You know that Hollywood trope about the likable nerdy kid? The kid who, one day, returned from college with braces removed, acne cleared and glasses replaced with contacts and, suddenly, BAM!, they got hot? That’s the all-new Volkswagen Touareg; a likeable car before, but now, with added sex appeal. Or should that be tech appeal?
Arriving in Australia in May 2019, this third-generation VW Touareg is the first major update we’ve seen on the 5-seat SUV in almost a decade. The new VW Touareg is now styled to the nines, packed with active safety features, and is the most technologically advanced Volkswagen yet (finally… Apple CarPlay!).
On face value, the VW Touareg is a stunner with elegant lines and opulent details like sequential blinkers and spaced-out lettering on the rear (which we first saw on the VW Arteon, but is also a notable Porsche design cue), accentuated wheel arches and an enormous contemporary grille.
Read next: 2018 Volkswagen Touareg Review
The lounge-like interior is where we really start to see Volkswagen coming for its VW Group stablemate Audi’s crown – particularly when heavily optioned.
In its top trim, the VW Touareg has a smartphone feel about it – which frankly, makes some of the competition look ancient; the exception, perhaps, being Volvo.
VW’s fully digitalised “innovation cockpit” debuts, boasting an enormous 15-inch touchscreen and 12.3-inch active info display, blended together.
Driver-centric and easy-to-use, the touchscreens control the works and are completely customisable for each driver of the car, down to your preferred view, ambient lighting and active safety preferences. In the standard models, a 9.2-inch touchscreen with some hard keys is offered.
Throw in impressive WIFI capabilities, 18-way adjustable seats, 14-speaker 730W Dynaudio system (or 80W eight-speaker system as standard) and multiple charging points and this Volkswagen rivals some living rooms for comfort.
The 2019 VW Touareg has the largest range of safety assistance systems to ever drop in a VW – though it’s worth noting that, as we write this, Australian specifications are yet to be determined. The European models we drove at the international launch in Morocco boasted things like night vision (that detects animals and humans), semi-automated steering and lane keep assist, road work lane assist, cross-traffic assist, electro-mechanically controlled anti-roll bars, clever LED matrix headlights, a windscreen head-up display, park assist (including trailer manoeuvring assist), driver fatigue alert systems as well as some impressive pedestrian detection systems and proactive pre-crash systems.
Internationally, Volkswagen offers off-road packs with extra driving modes (like snow, sand, gravel, etc) and a larger fuel tank (which jumps from 75 to 90L) but again, specifications and option packs are to yet be confirmed for Australia.
We do know that air suspension and four-wheel steering will be an option, which if ticked make for some for agile handling and a plush ride, even on dodgy roads.
The Volkswagen Touareg is underpinned by VW’s MLB architecture, which it shares with the Audi Q7, Bentley Bentayga, Porsche Cayenne and Lamborghini Urus. So it could be seen as a more affordable sibling to those models.
Compared to its previous incarnation, the 2019 Touareg is lower, wider and longer and with much more boot space – compared to Generation Two’s 697L cargo space (1642L with rear seats-flat), the third generation's boot has jumped to an impressive 810L (1800L). And yes, it seats five, real-sized adults, shockingly.
For launch, the VW Touareg will arrive with a 3.0L, V6 turbodiesel engine with 190kW of power and 550Nm of torque (the same engine as the Volkswagen Amarok); with two more engines (170kW/500Nm and a 210kW/600Nm) arriving later in 2019. Internationally, there is talk of a V6 petrol, plug-in hybrid and V8 turbocharged-diesel, but these are still to be confirmed for Australia.
Pricing and the full Australian specifications are still TBC, but we expect the 2019 VW Touareg to be priced around $80K when it lands in May 2019. Whether Volkswagen dealers will throw in a free set of steak knives upon purchase also remains to be seen.