Late in 2013 we took some of SA’s most popular SUVs to Botswana for a vehicle safari through the Khwai Conservancy. We’ll be posting reviews of all the vehicles that accompanied us over the next couple of weeks. You can read our travel article about the trip here, and you can find all the other vehicle articles under the “Driving Impressions” category.
Sipping a mere 7,2-litres of diesel per 100km, Volkswagen’s V6 TDI BlueMotion Touareg is a frugal SUV. In fact, it could just about get you to Timbuktu on a single tank. Well OK, that’s an exaggeration, but it will go more than 1000km before needing a fill-up
The BlueMotion Touareg is an impressive SUV. Consider the evidence. It is a large luxury vehicle designed to provide a refined ride and yet, as shown by these pictures, it can go far off the beaten track.
As standard, the vehicle has 220mm of ground clearance. Add VW’s Terrain Tech package and clearance is increased to 230mm. Still not enough? Add the optional air suspension to your specifications list and clearance is increased to 300mm. Moreover, the vehicle has an off-road mode, which alters the ABS, ESP and electronic differential lock in order to improve performance in tough conditions.
Arguably the most impressive feature of the BlueMotion Touareg, however, is its three-litre V6 oilburner. The 2967cc engine develops 180 kW of power and 550 Nm of torque – more than enough to shunt the heavy Touareg along – but it also remains amazingly frugal while doing it. Using as little as 7,2 litres of fuel every 100km, it has an astonishing range. Thanks to a 100-litre tank, it can travel as much as 1300km without needing to visit a service station. When you’re travelling overland, that’s a terrific advantage to have.
Of course, the Touareg also boasts every accoutrement you’d expect in a luxury SUV. It has climate control, cruise control, touch-screen display, Bluetooth connectivity, leather seats and park distance control, to name but a few features.
If you’re worried about what the push for fuel economy will do to the future of large SUVs, the Touareg offers hope. It proves that SUV fans can have their cake and eat it.