New Volkswagen Touareg Debuts

But it's not coming to the U.S.

The U.S. market largely ignored the Volkswagen Touareg at the end of its run, and now we may be feeling some regret. That's because the new version looks pretty fancy, maybe even luxurious.

VW is presenting the third-generation SUV in China, one of the largest markets for the Touareg along with Europe and Russia. Unfortunately, it won't be sold in the U.S. The third-generation model is wider and longer than its predecessor, and it also boasts more cargo space. Despite the larger proportions, it is 234 pounds lighter thanks to the use of aluminum and advanced steels in the bodywork.

Inside the cabin, you'll find new tech goodies including a digital instrument cluster with 12-inch display, about as big as Audi's "virtual cockpit." To the right, there is a top Discover Premium infotainment system that utilizes a 15-inch screen. The Touareg also features ambient lighting and available white leather seats done up in a nice diamond pattern. A head-up display shows key information on the windshield near the driver.

The Touareg receives a semi-autonomous system that helps with lane keeping, accelerating, and braking up to around 37 mph. Other features include LED matrix headlights, night vision assistance, active all-wheel steering for improved handling, and front cross traffic assist, which reacts to cross traffic in front of the Touareg.

Europe will initially receive two diesel engines, and a number of markets will also get a V-6 gas engine. In China, a plug-in hybrid model boasting 362 hp is on the way, although plans for this engine in Europe are still unclear.

Last July, Volkswagen announced its decision to drop the Touareg for the U.S. market. Discontinued for the 2018 model year, the U.S. Touareg had a good run in the U.S. lasting 14 model years. When it launched, we liked the SUV for mixing carlike qualities, such as a smooth ride and responsive handling, with legitimate four-wheel-drive off-road capability. But eventually it was hard to ignore the model's high price tag and its awkward positioning between mainstream and luxury SUVs.

Volkswagen will debut a concept for a five-seater version of the Atlas SUV at the New York auto show. Expect this model to come to the U.S. to help fill the gap left by the outgoing Touareg.

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