2015 Volkswagen Touareg: Crossing the Sierra Nevada
April 18 2018, Rimar Volkswagen
They say that what makes a drive memorable is not so much the vehicle you’re driving as the route you take. Many manufacturers offer diverse programs that afford their clients unique experiences. What would you say to a ride across the Moroccan desert at the wheel of a Touareg, a thrilling experience driving a Scirocco on an exciting race track or improving your winter driving skills in a Golf R on a frozen lake in Sweden? That’s the kind of unique experience that Volkswagen offers.
Volkswagen Driving Experience
We had the chance to participate in the German manufacturer’s most recent adventure: the Volkswagen Driving Experience. For this program, you travel the roads and, more importantly, the magnificent trails of the Sierra Nevada. No, not the one in the United States, the one in southern Spain near Malaga. This experience not only helps you get to know a beautiful region, it does so in a manner inaccessible to mere mortals. Fun challenges, charming scenery and new friends are guaranteed! If you love cars and travel, this is the trip for you.
At first glance, the 2,300 euro price tag ($3,100 Canadian) seems steep, but when you factor in that the program takes place over four days and includes luxury hotel accommodations, meals, gas and the vehicle – a 2015 Volkswagen Touareg – it’s not so bad after all. Europe is never cheap. Everything, even worry-free adventure, is included.
As soon as you arrive, you’ll be met by Peter and Heike. These two guides will take care of you for the entire trip and ensure that you have timeless memories. You’ll be in good hands. We had fun making their lives difficult. It’s not easy to deal with journalists, especially with each one’s unique needs, in particular the television crews. We undoubtedly gave them a few grey hairs.
And the Volkswagen Touareg?
The Volkswagen Driving Experience is not only about adventure, it’s also about a vehicle: the 2015 Volkswagen Touareg. And hey, if travel was your primary interest, you wouldn’t be on The Car Guide’s website, would you? The Touareg are a nomadic people of the Sahara, and the eponymous vehicle is perfect for this type of adventure since a good part of the ride is off-road. Launched in 2003, the Touareg is in the luxury SUV segment and stands out due to its above average off-road capabilities. This adventure helps you discover these capabilities and push the vehicle’s limits, something few owners actually do.
While the version equipped with the 280-horsepower V6 gas engine is interesting, most buyers opt for the TDI and its relentless 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbodiesel that develops 240 horsepower and an impressive 406 lbs.-ft. of torque. The European versions that we drove were equipped with an air suspension that helps raise clearance a tad, but this system hasn’t been available in Canada for several years now. The same is true for the dial in the central console to activate the second range of low gears for extreme off-roading. Too few buyers needed these systems to justify marketing them in Canada.
Style-wise, the Touareg features classic lines that speak to the brand’s image. The manufacturer updated it ever so slightly this year, with the changes including new LED lamps and headlights for a little more of a modern touch. Fortunately, the body of our test vehicle was well protected, since the dense vegetation on some trails would have definitely left marks.
The Touareg’s passenger compartment is inspiring and luxurious. The ergonomics are irreproachable and all the controls are easily accessible and oriented toward the driver. Several storage compartments make the Touareg’s interior practical and roomy. This luxury utility vehicle can seat five passengers comfortably and offers them ample cargo space, which turned out to be very practical for this sort of adventure.
We liked the soundproofing, though the specialty off-road tires proved noisy on the road. On the other hand, we really appreciated them when crossing rivers and climbing over rocks. The Touareg is as agile on the road as it is off the beaten track. It will definitely be able to keep up with any Jeep Grand Cherokee or Land Rover without a hitch. While we’re on the subject, the Touareg offers the 4MOTION four-wheel drive system. This system is always engaged and distributes power to the wheels as needed. It really came in handy when we had to climb a 45-degree mountainside.
The eight-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and performs well. The Sport mode favours much higher revs and helps you make the most of the engine power. Thanks to the exemplary rigidity of the Touareg’s chassis, you won’t notice any vibration whatsoever, even on the most chaotic of surfaces, making it perfect for Canadian roads!
Our adventure turned out to be a unique experience combining travel, pleasure and, of course, driving!
For more information on the program: