The SUV craze that began in the mid 90s is far from over. In fact, these vehicles are more popular now than ever, with their market share in recent months the largest they have ever been. At the peak of the so-called ‘craze’ in the early 2000s, about one in every five vehicles bought in the US was an SUV. Ironically, in a progressive era of heightened environmental awareness and escalating gas prices—although across the range, from crossovers to small and large models, SUVs are far more fuel-efficient now—that ratio has grown to one SUV in every three vehicles sold today. Even on the roads of Jakarta, it’s hard to ignore the countless Harriers and Fortuners, Captivas and CX9s queuing bumper-to-bumper in the city’s infamous traffic jams.
Even so, the market is clamoring for a wider selection of SUV variants; and the industry is actively listening to these demands. It’s not difficult, then, to fathom why the world’s leading car manufacturers – luxury and high performance manufacturers included – are queuing up to join this incredibly lucrative trend in as many forms as possible: from traditional builds like the classic Range Rover to new-wave formats, like the increasingly popular Nissan Juke.
At first sight, the Volkswagen Touareg TDI Sport appears to be a rather standard, somewhat traditional take on the SUV typology. But upon further examination, you’ll come to notice subtleties that set this model apart from and above its competition.
Keyless access allows you to open your doors without having to fish your keys out of your pocket or purse. As long as your keys are on your person the doors will automatically unlock as you grip the handle. Once inside, simply hit the start button for ignition.
Sitting behind the steering wheel, you’ll notice an array of well thought-out features to enhance your driving experience. Moonless nights on a lonesome road with street lights few and far between are no longer a safety hazard thanks to Bi-Xenon headlights. Brighter than standard halogen or regular filament bulbs, xenon light is produced through arcing electricity in a bulb filled with xenon gas. An adaptive front-lighting system (AFS) – also a standard feature – can turn up to 15 degrees, allowing you to peek around corners as you turn.
A panoramic sunroof adds a new perspective from which to enjoy scenic nature or urban cityscapes during your journey. No matter where you’re seated in your Touareg TDI Sport, you will be able bask in sunlight.
And if the passing sights don’t impress you, the comforts of an upper class interior are sure to relax your senses and provide a superior experience with an air of opulence, whether you’re a passenger or the driver. Dual-zone automatic climate controls allow for different, simultaneous temperature settings. You no longer have to listen to
back-seat passengers complain that it’s too cold; they can set their own temperatures! A multifunction steering wheel puts a plethora of controls at the tip of the thumbs: Leather surfaces and seats are a given; the seats recline like a dream and are heated to boot. And we all know the nuisance of readjusting our seats and mirrors after someone else has driven your car. It’s a nuisance no more thanks to memory seats and mirrors, which allow you to program your own presets for seat and mirror positioning—your Touareg will remember just the way you like things.
Performance and safety of course remain a priority. Even with 7,700 pounds of towing capacity, and 4MOTION all-wheel drive, this is an SUV you can drive with a clean conscience. Forget the ridiculous mileage and alarming carbon footprint commonly associated with SUVs. The TDI boasts a clean 3.6L V6 diesel engine and the world’s first supercharged hybrid powertrain, delivering a combined 380 horsepower. Safety features include a hardened steel safety cage underneath the sheet metal body of each Touareg. Electronic stability control helps compensate for over and understeering. And most impressive of the safety features: In the event of a collision the proprietary Intelligent Crash Response System (ICRS) will automatically unlock doors, turn off power to the fuel pump and activate the hazard lights.