The Volkswagen Touareg flagship SUV’s mid-life update has been spied once again, with minimal camouflage, ahead of its expected reveal during 2023.

Our spy photographers captured three different Touareg prototypes during cold weather testing in the snow. One appears to be a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) variant, whereas the other two seem to be regular, entry-level versions.

Just like a number of recently-spied Volkswagen prototypes, these Touaregs are covered with fake panels and tape to make them look like a current model.

This type of camouflage is most notable near the headlights, grille and tail lights. The front bumper also appears to be a little different too.

It’s not clear on these prototypes, but it’s possible Volkswagen will add a new LED light bar to the front end. This is a design feature that’s filtered down to a number of Volkswagen models, including the Polo.

We’re also expecting updates to the LED headlight and tail light signatures, and some new wheel options.

As for the rest of this mid-life update? It’s less clear what will change.

The Volkswagen Touareg range is already offered with a range of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid powertrains, but it’s possible Volkswagen will add mild-hybrid technology to the engines that are pure internal-combustion.

The related Audi Q7 already features a range of mild-hybrid engines.

On the inside the Touareg already packs a high-tech cabin. It’s likely the car will gain an updated version of its 15-inch touchscreen infotainment system and 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. Wireless CarPlay could be a likely addition too.

As previously reported, electrified Touareg R range-topper has had its local launch delayed once again.

The brand had confirmed in 2021 that its flagship plug-in hybrid – and its largest and priciest R model – was set to launch here in 2022, but it has subsequently been delayed.

“We are awaiting sufficient production slots at the moment, so it is 2023 – exact timing TBC,” said a spokesperson for Volkswagen Australia in December 2022.

“We may end up waiting for the updated version, as it would make more sense rather than await a smaller number of pre-update models.”

While the VW spokesperson says a 2023 Touareg R launch remains the plan, there is a chance this updated model may not make it to Australia until 2024.

Volkswagen has confirmed it will be the only plug-in hybrid it will launch over the next 18 months, with PHEV versions of the Golf and Tiguan not set to come here until the second half of 2024 at the earliest.

Volkswagen Australia secured more than 1000 diesel Touaregs for the second half of 2022, having “negotiated a prioritisation of Touareg volume”. It says supply of the large SUV will be strong in 2023.

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MORE: Everything Volkswagen Touareg

Jack Quick

Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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