The Volkswagen Touareg was a joint venture project developed by three German automakers—Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche. When it was launched, the SUV didn’t only come with its stylish appearance, but it also boasted innovative features.
First generation: 2002 to 2006
The first-generation Volkswagen Touareg was launched with a standard four-wheel drive system. This automatic vehicle came with progressively locking center differential as well as a manual override. It also has a “low-range” setting that can be activated with in-cabin control. To make the Touareg more capable off-road, the company also included options to be installed in the SUV. These included an air suspension system that can raise the car’s ride height on command. There was also the choice of installing an interior switch that allowed the rear differential to be manually locked.
As for the engine, Volkswagen installed the V10 TDI in the US models. However, due to emissions regulations, it was temporarily forced off the market beginning 2004 and was completely cancelled by the end of 2006. Since 2007, the V10 TDI had been replaced by the V6 TDI engine, which met the CARB minimum emission requirements.
First generation: The 2007 facelift
At the 2006 Paris Motor Show, the Volkswagen Touareg’s first facelift was launched as a 2007 model in Europe. The same facelift was unveiled at the 2007 New York Auto Show as a 2008 model in the US. The redesigned SUV featured the shield grille similar to other vehicles in the Volkswagen Passenger Cars lineup. Aside from the 2,300 redesigned parts, the updated Touareg also showed off some new technology, including:
- ABS Plus, which worked in conjunction with the traction control system and shortened the braking distance by up to 25% on loose surfaces;
- Front Scan, which was an adaptive cruise control system that can slow or even stop the car depending on traffic conditions; and,
- Side Scan, which was a blind-spot warning system that used radar at the rear of the vehicle to sense another car’s presence, and caused LEDs built into the wing mirrors to flash as a warning.
Second Generation: 2010 onwards
The second generation Volkswagen Touareg was revealed on February 2010 in Munich, Germany, and then at the 2010 Beijing International Auto Show. The most notable innovation in the new SUV was the world’s first “glare-free high beam” headlight technology, which the automaker dubbed as “Dynamic Light Assist.” Unlike an adaptive high-beam system, this new technology continually and gradually adjusted not only the high-beam’s range, but also its pattern. The aim of the continuous pattern change was to avoid drivers going the opposite way from being blinded by the light, while keeping the surrounding area illuminated at high-beam intensity.
With more years ahead of the Touareg, this off-road vehicle is bound to bring in more innovations that the automotive world will surely admire.