Volkswagen Touran review
Subtle improvements across the board make the new Volkswagen Touran more impressive than ever
The Volkswagen Touran is never going to be a desirable car, but while it fails to appeal to the heart, customers who buy with their heads will be impressed with the car's sheer functionality. It sits underneath the larger Sharan in Volkswagen's range, and while it misses out on that car's sliding doors, it matches up pretty well for size and space.
Crucially, for a relatively small car, it's a genuine seven-seater, and the whole interior has been designed to work better than it did on the previous car. That also means increased safety and more gadgets to play with.
However, base S models are just that – pretty basic in terms of toys. But moving higher up the Touran tree sees plenty of creature comforts loaded in, albeit at a cost that pushes the MPV past the £30,000 barrier.
With a typically intelligent selection of Volkswagen’s excellent turbocharged engines, smooth gearboxes and a comfortable ride, the Touran feels like the classy upmarket sort of product you’d expect from the German company. So while its occasional rear seats mean it won't suit the largest families (the Sharan has that covered), for most buyers it will be more than practical enough for their everyday needs.
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It's difficult to believe that the original Volkswagen Touran was for sale for 12 years. The first 7 seater MPV was replaced by the Mk2 in 2015, so in theory that car has barely started its run on the price lists. However, with the rise of SUVs with 7 seats stealing sales from MPVs, it's likely that this version of the Touran won't be around for as long.
But if you want a car that offers space and aren't bothered about following the herd and going for an SUV, the Touran still has a lot going for it. The seven-seat interior is more spacious than you'll find in any 7-seat SUV, and there will be more storage space, too.
Due to the decline in popularity of MPVs, the Touran has a mix of rivals that it goes up against. One of its main opponents is the Ford Grand C-MAX, but that model is on the way out, leaving the Touran to compete with the Kia Carens and Toyota Prius+ in terms of size. However, the VW's price means it lines up alongside larger MPVs such as the Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer and Renault Grand Scenic.
But that's not all. In terms of maximum space, the latest Citroen Berlingo, Peugeot Rifter and Vauxhall Combo Life van-based MPVs are a big step forward in terms of quality and are offered with seven seats. And then there are the SUVs. Cars like the Skoda Kodiaq, Peugeot 5008, Hyundai Santa Fe and SEAT Tarraco offer flexible seating in a more desirable body. Whichever way you slice it, the VW Touran is going to struggle against this variety of models that are either more desirable, cheaper to buy and run or more spacious.
The current Touran uses the MQB platform familiar from the Golf and a host of other VW Group models. That means the Touran drives well for its size, and also means space has been optimised inside. All cars are front-wheel drive - there's no 4MOTION option in the UK - and power comes from 1.0 & 1.5 TSI petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 TDI diesels. A six-speed gearbox is fitted to most models as standard, with VW's seven-speed DSG auto offered as an option with all engines bar the 1.0 TSI.
The model range comprises S, SE, SE Family, SEL and R-Line, with prices starting from around £24,500. Standard kit on all cars includes a touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto available, Bluetooth and DAB radio, individual rear seats and plenty of storage.
SE is around £1,700 more than S and adds tinted windows, auto lights and wipers and adaptive cruise control, among others. The Family pack adds panoramic glass, rear sun blinds an 8-inch sat-nav and voice amplification so the driver can be heard in the back.
SEL adds 3-zone climate control, ambient lighting, microfibre seat trim, while R-Line features a sportier look with 18-inch wheels and sporty trim inside. However, get this high in the range and you're look at prices well over £30,000.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingSubtle improvements across the board make the new Volkswagen Touran more impressive than ever
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe usual array of smooth and efficient turbocharged engines power the Touran, which is a comfortable cruiser
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsFrugal engines, low road tax requirements and predictably strong residuals offset the Touran’s higher purchase price and modest equipment levels
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe Touran gets the modern Volkswagen family look outside and a comfier, smarter cabin within – plus sat-nav on top models
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceIt’s spacious and well thought-out inside, but the Touran has some useful equipment omitted from the standard spec sheets
- 6Reliability and SafetyTop Euro NCAP marks and added safety kit bolster the Touran’s appeal, but Driver Power results need to improve