Refined ride: Volkswagen Tharu SEL

The Volkswagen Tharu not only looks like a gentleman's crossover, but actually behaves like one

Refined ride: Volkswagen Tharu SEL

The Volkswagen Tharu is the brand’s latest offering for the Philippine market. Released not too long ago, the crossover provides its occupants with a stylish yet refined ride.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • What powers the Volkswagen Tharu?

    The Volkswagen Tharus is powered by a 1.5-liter gasoline mill paired with a seven-speed automtatic transmission.
  • What is the price range of the Volkswagen Tharu?

    The Volkswagen Tharu is priced from P1.808 million to P1.945 million.
  • Just recently, Volkswagen Philippines staged a quick media drive allowing us to briefly experience the Tharu crossover. Here are our thoughts.

    Gentlemanly looks

    Immediately noticeable with the Volkswagen Tharu’s range-topping model — the 300 TSI DSG SEL — are the clean and straight lines that are abundant on the crossover’s exterior. As a result, it looks simple (but in a good way) and sophisticated.

    Volkswagen Tharu SEL by Juan Paulo Papa 6

    At its front is a black grille with illumination and large honeycomb patterns adorned by the brand’s emblem. To each of its sides are Matrix LED headlamps with dynamic turn signals.

    The said headlamps act both as its fog lamps and main headlight unit, dynamically changing the angle depending on the road condition and requirement. The said Matrix LED technology also incorporates functions such as auto high beam and cornering lighting.

    On that note, the front end of the Volkswagen Tharu SEL does not look too crowded and offers a minimalist appeal, sought after by most of today’s classy car buyers.

    Below the said lighting setup is a polished black lower bumper applique that houses the crossover’s front sensors and a matte gray chin that serves as its skid plate and gives the vehicle a mature masculine character.

    Its flanks feature more of the aforementioned clean straight lines, which is obvious on its beltline. The effect it has on the Volkswagen Tharu SEL is that it evokes a planted and stable look befitting the said model.

    Adding to it are the robust exterior appointments highlighting its side profile, namely its blacked-out B- and C-pillars, black side mirrors, black wheel arches, black door cladding, and black roof rails.

    Touches of elegant chrome can be found on its door handles and on the two-tone 18-inch wheels wrapped in 225/50 rubber.

    Volkswagen Tharu SEL by Juan Paulo Papa 7

    At the back, the Volkswagen Tharu SEL gets a roof-mounted spoiler with an integrated third brake lamp, LED taillamps with variable lighting function, a long light bar encompassing the entire width of the crossover with an illuminated Volkswagen logo, rear fog lamps, a black “THARU” script, reflectors at the bottom side of the vehicle, and a rear bumper that echoes the design cues of the vehicle’s chin.

    It is also worth noting that the Volkswagen Tharu SEL gets a power tailgate with the brand’s Virtual Pedal 2.0 technology, with a kick sensor that allows for easy opening and closing of the rear door.

    Posh interior

    Inside the Volkswagen Tharu SEL is a posh cabin peppered with good-quality materials. For example, the seats are covered with two-tone leather as well as the door trims and part of the vehicle’s dashboard.

    Volkswagen Tharu SEL by Juan Paulo Papa 13Volkswagen Tharu SEL by Juan Paulo Papa 14

    Likewise, the steering wheel is wrapped in a similar hide. The shift boot also gets the same leather treatment.

    Volkswagen Tharu SEL by Juan Paulo Papa 10

    The Volkswagen Tharu SEL also boasts a 10.25-inch active information display (instrument cluster) and a 12-inch gesture control touchscreen infotainment system. Impressive as well are the haptic controls on the steering wheel and on the air conditioning panel, although operating them — at least for those used with tactile controls — might require some getting used to.

    Volkswagen Tharu SEL by Juan Paulo Papa 11

    The implementation of wireless charging technology, keyless entry and a push start system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a 360-degree camera, dedicated air conditioning vents for the second-row occupants, together with a panoramic sunroof, make the crossover an appealing ride for many modern Filipino families.

    Dependable power, smooth shifting

    Under the Volkswagen Tharu SEL’s bonnet is a 1.5-liter gasoline engine mated to the carmaker’s seven-speed DSG automatic transmission.

    During the short day trip, we noticed that power was evenly distributed throughout the rev range, allowing us to easily cover straightaways and slightly ascending roads. To note, various items were loaded at the back of the vehicle, which showcased the vehicle’s hauling capabilities.

    Volkswagen Tharu SEL by Juan Paulo Papa 12

    As for the transmission system, the transition between gears was smooth enough that no shift shock was perceptible.

    Braking power is also admirable, thanks to ventilated disc brakes at the front and solid disc brakes at the rear that adequately helped bring the crossover to halts in various driving situations.

    Finally, what stood out for us was its stable and comfortable ride — brought about by the vehicle’s MacPherson independent suspension at the front and four-link independent setup at the rear. That said, body roll is also kept to a minimum.

    Variants and pricing

    The Volkswagen Tharu is offered in two variants: the 300 TSI DSG SE and the 300 TSI DSG SEL. Below is the pricing for both trim levels.

    Final thoughts

    Despite the short time we’ve spent with the Volkswagen Tharu SEL, we were impressed by how well it handled and how planted it kept itself in most driving conditions. Not only does it look like a gentleman’s crossover, but it satisfactorily behaves like one.

    Volkswagen Tharu SEL by Juan Paulo Papa

    That said, we reckon it would best suit car buyers who want to upgrade their rides as the Volkswagen Tharu is seemingly poised to make a solid mark in the country’s premium “above volume” crossover segment.

    Photos from Juan Paulo Papa

    Also read:

    Volkswagen Tharu is brand’s ‘bridge to electrified future’

    Volkswagen Tharu vs. the competition

    Volkswagen Tharu enters PH market

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