SUVs

2019 Volkswagen Touareg is high-tech forbidden fruit

VW's fanciest SUV will not come to the US, but China is its biggest market anyhow.

Volkswagen

The current generation of the Volkswagen Touareg is the last one we'll get here in the US. From here on out, the US must make do with the Atlas and Tiguan. But the Touareg is still big business in other markets, and the 2019 model features a whole host of big updates to cement its position as a fancy Vee-Dub worth picking up.

The Touareg looks more Audi-like than ever before, with angular headlights, sharp creases on every panel and a rear-end profile that's more than a little Q7. But it ties together with other modern VWs thanks to the integration of its headlights with the company grille. It's a bit wider and longer than before, which VW used to expand cargo capacity dramatically, but aluminum help keeps the curb weight about 220 pounds lower than before.

Bigger, more capacious and lighter. What's not to like?

Volkswagen

But the real meat and potatoes of the new Touareg is inside. Having a screen for a gauge cluster is nothing new, nor is an infotainment screen, which is why Volkswagen decided to jam the two together. The Innovision Cockpit system merges the 12-inch gauge display and the top-tier, 15-inch infotainment screen. It's pretty impressive from a visual standpoint, and it further reduces the physical-button clutter around the infotainment screen. There's a head-up display, too, in case that isn't enough screen for you.

VW claims that the Touareg packs the biggest collection of driver-assist systems of any car it sells, and I'd believe it. There's a night-vision camera in the mix, in addition to a lane-keep assist system that'll work in roadwork areas, a front-facing cross-traffic assist system and four-wheel steering. Optional matrix-type LED headlights can dip and reroute beams around oncoming traffic to prevent dazzling.

The 2019 Touareg will launch with two different diesel V6s, putting out 228 or 282 horsepower. A 335-hp gas V6 will follow, along with a 415-hp diesel V8. Eventually, China and Europe will get a plug-in hybrid with a net output of 362 hp, too. The new Touareg will go on sale later this year -- not that it matters to you or me.