We got the opportunity to test the latest T-Roc and Touareg on a complicated off-road circuit to find out if 4MOTION works off-road.
What Does 4MOTION Mean?
4MOTION is the branding given to Volkswagen’s 4 wheel drive cars. Think of it as how Audi refers to Quattro or how Mercedes refers to 4Matic.
4MOTION is designed to give you grip on the road, come rain, wind or snow, so you can still travel when the conditions get difficult. The 4MOTION system also works off-road. Find out more below:
VW 4MOTION How Does it Work?
For a simple explanation of how the 4 wheel drive system works, watch the video below. The example given here is on a Golf, but the fundamentals are the same for the SUVs. Then they layer their clever off-road systems on top, such as hill descent assist and accelerator pedal map adjustments.
Does VW 4MOTION Work Off-Road?
After spending a day testing the 2018 Volkswagen Touareg and T-Roc 4MOTION cars on a selection of obstacles off-road, I have learned first hand that the 4MOTION system on the SUVs is well suited to off-road driving.
Check out the video below and you will see the cars negotiating all kinds of terrain that would be completely unpassable in a 2 wheel drive car.
Driving Impressions of the Volkswagen T-Roc 4MOTION
The T-Roc was a big eye-opener for me. I always thought of this car as a small SUV that was more for city looks than rural get up and go. However, I was completely wrong. The T-Roc was able to hold its own on some of the most complex areas of the off-road circuit.
The ground clearance seems pretty good and able to clear a lot more than I expected.
When the terrain got difficult, the T-Roc coped really well, as you can see below. The well-manufactured chassis and cleverly designed suspension allow the car to overcome terrain that looks impossible. From the inside, it looks effortless. The car was set to off-road mode, but I was just pointing it and driving. The T-Roc was doing all the hard work and no specialist knowledge was required.
Driving Impressions of the Volkswagen Touareg 4MOTION
The Touareg is a completely different beast to the T-Roc off road. It benefits from a taller ride height, extra cameras, and more granular controls on the terrain settings for the 4MOTION system.
The Touareg is unbelievably comfortable on the road and off-road this characteristic follows through. The car seems to glide over the small hills and bumps with no problem at all. The engine and gearbox supply plenty of torque to the right wheels, keeping solid momentum whilst off-roading.
On the inside, you feel more like you are sitting in a control tower, rather than manually off-road driving. You have a large screen in the middle that includes countless metrics for you to watch over. But the camera system in the car is also incredibly capable, especially when working off-road.
As an example, when going over the brow of a hill in the Touareg from the driver’s seat looking down, you see nothing but bonnet. However, if you select the forward-facing camera, you are able to see exactly what is going on in front of you, even before it comes into your line of sight.
The 360-degree cameras are even able to 3D render the ground you are driving on and can give you a fully external view of the car and the terrain you are driving over. This is really incredible technology.
Where the Touareg really comes into its own is using its additional height. The car is able to wade through deep water easily.
The Touareg can also use its long extending suspension to overcome large holes whilst driving the car forward using only two or three wheels at times.
Being able to test this first hand, I can vouch for just how capable the car was and it was just as good as any Land Rover I have driven before. However, I have to say it was a little more comfortable too.
Volkswagen Touareg Camera Systems
I like the camera system that much I want to go into more detail about it. The Volkswagen Touareg has cameras all around the car, so that it can show you a single angle, or all together as a standard straight down view.
But the vehicle’s party trick is being able to use those same cameras to render a 3D view of the car as you can see below.
The system has been that well engineered that you can rotate it and look at the car and terrain from any angle you like, just by moving your fingers over the screen. Furthermore, you can see when you turn the wheels on the car, the wheels on the screen will follow. Also, when driving, the wheels will spin in the correct direction and at the same pace. It is a very well thought out system.
My only other thought about the system was that after all that effort, the colour of the car didn’t match. We were driving a blue model at the time of taking this picture. But maybe they stick with a light colour to contrast with the terrain. Either way, it is the most comprehensive system I have seen.
Verdict: 4MOTION is Very Capable
Overall, the first-hand demonstration of the T-Roc and Touareg with 4MOTION system was incredible. Both cars conquered the course and went way past the limits that 99% of owners would require. Despite most people not needing all the extra grip and clever hill descent systems, it is a great aid to owners knowing that they have the functionality if they ever require it. And it will certainly give them more confidence in bad weather.