IN ANTICIPATION of what’s to come, we often find ourselves getting ahead of ourselves. And it usually comes at a cost.
With all this talk about autonomous cars on the horizon, some companies are pushing out feature-rich models that don’t necessarily require all the bells and whistles you find in some cars. There’s no date set on self-driving cars taking over our roads in a significant way, so you wonder why some features are piled into these cars.
While you’re behind the wheel, and expected to be alert, why do you need anticipatory emergency collision braking? Sometimes it kicks in because of traffic flowing at an angle, forcing the car to brake soddenly. Fortunately, in that instance — it was an Audi — there wasn’t a car behind me.
If you are in control of the situation you would find this unwelcome assistance annoying.
Lane departure is another feature that can be overly aggressive in some cars, forcing you back from the edge if you haven’t indicated (now if this feature was meant to force drivers to indicate then it would be most welcome) only to search for the other side of the lane and send you bouncing from line to line. Is this how autonomous cars are going to behave? That’s going to require lots of barf bags in the car.
Future Ready At A Price
While car companies shout out about future ready cars, it’s a distant future that’s not in focus yet. And they don’t shout how much more these additional features add to the sticker price. Not to mention the ludicrous taxes slapped on since they come completely built up.
Car distributors and retailers have to bite the bullet and convince customers that they are investing in the future. Might be better for the customer if they could insist on leaving out the unnecessary, expensive frills and allowing the money in their wallets to enjoy a longer future..
More often than not, these new features are turned off to stop them from interfering with the driving experience. How many people switch off the engine cut off feature because it is just so annoying?
That said, the new Touareg, which comes laden with a slew of tomorrow features, presents an impressive proposition otherwise.
The sharp lines on the R-Line test driven here flow with uncluttered ease from front to back. And it’s a bit of a journey, as you traverse the almost 5 metres on show. Sitting high, it’s easy to slide in if you’re tall, but you’ll need the grab handles to haul yourself in if you’re vertically challenged.
The Touareg has installed some enhanced features to deliver a ride for all conditions.
The all-wheel steering is handy when negotiating tight corners or doing a U-turn on a narrow road, while the 4MOTION all-wheel drive system gives good trip on most surfaces.
The R-Line comes with 4-corner air suspension which adjusts the height of the car to match the terrain. It can be raised 70mm for greater ground clearance, and lowered 40mm for loading and unloading.
This is a big ride, well suited for long runs, so you’ll appreciate good music on the move. The Dynaudio system is outstanding, picking up on fine details in the music for a rich experience.
The firm seats offer a welcome cooling feature to cope with our tropical heat. Running on 21″ wheels, there’s a fair amount of pitching given the size of the Touareg. For all the efforts to keep the profile low and the wheels in the corners, it’s still hard to fight physics.
But at least you’ll be in comfort.
The Innovision Cockpit is an impressive piece of design consisting of two large screens. From key operating features and warnings, it also lets you hook your phone to remain connected.
The head-up display lets you focus on what’s ahead, providing you with speed, navigation and other relevant information to keep your eyes on the road, as they should be.
But those buttons and features are distracting….
VOLKSWAGEN TOUAREG R-LINE RATING
Engine: 6 cylinder, 24 valves, turbocharged
Max Power: 250kW@5,300 – 6,400rpm
Max Torque: 450Nm@ 1,340 – 5,300rpm
Transmission: 8-speed Automatic
VES Band: C2
0-100kmh: 5.9 seconds
Top Speed: 250kmh
Retail price: *$288,400 – $320,400 (R Line)
*Please reconfirm price with dealer.
Read more STORM car reviews HERE.