Volkswagen Touran review
The Volkswagen Touran is a practical MPV, but it looks dated next to newer rivals
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 Mutlivan 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 the Touran is starting to look rather dated In VW’s line-up. That’s because it shares its features with the Mk7 Golf, rather than the Mk8 that’s currently on sale.
However, base S models were just that – pretty basic in terms of toys – and the slightly better equipped SE is now the most affordable trim. But moving higher up the Touran tree sees plenty of creature comforts loaded in, albeit at a cost that pushes the MPV past the £34,000 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, but none are electrified, let alone plug-in hybrid for really low running costs. So while its occasional rear seats mean it won't suit the largest families (the Multivan has that covered), for most buyers it will be more than practical enough for their everyday needs.
Car group tests
- Volkswagen Touran - best 7-seater cars
- Toyota Verso vs Volkswagen Touran
- Volkswagen Touran vs Citroen Grand C4 Picasso
- VW Touran vs Renault Scenic
Used car tests
It's difficult to believe that the original Volkswagen Touran was on sale for 12 years. The first seven seater MPV was replaced by the Mk2 in 2015, so this version of the Touran is unlikely to match its record – especially as SUVs continue to grow in popularity.
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 seven-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. Amongst its main opponents are the Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer and upmarket BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer.
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 newer, cheaper to buy and run or more spacious.
The current Touran uses the MQB platform familiar from the Mk7 Golf and a host of other VW Group models, but it’s one of the last to be updated to the brand’s latest technology, which may put some buyers off. The Touran still drives well for its size, and space has been optimised inside. All cars are front-wheel drive - there's no 4MOTION option in the UK - and while power previously came from 1.0 or 1.5 TSI petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 TDI diesels, only the larger petrol is now offered. A six-speed gearbox is fitted to most models as standard, with VW's seven-speed DSG auto offered as an option with the 1.5 TSI.
The model range comprises S, SE, SE Family, SEL and R-Line, with prices starting from around £32,500. 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 trim gets tinted windows, auto lights and wipers and adaptive cruise control, among others. Keyless entry and a powered tailgate can be added for £720, while a panoramic sunroof is an additional £1,360.
SEL adds three-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 looking at prices well over £35,000.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe Volkswagen Touran is a practical MPV, but it looks dated next to newer rivals
- 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