New-gen Touareg ramps up the elegance
Banff, Alberta — The all-new 2011 VW Touareg is an SUV rendered in a format that hits all the hot buttons of today’s upscale SUV buyer; buttons like fuel efficiency, refinement, interior amenities, and flexible and useful seating and cargo capacity.
But when VW first introduced Touareg, back in 2003, it was all about legitimate off-road capability, with stout engines, air suspension, and a substantial chassis.
VW engineers managed to create this more modern SUV interpretation, without distancing itself from Touareg’s brave and sturdy archetype, and that makes it an interesting and compelling nameplate in an SUV marketplace suddenly crowded with on-road specialists.
And one extremely suited to the drive route facing us this morning — Banff to Calgary, mostly over snow-covered mountain back roads, in minus 30 degree C weather. Where’s my toque?
New Metal, Everywhere
But before we were thrown any keys, we were briefed on the story of the vehicle’s transformation. Here’s a synopsis…
The all-new chassis is stronger yet lighter — by about 400 pounds. It’s also longer and wider. As before, it shares it with corporate cousin, Porsche Cayenne.
The extra length is mostly put to use in the rear seating area, which has considerably more legroom than the last model.
The new rear seats split 60/40, slide fore and aft, recline, and can fold down quickly via a new (optional) power button. (The middle position is not what I would call a “full time” seat, but very useable for when you need to head somewhere with five people).
The optional power tailgate can now be activated by a rear-mounted switch or by the key fob.
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