VW Touareg gets hybrid

03 March 2020

VOLKSWAGEN is to add a new flagship model to its mighty Touareg SUV range, and it is a hybrid, naturally.

Chances are that almost every new vehicle this year will be a hybrid or all-electric as motor manufacturers race to meet the forthcoming clean air standards.

With petrol and diesel models due to be banned within a decade and a half, or even sooner, hybrids will become the preferred replacement in the short term – until they also get the chop.

For the next few years at least, hybrids will become all the rage, with this new Volkswagen being an example of the mixed technology at its very best.

Instead of an unfeasibly large petrol or diesel engine to generate awesome power there is a combination of a medium-sized petrol engine and electric motor to do the job.

The main advantage is that the vehicle will be able to be driven for a short distance on electric power only, which earns owners significant financial benefits.

Once enough drivers are persuaded to switch to hybrid or electric vehicles the tax incentives will be withdrawn to make up for the lost fuel duties from petrol and diesel, as so many motorists found to their cost after being incentivised to switch to diesel a few years ago.

In the meantime the market will be awash with vehicles containing batteries of some sort, with this impressive new Volkswagen Touareg being the latest.

Called the Touareg R, it combines a 335bhp three-litre petrol engine and 134bhp electric motor to become Volkswagen’s most powerful model.

This makes it mightier than the current flagship V8 turbodiesel version, which has a power output of 415bhp.

It is a very sophisticated affair, with the electric-only mode activated on start-up when the battery is fully charged, which then offers cruising at speeds of up to virtually 90mph.

Volkswagen is coy about the likely zero-emissions range, saying only that it should cope with the average daily commute, without offering an actual figure.

At this stage the company is not offering a likely charging time either, although being a hybrid means that there will always be petrol-powered back-up anyway.

The drive system is Volkswagen’s 4Motion set-up which means as much as 80 per cent can go to the rear wheels and up to 70 per cent to the front, according to prevailing demand.

The vehicle can tow a trailer weighing up to 3.5 tonnes, thanks to impressive pulling power of 700Nm, and is the only SUV plug-in hybrid with Trailer Assist. 

The vehicle uses Trailer Assist to manoeuvre a trailer backwards into a parking space or gateway almost automatically, and in E-MODE this process is silent.

 The exterior package includes R-style body-colour bumpers and lower door sections, air intake grilles with black louvres, black trim strips on the side windows and black exterior mirror housings.

The radiator grille gets black trim strips, a black trim strip on the lower part of the front bumper plus the R logo in the radiator grille, boot lid, front wings and doors.

There are darkened LED tail lights and 20-inch Braga alloy wheels that are black on the inside and burnished on the outside.

Inside, the R equipment package consists of decorative trim on the dash panel and door inserts in silver aluminium, the centre console trim in high gloss black and silver, Vienna leather for the seats and a new leather multifunction heated steering wheel with paddle shifts.

There are a host of additional equipment features for the R version of the Touareg, which is the only model to be offered in Volkswagen’s eye-catching Lapiz blue metallic.

Prices will be announced closer to the vehicle’s arrival here this summer.