Sadly, America will still have to settle for the VW Atlas.
Despite its universal acclaim, the Volkswagen Touareg struggled to captivate buyers in the US since launching in 2004, so we weren’t very surprised when the flagship SUV was killed off in America for the 2018 model year. In Beijing, VW has just lifted the wraps off the all-new third-generation Touareg, hailing it as the most technologically advanced car it has ever produced featuring bold new styling, a revamped interior and sophisticated tech.
Unfortunately, if you were hoping the Touareg would make a comeback in the US, prepare to be disappointed because it isn’t returning contrary to previous reports. Instead, we’ll have to settle for the more affordable Atlas. In Europe, the Touareg will be marketed as VW’s new flagship aiming to set new standards for premium SUVs. Based on the same MLB Evo platform as the Audi Q7, Porsche Cayenne, and Lamborghini Urus, the new Touareg has grown in size, providing more cabin space. It’s three inches longer, 1.7 inches wider, and sits 67 inches lower, while trunk space has increased from 24 cubic feet to 28 cubic feet with the rear seats in place.
Despite the larger footprint, the new underpinnings have shed the Touareg’s weight down by 234 pounds thanks to extensive use of lightweight aluminium and “high-tech steels.” For the third-generation model, the Touareg has been restyled, featuring a new front fascia akin to the attractive Arteon with a chrome grille that blends into the new LED headlights, which each house 128 individual LEDs. Overall, it’s a bold new look that helps it stand out from the crowd. The base model rides on 18-inch wheels, while the high-end versions will ride on massive 21-inch alloys. It’s the interior where you’ll find the most radical changes, however.
VW has completely redesigned the cabin and infotainment system. Debuting what VW is dubbing an “Innovision Cockpit,” the 2019 Touareg features a 12-inch instrument cluster and a massive 15-inch touchscreen for the first time. Both screens combine to form a fully digital interface controlling all major functions. The tech-laden SUV also features all-wheel steering, a night vision system, four-corner air suspension, massaging and ventilated front seats, four-zone air conditioning, a 730-watt, 14-speaker Dynaudio sound system, and a huge panoramic sliding roof. Unsurprisingly, these options will cost extra.
The 2019 Touareg will launch in Europe with a choice of two turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 diesels rated at 231 hp and 286 hp. A gasoline V6 model will join the lineup later this year with 340 hp along with a range-topping 4.0-liter V8 turbodiesel with 421 hp. China will get a plug-in hybrid model with a combined output of 367 hp, which will eventually be offered in Europe.