Testing on public roads before its official unveiling in 2017

About six years old as of 2017, the second-generation Volkswagen Touareg is being prepared for the history books as the German company is testing a redesigned model. Spotted on the road on many occasions in the first half of 2016, the third-generation Touareg was once again caught in traffic by our paparazzi.

Likely to arrive sometime in 2017 and go on sale in U.S. dealerships for the 2018 model year, the third-gen Touareg will get a serious makeover inside and out. A refreshed engine lineup is also on the table, with both gasoline and diesel powerplants set to receive updates. The big news is obviously the new MLB platform, which will make the SUV lighter than its predecessor and allow for better interior packaging and more luggage space.

Hidden under heavy camouflage, the SUV has very few details to share with us at this point, but we know just enough for a speculative review on what it may bring to the table. Find out more about it below and stay tuned for updates.

Updated 03/23/2018: We know you’ve come here to learn all about the new, third-gen Touareg, so we’re busy updating this review as you read this. Until we’re done, we’ve added a special section below with a new gallery of images and a link back to our featured news on the new Touareg.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Volkswagen Touareg.

2019 Volkswagen Touareg Gallery

We’re working on updating this review as fast as we can, but if you’re impatient (and why shoudn’t you be, right?) you can learn all we know so far in ourfeatured news on the new Toaureg while you wait!

Spy Shots

February 16, 2017 - Volkswagen Toaureg caught testing in the snow

2018 Volkswagen Touareg
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2018 Volkswagen Touareg
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2018 Volkswagen Touareg
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August 18, 2016 - 2018 Volkswagen Touareg caught in traffic

2018 Volkswagen Touareg Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Volkswagen Touareg Exterior Spyshots
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2018 Volkswagen Touareg Exterior Spyshots
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Exterior

Although the doors, the side skirts, and the roof are camo-free, both the front and rear fascias are covered by thick wrap. Unfortunately, that’s were the most important details are, which leaves us with the usual "let’s play the guessing game" option.

Most likely, the new SUV will draw many of its cues from the T-Prime Concept shown at the 2016 Beijing Motor Show.

The first thing we can be sure of is the fact that the Touareg will keep its current proportions. Most vehicles usually grow in size when they move into a new generation, but changes should be kept to a minimum here. The reason for that is the Germans are already working on a larger, seven-seat SUV, and previous spy shots suggest the new hauler is not a lot bigger than the Touareg. Making these two SUVs too similar in terms of size and shape wouldn’t make sense, so it’s safe to assume that the next-gen Touareg will stick to being some 4.8 meters (189 inches) long and 1.9 meters (75 inches) wide.

As far as styling goes, we can’t spot anything behind the thick camo, but most likely the new SUV will draw many of its cues from the T-Prime Concept shown at the 2016 Beijing Motor Show. Look for a larger-than-ever front grille flanked by thin headlamps, C-shaped LED daytime running lights, and a sporty bumper design. The rear will also feature slender taillights mounted high on the fascia, a big recess on the lower section of the tailgate, and plenty of chrome on the rear bumper and plate. The side panels will remain familiar, but Volkswagen will probably use beefier wheel arches and a more pronounced beltline.

Interior

Inside, the next-gen Touareg should also borrow heavily from the T-Prime Concept. Look for a similar massive touchscreen mounted in the center of the dashboard. Granted, maybe it won’t be as big as the concept’s 15-inch unit, but it will be close. The dashboard, instrument cluster, and door panels will also get a more modern, high-tech appearance with the state-of-the-art technology.

The new MLB platform with also help with the packaging. Despite the lower roof, headroom will increase thanks to the slightly lower seating position. Legroom and shoulder room will also be enhanced, especially in the rear compartment. Also expect the new Touareg to feature more storage room inside the cabin, as well as a slightly larger trunk area.

