Automotive Review: 2022 Volkswagen Teramont Highline R-Line

The low-key bigger brother of the Touareg SUV is ready to roll up its sleeves and do some work



By Geogre Kuruvilla

Published: Thu 15 Sep 2022, 6:37 PM

Last updated: Thu 15 Sep 2022, 6:53 PM

If you have a big family with the budget for only one vehicle, you can go one of two ways. You can either get a useful, but universally detested MPV or you could get the more popular option i.e., the 3-row SUV. Now, I know that you may be thinking that there is a dearth of 7- and 8-seater SUVs out there but wait, that is not true! A little research from a while ago showed that there are as many as 40-plus such vehicles. Want American? You have the Ford Explorer. Want Japanese? You have the Nissan Pathfinder. And for today’s segment of automotive wisdom, we look at something German, the 2022 Volkswagen Teramont Highline R-Line.

Design & aesthetics

The Teramont continues VW’s trend of naming vehicles after the letter ‘T’ like the Touareg, T-Roc and Tiguan. If you have a penchant for etymology, you may know that the name is the portmanteau of the Latin words ‘Tera’ (or more correctly, ‘Terra’), which means ‘land’ and ‘mont’, which means mountain. And yes, it is exactly what the name describes, a large (moving) mass.

The first generation was a tired-looking beast, even at the time of its reveal. It was a vehicle that VW seemingly dressed down to look inferior to the simplistic Touareg. But with the newly facelifted version, they’ve done some real magic and that too with minimal input. They have maintained the bold rectangular proportions, the angular styling cues and pronounced wheel arches with plastic trims, while injecting a fair amount of style by playing around with the luminaires — now all LED, the grille, and the fenders.

Our test car being the R-Line variant came with exterior black matte inserts and beautiful giant 21-inch wheels. But I do admit anything smaller than 20-inch rims cheapen the overall look. And the faux exhaust tips, though hard to notice, aren’t anyone’s favourite, including mine. But what you need to know is that the overall result is something that makes you want to go ‘hmmmm…’, in a good way, no doubt!

Thankfully, they haven’t altered the interior much. It has a straightforward Germanic aesthetic: just straight lines, no overly imaginative curvatures, or gimmicky elements that designers often insert when they know not what to do. Some may find a certain degree of austerity in it, but everyone will appreciate the roominess — enough to pretend swim — and the very airy feeling rendered, thanks to the large windows and panoramic sunroof. And soft plastics at key touch points also give it a quality feel. The Highline’s Vienna leather-upholstered seats are both supple and supportive for the long drives, and the 10-way power adjustability on the driver’s side and 6-way on the passenger’s makes getting cozy easy. The third row, however, is suitable for the shorter folk or kids, but with a little adjustment of the slide-able second row, a good spatial compromise can be achieved.

All of the Teramont’s vitals are visualised on a 10-inch colour digital display, which replaces the analogue gauges of its predecessor. And its menus are customisable through the average-sized 8-inch infotainment screen, one that comes with reasonably obedient voice and gesture controls. The media system also offers wireless charging and 2 USB Type-C ports. And I’m glad they’ve retained a good mix of digital and physical buttons and knobs, especially for the volume and tuner adjustments.

Powertrain & performance

Under the hood, they’ve kept it simple and cost effective. No new tech, just the famous, old-fashioned naturally aspirated 3.6-litre V6 engine that makes a decent 280 PS of power. The 360 Nm of max. torque is multiplied by the 8-speed automatic, which distributed to all four wheels via the VW’s 4motion all-wheel drive system. On the road despite its size and weight, the Teramont responds to throttle dips with fervour, never bogging down at any point. And even with all seven passengers aboard and their respective belongings, the VR6 motor tugs along without complaint, which is important to know.

The Teramont may not be touted as a luxury vehicle, but with every kilometre you travel you question this bias. It wafts over tarmac undulations on the highway with the composure that Henry Royce and Charles Rolls would be proud of, while taking little away from its dynamics. And with light turns of the R-Line’s sporty flat-bottom steering wheel, the Teramont changes direction without throwing the chassis off balance. Also to be noted is the top quality cabin insulation which bars the chatter of the wind, tyres and other ambient noises well.

As for fuel economy, it will average around 7 km/l if you’re keeping score. With the 70-litre tank and September’s fuel rates you’d be spending about 250 dirhams on a full tank and travelling about 490 kms. If efficiency is a concern, you can always opt for the 2.0-litre TSI option, which makes 220 PS and just as much torque.

Besides the regular drive modes, such as ‘Eco’, which dampens throttle response and ‘Sport’, which sharpens it, you also get a Drive Mode Selector that you can adjust for low traction and off road terrains. But I wouldn’t venture beyond beach drives and casual trail runs. Leave the dunes of Badayer for a more capable vehicle!

Practicality & features

Even with the third row up, you get 583 litres of space behind the tailgate, that’s as much as what a large sedan offers. Dropping both second and third rows brings that number to a huge 2,471 litres, which is a space that can swallow up all the luggage you can muster. And things like the 60:40 split folding second row and tech bits like the ability to open up the boot with the sweep of the foot and a 12-Volt port make things easier.

The top spec Highline gets the 480-Watt 12-speaker Fender audio system. Yes, the famed guitar manufacturer isn’t the first name that comes to mind in discussions of car audio, but the in-car unit does belt out tunes in high-fidelity even in high volumes, be it while tuning into the radio stations or streaming music via Bluetooth. Speaking of which, with up to four driver profiles, you can not only activate the favourite individualised radio stations for each driver, but also set the mirror positions, climate controls, etc., and that really helps in a household with more than one driver.

VW isn’t renowned for the high-performance climate control units, but the days spent riding in the Teramont were acceptably cool and comfy, thanks to the decent 3-zone climate control and heated/cooled seats for the front passengers. With the focus being the family, there is also a large suite of safety features to keep you reassured, like high beam control, adaptive cruise control, 360-degree camera and blind spot detection. Again, the young mamas and papas out there will be happy to know that there are ISOFIX anchorage points for mounting up to 3 child seats on the second row.

Verdict

The joy of owning and driving a vehicle that does exactly what it is built to do is something else. With the 2022 Volkswagen Teramont, the German manufacturer has brought subtle but tasteful revisions to this 7-seater family SUV. This, in combination with the smooth operator of a V6 powertrain and a quiet, roomy interior, makes it a tough one to beat. And with a reasonable price tag that ranges between Dh150,000 and Dh200,000, VW makes the Teramont almost seem like an investment in this market.

wknd@khaleejtimes.com


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