When a car or SUV is launched in Europe or the UK with no immediate mention of it coming to the U.S., there’s always a chance that it won’t. Such is the case with the 2018 Touareg, Volkswagen’s five-passenger luxury SUV.
VW recently announced the new Touareg will be the brand’s most advanced SUV yet, but there was no mention of it being US-bound, just that “the largest markets for what is now the third generation of the Touareg are China, Europe and Russia.” With that said, VW SUVs historically haven’t sold that well on Ameican soil (some think it’s due to their awkward-to-pronounce names), aside from the all-new three-row Atlas SUV, which has been a home run. However, the recent news that there will be a five-passenger version of the Atlas built in VW’s Chattanooga, Tennesee plant suggests not only will we get the new Touareg (as a baby Atlas) but the US might even get it at a discount, down from $50,000, because there won’t be any international shipping involved.
If the new Touareg (or whatever it is named when it comes to the US) is built to the same standard as the one recently unveiled for Europe, it’s primed to be more tech-forward than the current Audi Q7 it’s based on. The U.S will likely get the 336 hp 3.0-liter turbo at the very least — that engine will send power to all four wheels through an eight-speed transmission. For the first time, a VW SUV will also utilize rear-wheel steering to make high-speed lane changes more stable and improve maneuverability at parking-lot speeds. Another first will be an air-suspension setup, lifting the SUV’s ride height nearly three inches. And you’ll need that if you spec the off-road pack which adds extra driving modes, a larger-capacity fuel tank and underside skid plates.
The cabin is where you’ll notice the biggest change with the addition of VW’s new Innovision Cockpit system. A 15-inch center-mounted touchscreen now compliments the 12-inch dash screen, combining to make a completely digital, nearly buttonless driver interface compatible with Android Auto, Apple Car play and will act as a wifi hotspot.
Again, VW hasn’t made the call yet, but with its push to become an SUV-only brand, with U.S being one of the largest SUV markets in the world, it’s a safe bet. Volkswagen has announced it’ll be building a similarly sized SUV within our borders. Whether that will be Europe’s Touareg but with an easier-to-pronounce name, we’ll have to wait and see.
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