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2024 VW Touareg – Is Diesel the New EV?

Closeup headlight of Volkswagen Touareg

As sales of EVs plummet in Germany and the UK, diesel cars are on the rise in many countries, but will this last?

Newly facelifted Touareg delivers outstanding economy and relatively low emissions (Black Edition TDI pictured)
Newly facelifted Touareg delivers outstanding economy and relatively low emissions (Black Edition TDI pictured)

With registrations yet to be announced at the time of publication (1 March), it isn’t yet known if the trend of the last two months was repeated in February. Buyers are naturally still very much interested in electric and electrified cars but petrol-only and diesel-only ones are experiencing quite the comeback, Europe-wide.

Global EV sales slump – a temporary thing?

Away from the region’s larger markets, liquid fuel vehicles remain strong in North America, too. Until recently, China though was the big global exception. While demand for HEVs and EVs continues to be high, sales of what are known locally as New Energy Vehicles plunged by 39 per cent in January.

VW grabs number one back from collapsing BYD

BYD has just stated that its Chinese market NEV deliveries plunged by 61 per cent in February to 122,311 cars versus 311,493 in January. Build Your Dreams further reported EV sales crumpling by 39 percent year-on-year and 48 per cent compared to January.

What is the number one brand to do in not only its largest market (China) but in its home region, having spent enormous sums developing ever more EVs? Leverage those bets seems to be the logical answer, and the higher margins from ICE-powered models are handy too. Nonetheless, Volkswagen and its competitors need to be cautious that they don’t end up paying fines in relevant countries – the UK is one such and Ford is probably going to have to do so soon.

VW is the market leader in China, having wrenched that position back from BYD in January. It is also top dog in Britain, Germany and was briefly that in Italy too, where it humiliated Stellantis back in December by outselling Fiat.

Big in almost every segment

Volkswagen vies with Toyota to have the largest range of models globally. Here in the UK and across other parts of Europe, with the e-up! out of production, the B segment (Polo, Taigo, T-Cross) is where our VWs now start in size.

The European VW range continues to stretch all the way up to E, where the ID.7, ID.7, recently discontinued Arteon/Shooting Brake and one further model are present. This, the Touareg, has just been facelifted, gained revised powertrains and thanks to recent market changes, is primed for a potential big sales uptick.

Brits love an SUV no matter the size

Large SUVs continue to sell well in the UK, even though that really defies logic. Consider how many old XC90s and X5s are still running around plus of course the popularity of the Model Y.

The best selling Tesla is really more of a tall hatchback than an SUV but its runaway success proves the point – millions of British families are especially keen on medium to large crossovers and SUVs. And such vehicles can be electric, plug-in hybrid, hybrid, mild hybrid, petrol or diesel.

Almost five metres long but only five seats

The only less that ideal thing about the latest Touareg is the lack of a seven-seat layout, even as an option. This is odd considering how closely linked it is to the three-row Audi Q7. The same thing applies to the ID.7 estate, also some five metres in the length but with just five seats.

When it comes to engines, there are five choices in the British market. These are a 3.0-litre diesel with either 500 or 600 Nm of torque plus a petrol V6 and a pair of PHEVs. As with the TDIs, there are two outputs for the plug-in hybrid powertrain, the higher one being reserved for an R variant.

Four-wheel drive is standard for every Touareg and model grades are Elegance or Black Edition. I tried the second of those, which comes with darkened 21-inch wheels and other exterior trim along with air suspension and heavily tinted windows. The effect is to make this almost six-year old SUV look quite sexy and contemporary.

Only two rows of seating means a massive boot

Going without those extra seats means this car has what must surely be the biggest boot capacity in its class. What’s more, the 810-litre volume expands to a whopping 1,800 with the second row flipped. Loading is simplicity itself, the as-tested model having a button below one of the D pillars which can drop the suspension for easier loading.

The rest of the Touareg’s cabin is just as thoughtfully designed and luxuriously trimmed. There is also quite a large screen, beautifully textured plastics and masses of space for storing all your stuff. Glossy black trim elements feature on the dashboard and steering wheel along with lots of space for even the largest driver and passengers.

Even though this is a hefty vehicle, the pneumatic spring/damper units at each corner control lean very well and the ride is almost without fault. Volkswagen specifies a sports steering wheel for the Black Edition and the seats, despite their generous width, grip all outer occupants. That verb also applies to the Touareg’s big wheels and wide tyres – traction is simply not an issue. Remember, this platform is shared with a Porsche, and Audi and a Lamborghini. One of those models plus bodies for others are even built in the same Bratislava factory as the Volkswagen.

Next for VW in 2024 and 2025

The VW brand should be able to maintain its lead over all comers in the UK, at least if new models count for a lot of help with that target. Next, and coming within days or weeks will be a facelifted T-Cross as well as a fresh generation of the Tiguan. These two come hot on the heels of updates for the ID.4 and ID.5.

Later in 2024 dealers will see the Golf facelift including the GTI, to be followed by a GTI Clubsport, an R, an R estate and the 4Motion 2.0 TSI. We recently saw the first official images of the ID.7 Tourer, with this successor for the Arteon Shooting Brake due in showrooms from July.

Volkswagen Nutzfahrzeuge will show us the next T7 Transporter this spring. Part of a JV with Ford of Europe, it can be thought of the equivalent to the Transit/Tourneo Custom. As well as the PHEV and diesel powertrains, there will be a counterpart to the E-Transit Custom, along with a new Caravelle.

Commercial Vehicles division should also show us the next California. The camper, which will be based on the Volkswagen Group’s own MQB Evo platform, might reach the UK by year-end but could instead arrive in 2025. Well before then, a facelifted Crafter will be on LCV dealers’ forecourts. All engines for this big van will be versions of a 2.0-litre diesel, available with various power and torque numbers.

One vehicle which would really be a boon for all European markets is the next T-Roc. Volkswagen stated at the CES in January that this replacement for its big-selling C segment SUV is coming in 2025. This, or the Tiguan Allspace-replacing Tayron (also out next year) could even be the final new model for Europe to have IC engines at launch. The recent surge in sales of petrol and diesel passenger vehicles and LCVs might see such plans changing however, if indeed this had been the thinking.

There is no stopping the roll-out of ever more electric Volkswagens, even if the launch cadence of certain models is potentially delayed. The big, high-priced Touareg is therefore an especially welcome weapon in the armoury, contributing way more to the company’s bottom line than any EV. You can easily see the appeal of its long-lasting and economical TDI engines to what could well turn out to be a far greater number of buyers in 2024. Not even VW itself might have expected that only a few months ago.

The as-tested Volkswagen Touareg 3.0 V6 TDI Black Edition is priced from GBP70,660 OTR. Its longitudinally-mounted 2,967 cc diesel engine produces a claimed 210 kW (286 PS) and 600 Nm. Drive to both axles is via an eight-speed transmission. Zero to 62 mph takes a stated 6.4 seconds, top speed is 147 mph and the C02 average is 215 g/km (WLTP). Unladen mass is 2,118 kg and braked towable weight is 3.5 tonnes.

Source from Just Auto

Disclaimer: The information set forth above is provided by just-auto.com independently of Alibaba.com. Alibaba.com makes no representation and warranties as to the quality and reliability of the seller and products.

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