Click here to View Our Other Publication
Drive Life : October 8th 2010
1HERSA1 F023 DESIGNED TO CLEAN FOR BETTER PERFORMANCE Unlike regular fuel, Caltex Vortex premium fuels are designed to clean your engine while you drive, to give you more power, better acceleration and increased fuel economy. Upgrade to Caltex Vortex premium fuels today. CAL0140/T24 An ideal car for family holidays, as well as a school-run workhorse. SPECIAL REPORT FOUR-WHEEL-DRIVES Worth the weight loss It's shed quite a few kilos but Volkswagen's latest Touareg soft-roader is a larger affair, writes Steve Colquhoun. It was acknowledged that Volkswagen's first Touareg model was a capable semi-premium, medium-large soft-roader but one that was simply too heavy and thirsty. So the arrival of a second generation that is lighter, yet larger and more fuel-efficient, looms as an encouraging sign. A first international drive of the model destined to become the volume-seller in Australia -- the 3.0-litre V6 turbo diesel -- indicates the Volkswagen Group has listened closely to feedback and delivered a car that addresses key criticisms. Gone are the bloated physical dimensions; it looks lighter and feels more nimble courtesy of shedding more than 200 kilograms. Its wheelbase, though, is 41 millimetres longer than the previous model, almost all of which is felt in the back seat. Fuel use also appears to be less contentious, reined in from the previous model's 9.6 litres per 100 kilometres in 3.0-litre TDI form to a highly commendable figure of 7.4L/100km. The model we drove on a two- day autobahn-dominated gallop through Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium spent most of its time hovering about the 8.6L/100km to 9.0L/100km mark. Models arriving in Australia will carry ''BlueMotion Technologies'' branding, signifying they will have a start-stop system that cuts the engine when the car is stopped in traffic. The engine restarts when the brake is released in the auto model. The 175kW engine is backed by 550Nm of torque that delivers muscular performance in spite of the Touareg's two-tonne bulk. However, there's still a slight hesitation at start-up as the turbo spools and the eight-speed auto gearbox searches for the right ratio. But it's a short hiatus as car, engine and gearbox combine for easy, tractable acceleration. The auto is impressive, contributing to only a small amount of lag from standing starts and with near-seamless changes. Steering is light at lower speeds but firms as the pace rises, to offer well-weighted and direct input. Our test cars were fitted with adaptive dampers that offer comfort, normal and sports modes, with the middle setting offering the best mix of competence and compliance. The cabin is laudably serene, with virtually no wind rush and only a little engine and tyre noise. It's also well appointed; our test model featured plush leather seating with heating and electronic adjustment, timber dash inlays and soft-touch plastics around the cabin. All models are likely to have a 20-centimetre multimedia screen at the top of the centre console to control access to the car's premium audio system as well as satellite navigation, Bluetooth functions and a hard drive for music storage. A new feature is a multifunction trip computer on a wide, colourful display that sits in the instrument cluster between the speedometer and the tacho. It can be set to view navigation directions, vehicle information, audio parameters and vehicle settings. Our test car was also fitted with safety options, including adaptive cruise control (which can adjust the car's speed to a vehicle travelling in front), lane assist (which buzzes the steering wheel if you stray outside your lane) and blind-spot assist (which illuminates when the blind spot is occupied and flashes an urgent warning in the wing mirrors if you try to merge). The back seat has enough head and legroom to make a basketball team happy. The rear seats can be shifted to liberate more boot space and can recline. With the 60:40 rear seats stowed, up to 1642 litres of cargo space is available. Beneath the boot floor in our German-specified model was a tyre repair kit and compressor, freeing more space. Generous equipment levels and a more sustainable performance help make the Touareg an ideal car for family holidays, as well as a school-run workhorse. It's certainly an improvement on its predecessor but with pricing as yet unknown, only time and a thorough test drive on Australian roads will tell whether it has the firepower to supplant rivals such as the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Lexus RX 350 and Mercedes ML-Class, when it arrives here early next year. For more on the Volkswagen Touareg, go to drive.com.au/vw.
October 1st 2010
October 15th 2010