The Auto Trader expert verdict: ★★★★★ ★★★★★ 3.7
The Touran is a pleasant to drive MPV, which can accommodate seven, but with no room for luggage if all seats are used. Its smaller engines are surprisingly good.
Reasons to buy
- Seven seats
- Good to drive
- Excellent engine range
At a glance
- How good does it look? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- What's the interior like? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How practical is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- What's it like to drive? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How powerful is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How much will it cost me? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How reliable is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How safe is it? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- How much equipment do I get? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
- Why buy? ★★★★★ ★★★★★
How good does it look?
The jury is out on whether this is an all-new Volkswagen Touran – as Volkswagen claims – or an extensive facelift on the existing model. From the outside it is slightly different, thanks to the new family face – made up of horizontal grille bars, a more angular bumper and large lower air intake – but it’s very conventional elsewhere. It’s a more traditional shape than the Ford S-Max and most of the French MPV’s from Citroen and Renault.
What's the interior like?
The Touran now gets smart black dials with white graphics and red needles, although its stereo is still illuminated blue, which seems inconsistent. Everything is typically Volkswagen, that is to say, high quality and easy to use. More so than some other models, however, the Touran does feel very sensible inside and a little lacking in character.
How practical is it?
The Touran has seven-seats as standard, which will be an immediate selling point for some. It’s important to note, however, that using all seven seats reduces the boot space to a measly 121 litres – less than a Toyota AYGO – so if each person has some luggage, a roof box or even a small trailer becomes essential. The rear seats fold flat into boot floor, freeing up an impressive 695-litres of space, while folding down all but the front two seats gives 1,913 litres – enough for moving furniture. Some rivals like the Mazda5 have sliding rear doors, while the Touran’s are conventional. We didn’t find this to be a problem, and the rear doors are very long, giving good access to the rear.
What's it like to drive?
It might be no sports car, but the Touran does its job just as needed. Bumps are soaked up well, the gear change is quick and precise and corners are taken with minimum fuss, making it ideal for carrying passengers in comfort. The raised driving position gives an excellent view of the road ahead. Adaptive chassis control is available as an option on SE and Sport trim levels, giving the driver the choice between ‘Comfort’, ‘Normal’ and ‘Sport’ suspension settings.
How powerful is it?
The Touran we drove was fitted with the 1.2-litre TSI petrol engine, which comprehensively silenced any doubts we had about such a small engine powering a seven-seat MPV. With 105bhp and amazing flexibility it not only pulls the Touran along, but it does so sweetly and without sign of strain. We only once had to change down from sixth gear to fifth on a very steep motorway incline. There’s also a 1.4-litre TSI with 138bhp and a 1.6-litre TDI with 89bhp, or a 2-litre TDI with 138 or 168bhp – the last of which can hit an impressive 132mph. It’s an impressive engine range which has something to suit everyone.
How much will it cost me?
Both the 1.2-litre TSI and 1.6-litre TDI are available with BlueMotion Technology, improving their eco credentials to 47.9 and 61.4 average mpg while emitting 139 and 121g/km of CO2 respectively. They are fitted with stop and start technology, and qualify for low tax bands. Even the highest-emitting 168bhp diesel only chucks out 151g/km of the bad stuff, while averaging 49.6mpg.
How reliable is it?
There have been three minor recalls affecting some build dates of the previous Touran, with one for a potentially faulty fuel pump bolt and another for possible lack of drive in models fitted with Volkswagen’s DSG automatic gearbox. The Touran is a well-built vehicle which should prove reliable.
How safe is it?
The previous Touran achieved the full five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating, so we’d expect the same result from the latest model. It features front, side and curtain airbags, Isofix child seat mounting points and three-point seatbelts and head restraints for all seven seats. Anti-lock braking and electronic stability programme are also standard.
How much equipment do I get?
There are three trim levels called S, Sport and SE to suit different customers. Choose S and there’s a trip computer, stop and start technology, 15-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, four-speaker Radio/CD player, air-con, front and rear electronic windows and a 12v socket in the boot. SE adds auto rain and light sensors, parking sensors, iPod connection and tinted rear windows. Sport adds a 12v socket for the middle row of seats, dual-zone air-con, eight-speaker radio/CD, Highline trip computer, upgraded front seats, 16-inch alloy wheels, chrome roof rails, and tinted rear windows.
The Touran is a practical seven-seater which has real integrity and is available with some of the best engines in its class. Our only complaint is that it’s almost too sensible, and lacks a little character as a result.