metres), addressing the relatively poor packaging issues suffered from the previous two generations launched in 2002 and 2011 respectively.
While the resoundingly five-seat Touareg is virtually a certainty for Australia, it will be positioned much higher against the physically larger Volkswagen Atlas seven-seater SUV currently being mulled over for importation. So watch for pricing to commence from about $70,000, rising to around $120,000 in top-line guise.
The Atlas has been created (and is built in the USA primarily for North American consumers) to take on more mainstream rivals like the Toyota Kluger, Kia Sorento and Mazda CX-9.
As with all of its predecessors, the Mk3 Touareg will be built in Bratislava. The name derives from the Tuareg people of Saharan North Africa.
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