TUDELA, Spain -- Volkswagen has given its latest Touareg a more car-like ride while reducing emphasis on its off-road capabilities to boost its appeal to the increasing numbers of mainstream customers buying SUVs.
The third-generation Touareg will be equipped with options previously only found in high-end premium models such as active roll prevention, a fully digital dashboard and a night-vision assistant.
VW is also reintroducing a gasoline engine option in Europe as customers abandon diesels after Volkswagen's diesel-rigging scandal and amid talk of banning diesels from cities.
The Touareg should give owners the sensation of being behind the wheel of a "high-riding sedan," VW engineers said at a press event here to introduce the model.
The SUV moves to VW Group's MLB Evo platform, also used for its Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne premium siblings. "We are utilizing the full range of features that the architecture allows,” said Jochen Bruening, head of the Touareg model line.
VW added rear-axle steering to make the Touareg more responsive and agile, especially in tight spaces where low-speed maneuvering is required. This gives the full-size SUV the same turning radius as the much smaller Golf hatchback. Optional air suspension bolsters ride comfort and adapts the vehicle’s ride height to highway or offroad conditions.
The Touareg is being positioned further upmarket as it takes on the role of VW brand's flagship after the slow-selling Phaeton sedan was axed two years ago.