Volkswagen Touareg 190TDI first drive

Volkswagen has added the option of more luxury and more tech to its 2020 Touareg 4x4 range – at a cost

VW Touareg 190 4 Of 5 Jpg

As final stocks of the Touareg Launch Edition model make their way out of dealerships, Volkswagen has unleashed the 190 TDI and 190 TDI Premium models that reduce the initial price of entry while taking away some of the equipment.

Priced from $79,490 (plus on-road costs) the Volkswagen Touareg 190TDI promises the same luxury-focused experience but without some of the bells and whistles of the Launch Edition; think things such as quad-zone ventilation and tyre pressure sensors, as well as some design and trim items.

The wheels also drop down from 20-inch units to 19s and suspension reverts to standard steel springs rather than air on each corner.

Volkswagen Touareg 190 2019

For another $6000 the 190TDI Premium adds back those 20-inch wheels as well as headlights incorporating 128 LEDs each (for active high beam functionality), LED tail lights, that air suspension and massaging front seats with heating and cooling functionality.

Plus, many of the features once reserved for the Launch Edition – and more – are part of various packs that bundle items together.

Between the $8000 Innovision Pack (a 15-inch touchscreen is the highlight), $8000 Sound & Comfort Package (14-speaker sound system and quad-zone ventilation are the standouts), $3000 sunroof and $2000 metallic paint you can easily create a $100K-plus Volkswagen.

Some, including the $8000 R-Line pack, bring features never before see on the Touareg – or indeed on a Volkswagen. Four-wheel steering is one such system, providing rear wheels that turn in the opposite direction to the fronts below 37km/h and in the same direction above that speed.

There are also active stabiliser bars, which help resist leaning through corners.

Volkswagen Touareg 190 TDI 2020

It works beautifully, too. While the standard Touareg is a wonderfully adept car through corners – its basic underpinnings are shared with Porsche, Bentley and Lamborghini – the Electromechanical Active Rolls Stabilization adds a new level of control that virtually eliminates leaning through corners.

Elsewhere, the 190TDI gets the same 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel matched to an eight-speed automatic.

It’s a smooth combination and with 190kW and 600Nm makes for hearty acceleration, the solid swell of torque easily shifting more than two tonnes of SUV.

The highlight with the Touareg 190TDI, though, is its impressive refinement. The cabin is serenely quiet, with a gentle hum the only clue an engine is huffing away beneath the bonnet.

Riding on the steel-sprung suspension isn’t as plush as the air setup with more bumps and jostles obvious at lower speeds, but the same surefooted feel, something on display at highway speeds.

Volkswagen Touareg 190 2019

The Touareg is also impressively spacious, the back seats easily accommodating large adults and the boot swallowing 810 litres of gear if you slide the back seats to their forward-most position.

However, the Touareg misses out on a third row of seats, something offered in rival luxury options such as the BMW X5, Audi Q7 and Mercedes-Benz GLE.

While that rules a set of buyers out, Volkswagen sees the hefty boot capacity as a bonus, particularly for grey nomads and others planning to cover big distances.

There are omissions in the 190TDI; no digital radio tuning, for example, and no volume dial for the radio, instead diverting you to buttons on the steering wheel or inferior touch pads on the dash.

Volkswagen Touareg 190 2019

But there’s a much longer list of tempting items to justify the price tag, including leather, navigation and an impressive suite of safety equipment.

What the Touareg lacks in a luxury badge it makes up for in luxury flair and fare.

While some may see it as an expensive mainstream car, others will appreciate the substance on offer for a price that undercuts rivals from more upmarket brands.

Does the Volkswagen Touareg's increased tech content offset its relatively high sticker price for you? Let us know below!

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