When paying half a million ringgit for a set of wheels, the bar of expectations should be set rather high.
In this regard, the Volkswagen Touareg 3.0L V6 TDI does not disappoint.
This five-seater SUV (sport utility vehicle), which was launched in Malaysia in November last year, has all the bells and whistles, plush cabin appointments as well as a variety of driving aids and safety systems that one would expect at such a premium price tag.
We liked its distinctive sleek, athletic exterior aesthetics fitted with silver anodised roof rails, twin tailpipes and 19-inch “Everest” alloy wheels.
Its spacious cabin provides more than ample elbow as well as leg room with the SUV’s 2,893mm wheelbase.
There is a lot of rear room to pack golf bags and large shopping bags.
The dashboard has a user-friendly layout in typical Volkswagen style, with a large touchscreen display for the radio and navigation system.
The black leather-upholstered interior looks nice, with well laid out control buttons and rotary switches for the powered front seats with memory functions, air-conditioning, a push-button parking brake and off-road driving mode.
Those who like more natural light in the cabin can always make use of the electric panoramic tilt/slide glass sunroof.
This Touareg TDI is built lower to the ground than the previous model, as Volkswagen engineers had aimed to improve its aerodynamics.
This also helps in providing better fuel economy, and the Touareg TDI offers a combined cycle diesel consumption of 7.2 litres per 100km.
With proper driving habits and techniques, it can be quite fuel efficient and theoretically, the Touareg TDI can achieve 1,180km with its 85-litre fuel tank.
It’s 11.9-metre turning circle makes manoeuvrability very decent and U-turns on narrow slip roads easy although the steering was a tad on the heavy side.
The eight-speed automatic transmission is a smooth shifter, and the tachometer showed the engine revving at an easy 1,400rpm and 1,700rpm at steady speeds of 90kph and 110kph respectively on highways.
The cabin is impressively quiet and refined, even when we stepped hard on the throttle.
There were hardly any wind, road and engine noise distractions within the cabin confines of the SUV.
Rolling on 265/50 R19 tyres and 4MOTION permanent all-wheel-drive, it’s handling performance was very good which enabled us to have some thrills during a fast drive on the uphill twists and turns of Genting Highlands.
With a massive amount of power and torque, its 2,153kg kerb weight was no issue in getting the vehicle up and running.
The ride quality is supple, with little body roll when we tackled tight curves.
To sum it up, this RM493,888 Touareg TDI is an exciting performer that handles well and is refined at the same time.