VW Touran

The Sport model of the Toucan lacks the wow factor of the Picasso but is otherwise decent

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

The changes to the Touran help to keep it competitive in the compact MPV sector. It lacks the 'wow' factor of Citroen's new C4 Picasso but it does everything well, offering lots of space, a composed driving experience and low depreciation thanks to the VW badge. If you're in the market for one, avoid this costly Sport model and look further down the range.

Thanks to a fresh engine, Caterham's Seven has been given a new lease of life - but can the same be said of Volkswagen's facelifted Touran compact MPV?

The carrier is on sale now, and the line-up is boosted by a 168bhp 2.0-litre diesel and the firm's hi-tech 168bhp 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine. There's a host of other updates, too, with a restyled exterior and cabin, plus more safety kit. It's just as well - with rivals such as the Citroen C4 Picasso and revised Ford C-MAX on the way, the battle for compact MPV sales will be tougher than ever.

Boasting new lights front and rear, plus a chrome grille, the Touran looks more distinctive, but compared to the C4 Picasso, it's no head-turner. Inside, a revised centre console and dials finished in stainless steel add a touch of class, while standard side and head airbags, plus an improved ESP system, are welcome inclusions.

While it's not the most flexible compact MPV on the market, the Touran remains a fine carrier, with decent room for adults and an extra pair of rear seats that are fine for children.

So what of the high-power 2.0-litre diesel? Hooked up to VW's twin-clutch DSG gearbox, there's no doubting its punch, with 0-60mph taking nine seconds and a top speed of 131mph.

But in top-spec Sport trim, it costs £23,310. A better choice would be the 138bhp TDI with a six-speed manual in SE spec, which still comes with 16-inch alloys and air-con, yet costs £3,500 less.

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