The Touran’s generous space alone is enough to make this one of the very best mid-size SUVs. However, the car also comes with a flexible and versatile seating arrangement, and it’s also strong on quality, good fun to drive and comes with a range of perky-yet-efficient engines. Not the cheapest option, or the best equipped, but a brilliant family car nonetheless.
The Touran looks very expensive if you go by the list prices, costing thousands more than some of its rivals, but the car’s strong resale values will help to minimise your losses in the long term. Things look much rosier if you plan to buy on finance, because the monthly payment rates are far more competitive than the list prices suggest. Fuel economy and CO2 emissions aren’t at class-leading levels, but they’re still very competitive, so your running costs won’t exactly be ruinous. That also means that monthly tax bills will be a shade higher than on some rivals for company car drivers, but again, the difference won’t be big enough to be a deal-breaker.
Expert rating: 3/5
Reliability of a Volkswagen Touran
Volkswagen has carved itself a reputation for reliability over the years, but it’s not necessarily backed up by the evidence of reliability surveys. The Warranty Direct Reliability Index, for instance, rates VW in the bottom half of the manufacturer standings. The story isn’t quite so bleak in other studies we’ve seen - JD Power's Vehicle Dependability Study places VW mid-table with a score just above the industry average - but it’s not exactly dazzling, either. A three-year/60,000-mile warranty is provided, which is normal, if not overly generous.
Expert rating: 3/5
Safety for a Volkswagen Touran
Front-seat occupants are protected by front, side and curtain airbags, and there’s also another to help shield the driver’s knees in a smash. The curtain airbags also afford protection to those in the middle row of seats, but the ‘bags don’t extend to the third row. Standard safety kit also includes a variety of stability and traction aids across the range but the entry-level car misses out on autonomous city braking, all the other trims getting this important feature as standard. The fact all five rear seats have Isofix child seat mountings will be of particular interest to families, this more than most rivals.
Expert rating: 4/5
How comfortable is the Volkswagen Touran
A comfortable ride is the most important thing about how any family-focused car drives, and Volkswagen has a proven track record in this regard. It’s perhaps a bit surprising, then, that the Touran’s ride isn’t a little slicker. You can feel the effects of patched-up surfaces a little too much, and sharp bumps can give you a bit of a jolt. That said, the Touran does handle well. Body control is very well contained for a tall, high-sided car; and, with lots of grip and sharp, responsive steering, it feels commendably agile.
As with the exterior styling, you know exactly what you’re going to get with a Volkswagen cabin, and so it proves with the Touran. The interior design is just as conservative as that of the outside, but in here, that means that everything sits where you expect it to sit, and works how you expect it to work. As a result, using all the car's various functions is about as difficult as blinking. Quality is also predictably strong, with dense, posh-feeling materials and very sturdy assembly. What’s more, you get a clear view out in all directions, and there’s bags of adjustment for your driving position. Full marks.
Expert rating: 4/5
Features of the Volkswagen Touran
Practicality is the reason you choose an MPV, and the Touran absolutely nails its brief It’s among the most generous for cabin space in its class, allowing seven adults to travel in genuine comfort, and the three chairs in the middle row all slide and recline individually. The five behind the driver all fold flush into the floor, too, leaving you with a perfectly flat load area. It’s huge, too, and the boot is still pretty massive when the car is in five-seat mode. There’s even decent space for bags when you’re travelling seven-up. Folding the seats is easy and takes next-to-no strength, and there are handy touches - like cubbies and takeaway hooks - dotted around all over the cabin.
A pity the entry level model is so sparsely equipped though, especially when you consider how much it costs to buy. Four electric windows, air-conditioning and a touch-screen infotainment system including Bluetooth and a DAB radio are standard, but you have to upgrade to SE for alloys, a leather steering wheel, automatic lights and wipers and all-round parking sensors. SE Family gives you sat-nav, a panoramic roof and Adaptive cruise control, while SEL trim provides climate control. R-Line models don’t really add anything other than the styling upgrades inside and out.
Expert rating: 3/5
Power for a Volkswagen Touran
The Touran’s engine range is refreshingly simple and is based around a 2.0-litre diesel in two power outputs and a 1.5-litre petrol. The entry level 115 horsepower diesel isn’t a fast car – not by a long shot – but it does have enough muscle low in the rev range to make progress easy and relaxed. The 150 horsepower version adds a fair bit more go, and is more comfortable when you’re carrying a hefty load of people and luggage.
The petrol engine was a recent addition and makes for strong and peppy progress. A slick-shifting six-speed manual gearbox is standard on most models while the proven ‘DSG’ branded automatic gearbox is available for all and takes the effort out of driving, both in town and beyond.