Drivetrain

2018 Volkswagen Touareg Exterior Spyshots
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As usual, the Touareg will get a range of gasoline and diesel engines in most markets. In the U.S., it will go on sale with a new 3.0-liter V-6, as well as a hybrid model pairing the same powerplant with an electric motor. In Europe, there will also be a 3.0-liter V-6 turbodiesel. The new generation will probably also get its first 2.0-liter four-cylinder powerplants. These will be offered mainly in China and Europe, but one version could cross the pond to the U.S.

Output figures are unknown as of this writing, but expect the V-6 units to churn more power than the outgoing engines. The 3.0-liter TSI will crank out in excess of 300 horsepower, while the hybrid could deliver at least 400 horses combined. On the diesel front, the least powerful model should come with at least 220 horsepower and 350 pound-feet of torque on tap.

Prices

2018 Volkswagen Touareg Exterior Spyshots
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The new platform, redesigned body, new tech, and revised engines will also reflect in the SUV’s sticker, which will increase slightly in all markets. In the U.S., the new Touareg will probably retail from around $51,000, up from the current starting price of $49,705. In Germany, the sticker is likely to increase from the current €53,700 to around €55,000.

Competition

Acura MDX

2017 - 2018 Acura MDX
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Although it is based on the same architecture that underpins the Porsche Cayenne and the Audi Q7, the Touareg, doesn’t quite offer the luxury you get in its German siblings. Sure, the next-gen model will have more premium features, but I still think it’s best that we compare it to the Acura MDX, another SUV that aspires to become a full-fledged luxury rig some day. Updated for the 2017 model year, the MDX features not only a more modern exterior, but also an updated cockpit with the company’s latest technology and a hybrid drivetrain. While the 3.5-liter V-6 engine remained unchanged at 290 horsepower and 267 pound-feet of torque, the hybrid that brings together a 3.0-liter V-6 and an electric motor cranks out 325 horses. The gas model comes with a nine-speed automatic, while the hybrid uses a seven-speed dual-clutch. Acura’s trademark all-wheel drive system is optional on the base model. Pricing for the MDX starts from $43,950, which makes it a better deal than the Touareg.

Learn more about the Acura MDX here.

Audi Q7

2017 - 2018 Audi Q7 High Resolution Exterior
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If you’re looking for a lighter, better equipped SUV with a more stylish exterior, than the new Q7 is the way to go. Overhauled for the 2016 model year, the Q7 was reshaped into a more angular vehicle that now resembles a wagon more than a full-fledged SUV. The Q7 is significantly lighter, with some trims weighing up to 716 pounds less than their predecessors, while the new interior is fresh to look at, it also offers increased legroom, headroom and cargo capacity. The new engine lineup includes two gasoline units. There’s a 2.0-liter four-cylinder rated at 252 horsepower and 272 pound-feet and a 3.0-liter V-6 generating 333 horses and 325 pound-feet. In the diesel department, a 3.0-liter V-6 can be had with either 218 horses and 369 pound-feet or 272 horses and 442 pound-feet. Finally, the Q7 e-tron, which combines a 3.0-liter V-6 diesel with an electric motor, cranks out 373 horses and 516 pound-feet of twist. The Q7 retails from $54,800.

Find out more about the Audi Q7 here.

Conclusion

2018 Volkswagen Touareg Exterior Spyshots
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The Touareg has received a lot of heat in recent years for having little cargo space, modest performance compared to its platform siblings, and somewhat poor reliability. Hopefully Volkswagen focused to change all that on top of coming up with a new design, new tech, and updated engines. Having a ton of new gadgets and more horsepower is obviously cool, but the German brand needs to get rid of its nasty image after the "Dieselgate" scandal and several complaints about the poor reliability of its products.

  • Leave it
    • * Not much is known about it
    • * Tough competition

Update History

Updated 09/05/2016: While the other day we brought you the first spy images of the next generation Touareg, now its time to watch it in action on the streets. Hit "play" for the video!

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