Volkswagen Touran review

Our Rating: 
3
3.0/5.0
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

The stylish VW Touran gets a spacious and flexible cabin, a comfortable ride and a great range of engines

For: 
Seven-seat option, strong engines, comfortable ride
Against: 
Tiny boot with seven seats in place, dull styling

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The Volkswagen Touran is one of the most adaptable MPVs on the market, thanks to its practical dimensions, a wide choice of engines and well-built interior. It's essentially a smaller, seven-seat version of the Sharan, but its lighter weight and smaller proportions mean it edges its older brother on style and efficiency. All engines use Volkswagen's fuel-saving BlueMotion technology to reduce costs, with the most efficient engine, the 1.6 TDI S, returning 55.0mpg and emitting 134g/km of CO2. For the most part, the Volkswagen Touran is refined even at motorway speeds. The exception to this, is the entry-level 1.2 TSI S, which can get a little rowdy as the revs get higher. Fine body control helps prevent passengers feeling queasy in the back, while easy and fluent handling makes for a great ride. The Touran comes in three specifications - entry-level S, mid-range SE and lastly, top-spec Sport. Basic S model does without an alarm, but head and side airbags, as well as curtain airbags, are standard across the range.

Our choice: Touran 1.6 TDI (105) S

Styling

2.5

The Touran is characterised with Volkswagen's trademark three-bar chrome grille and angular headlights. Unlike the larger Sharan, which has sliding doors, the Touran has conventional hinged doors. Even the cheapest S model gets alloy wheels, but the top-spec sport version get a chrome trim, tinted rear windows and even larger alloys. There’s no doubting the Touran’s roots, because it looks just like an MPV with Golf styling cues. Unfortunately, although it has tight shutlines and a good finish, it’s dull to look at – especially if you go for one of the uninspiring metallic colours. Climb inside and you’re greeted by a Golf-style layout. While it’s well built and the switchgear works with precision, it’s no better than the Citroen’s and doesn’t have its rivals’ design flair.

Driving

3.2

The Volkswagen Touran comes with a choice of five different engines. The entry-level S model is available with a 103bhp 1.2-litre TSI petrol or a 1.6-litre TDI BlueMotion Technology diesel that offers the same power, but shaves over 20g/km of CO2 to give an overall emissions figure of just 121g/km, combined with an average of 61.4mpg. The latter is available in SE-spec, as is a 138bhp 1.4-litre TSI petrol and a 2.0-litre TDI BlueMotion diesel with the same power output. The top-spec Sport model also gets the 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine, but comes with a more powerful 175bhp version, too, capable of going from 0-62mph in just 8.8 seconds. The 2.0-litre engines provide strong, smooth acceleration while the 1.2 puts up a good fight and never feels underpowered. With a firm ride, the VW isn’t as comfortable as a Citroen C4 Picasso, although motorway refinement is on a par with a Renault Scenic. In corners, there’s enough grip and body roll is well controlled, but you’d struggle to call it exciting. It feels heavy and inert compared to rivals. The Touran's upright dimensions mean that some wind noise is generated, but overall, it's a refined cruiser in the MPV class.

Reliability

3.3

The Touran uses tried-and-tested Golf running gear, and has been on sale long enough to have most of its teething troubles ironed out. Likewise, the engine range is used across the VW Group, and much of the switchgear can be found in other VW models. Our Driver Power survey reveals that owners admire the Touran’s practicality but little else, as it came 99th in our rundown – well behind rivals such as the Renault Scenic. Dealers could also do better: they finished 25th for the second year running, with customers criticising their high prices and unhelpful staff.

Practicality

4.4

The Touran is available with either five or seven seats, but with the latter, boot space is limited to 121 litres. Fold the rear seats down, however, and this increases to 700 litres. If the limited boot space is a problem, then the five-seat version would be the better option. With the second row of seats folded, the Touran expands to offer 1,913 litres of boot space - far more than the Vauxhall Zafira Tourer. The seating arrangement is flexible, too; the rear bench can be transformed into two outer seats with a table in the middle. There are 39 storage areas in the front, which includes a sunglasses holder, under-seat storage boxes and a generous glove compartment.

Running Costs

3.6

The most efficient engine in the range is the 1.6 diesel with BlueMotion Technology, which emits just 121g/km of CO2 and returns fuel economy of 61.4mpg - this also means it's free from road tax for the first year. The 1.2 TSI, 1.6 TDI and 2.0 TDI are also available with BlueMotion Technology tweaks, while stop-start and brake energy recovery means these engines achieve 44.0mpg, 55.0mpg and 53.0mpg respectively. The most expensive engine to tax is the 1.4-litre petrol, which lands in band G and will cost £175 per year. Volkswagen Touran insurance groups range from 11 to 21, and as well as a three-year/60,000 mile warranty, Volkswagen offers a three-year/30,000 mile fixed price service plan.

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I have loved the practicality and efficiency of my Touran but would never have one again. I cannot express in words how hopeless it is in winter weather. It does not cope at all with the slightest bit of ice and if it snows, forget it!

I found the 1.6 blue motion touran a great family car, we had it 3 years on lease. We took it to s.w. France and with the 6 speed box and cruise control it was effortless to drive. Even at 85 we got nearly 50mpg and I didn't get fatigued at the wheel.

Last updated: 24 Sep, 2013
Issue 1346
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