It' been around since 2003, but a recent facelift has put the Volkswagen Touran
back at the sharp end of the compact MPV class. The fresh car saw off the Renault Grand Scenic
in its first test in Issue 1,039.
The exterior follows a no-nonsense approach, and this continues inside with an upright dash that’s easy to live with and a wide range of adjustment on the seat and steering wheel.
While the driving position is good, the layout is uninspiring and the chunky A-pillars cause fairly large blind spots. Build quality is as robust as you expect from a VW product, but cheaper plastics used on the lower parts of the door and around the gearlever let things down.
Unlike the Grand C-MAX, the Touran has conventional rear doors, while its middle row of seats slides, folds and tumbles independently. The centre seat is narrower than the outer pair, and to access the rearmost seats, you have to fold and tumble the outer middle seats by tugging on two separate fabric straps. Doing so provides wider access than in the Ford, although once in place, the VW’s more upright rear chairs aren’t as comfortable.
Legroom in the middle row is no match for the C-MAX, either, but the boxy body means decent headroom throughout the Touran, plus it’s more spacious than the Peugeot. With all seven seats in place, the boot is the biggest here, and all the middle row chairs can be removed to give a van-like load space. But it’s not possible to get the same flat load area as in rivals.
Up front, the 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine is strong, but doesn’t deliver its power as smoothly as the Ford’s TDCi.
And through corners, the Touran doesn’t have the agility, precision and chassis sparkle of the Grand C-MAX. Still, its handling is composed and capable, and the light steering provides linear responses, making the VW a solid contender here.
Chart position: 2WHY: New-look Touran has already beaten Renault’s Grand Scenic in a twin test, so it’s no walkover.