Volkswagen Touran 1.6 FSI SE

Here's another people carrier that aims to save you money on fuel. Buy any Volkswagen and you are usually better off going for the costlier TDI models. But if you don't cover many miles a year, the price premium over a petrol version could negate the benefit of reduced fuel bills. And that's where the direct-injection petrol unit comes in.

The FSI isn't good enough to be recommended over diesel siblings, but it makes some financial sense if you don't have to worry about company car tax.

Here's another people carrier that aims to save you money on fuel. Buy any Volkswagen and you are usually better off going for the costlier TDI models. But if you don't cover many miles a year, the price premium over a petrol version could negate the benefit of reduced fuel bills. And that's where the direct-injection petrol unit comes in.

As long as you don't expect tyre-shredding performance, the efficient FSI engine does remarkably well. Refinement is one of its strongest points, despite being rough and clattery in the Audi A2. On the open road, the unit is quiet at cruising speeds and seems perfectly adequate. However, it doesn't have the same mid-range power as a diesel and the car has to be pushed hard in each ratio to get the most out of the engine. Load the seven-seater with five or more passengers and you need to keep stirring the gears to stop the unit sounding strained. Pressing on hurts fuel returns, too, and while CO2 emissions are better than the non-FSI 1.6 variant, they land the people carrier with a hefty 20 per cent company car tax rating.

Priced £17,525 in SE spec, the Touran FSI undercuts the identically trimmed 1.9-litre TDI by £200 and the more refined 2.0-litre TDI Sport by a whopping £2,935. Couple that with one of the most practical cabins around, and the direct-injection variant looks like a sensible choice for the private buyer, even if it isn't the best model in the Touran range.

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