My name is Miguel Olfindo, I am Chief Executive Officer of a company that is my passion. I am in my late 30s, have a loving wife who is Chief Finance Officer of the same company, blessed with two beautiful children, and a resident of the country's central business district of Makati.
As the father of the company I run, patience is not one of my stronger suits. I don't care about tardiness or attendance - what I care about is what gets done. Deadlines are holy in my business because time is money, as they say. I don't care if you come in in torn jeans or slippers as long as you're not scheduled to meet clients that do care. I'm not one to judge you by the way you look - sometimes the turtle outruns the hare.
I am also the eldest of several siblings, if you don't count my half-brother who lives stateside. This makes me feel responsible for my siblings, like a father to his children. Recently, I've walked my sister down the aisle, and have had to make difficult decisions like making my brother learn life the hard way - by himself.
"The Touareg is the CEO who wouldn't think twice about going under his table to check why the telephone has no dial tone. "
This is the angle I'm taking for the Volkswagen Touareg. Why? It's really simple. Like the Touareg, I don't need to be loud or flashy. I am comfortable with who I am, what I do and what I stand for. Understated might be the best term I can think of right now, but it's even more than that. I am the CEO who wouldn't think twice about going under his table to check why the telephone has no dial tone.
That's what the Touareg is. It's that SUV you've seen towing a 550 ton Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet in the tarmac. It's not your flashy Porsche Cayenne or Audi Q7 that you'd constantly wipe when mud hits the fenders. It's a proper workhorse - the guy who would be proud to say yes when asked if he would be happy having five of himself under his supervision. The Touareg is no Michael Jackson or Britney Spears that would catch everyone's attention everywhere they go. It's simple. It's low profile. It gets the job done really well.
As I mentioned earlier, I am not blessed with patience in my professional personality. I think impatience is a trait of someone born to lead. I may be wrong, but the Touareg is the same - in sport mode, restraint is not in this Volkswagen's vocabulary. Any vehicle you attempt to pass looks like they're on a standstill. The sound of this diesel power plant is quite delicious too.
It has a beautiful tune that seeps into the cabin without being disruptive. It's an expensive sound. With sportier damping and steering, you can't stop yourself from smiling as the quicker response to the throttle transports you to a sports car on stilts. I just wish it had a pair of paddles behind the wheel to go over the 8-speed transmission.
At home during the weekends, it's the total opposite - only in extreme cases do I work. The weekends are for R&R. Everything slows down to a virtual halt until the kids request for a drive in the rural towns where lakes and mountains are scenic. In cases like these, the Touareg has comfort mode where the suspension is much softer making the drive silky smooth even on cobblestones by churches.
The accelerator pedal is also less aggressive, making smooth stop/go motions in bumper-to-bumper traffic along the center of towns. I wish Volkswagen equipped this with the Passat's massage chair and some lumbar support - those two would've been perfect.
"It's a great mix of comfort and dynamic driving style."
Then there's normal mode, which I've never understood on any vehicle. On the Touareg, this is where I would leave it on a day-to-day basis. It's a great mix of comfort and dynamic driving style. It's a middle ground - a good one. One that makes sense. One that engineers took the time to masterfully measure to give the best of both worlds.
There are knobs on each side of the driving profile selection - one that toggles between on-road and off-road, and another that lets you adjust the ride height via its adaptive air suspension. Being an SUV, people expect a vehicle like the Touareg to go off the road where rocks and dirt will stop a Passat from moving forward. Thanks to the additional low-range set of gear ratios, this Touareg will gladly go through mud, sand, and steep rocky climbs.
"The adaptive air suspension is best left alone in auto."
On steep rocky climbs, the knob to the right can raise the ride height to clear up to 11.8 inches - that's 2.5 inches higher than the now defunct H2's ground clearance. The adaptive air suspension is best left alone in auto because, as the name suggests, VW engineers programmed all sorts of automation like load level, off-road level, and high speed level. I did use the knob to increase the height every time I parked the Touareg in our ridiculously steep garage, though.
Some people say that high ranking oligarchs need to project a certain air of nonchalance. They say one in such a position shouldn't tally the amount when dinner's check arrives. That isn't who I am. I have nothing more to prove beyond my work and ethics. Besides, you'll never know when a hardworking human being encodes less than you've consumed - the poor guy would have to pay out of pocket.
"Like myself, the Touareg does not project anything beyond what it is - a crossover SUV that can and will do anything. It's honest. It's dependable. It's humble. It's me."
Ex-Public Highway Racer