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Volkswagen Touran

People carrier is sharpened up to fend off challenge from improved rivals

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

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With all-new rivals such as the Ford Grand C-MAX and Renault Grand Scenic on sale, VW needed to up the Touran’s game, and it’s certainly done that. Styling updates bring it into line with the rest of the family and keep it looking fresh, while the engine line-up is more efficient and as good to drive as ever. The ride and handling are also hard to fault. So as with most of the VW range, there’s little to criticise about the Touran – and that’s its only real problem. If it’s function and durable family transport you need, look no further. Just don’t expect excitement.

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It’s the MPV with premium appeal! The VW Touran has received a nip and tuck, including updated styling inside and out, and a range of new, more efficient engines. We drove the seven-seater on UK roads for the first time to see if it can topple rivals such as the Renault Grand Scenic and Ford Grand C-MAX.

Immediately recognisable is the restyled front end, pulling the Touran into line with other VW models such as the Golf, Polo and Sharan. A new bonnet, aggressive lights and a lower, wider grille give the car a purposeful look. Redesigned wing mirrors, horizontal tail lights and a sharper tailgate and bumper finish off the exterior tweaks. The overall shape is more

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modern, but it remains bland compared to its key rivals.

Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the VW Touran

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The uprated cabin doesn’t disappoint, however, thanks to revised layouts for the climate and entertainment functions, plus a new three-spoke steering wheel borrowed from the Golf. On our range-topping Sport model, all seven seats were trimmed in luxurious Alcantara and provided a host of configuration options.

The third row folds flat into the floor at the pull of a lever, improving boot space from 121 litres to 695 litres, while the three individual seats in the second row can slide back and forth independently, fold down or be removed completely to create 1,913 litres of loading space.  

Once on the move, you soon realise the Touran has much in common with the Golf. All the major controls, including the brakes, steering and manual gearchange, feel positive. The suspension, meanwhile, is firmer than on its rivals, but handles corners with little body roll.

We drove the 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine, which was smooth and fast. We couldn’t quite match the claimed fuel economy of 53.3mpg, but on a longer motorway run it’s feasible. A new entry-level 104bhp 1.2-litre TSI is now available, too. In BlueMotion trim, it returns 47.9mpg and emits 139g/km of CO2.

Standard equipment is generous and includes air-con, alloy wheels, roof rails and six airbags, while the Sport model gets second-generation Park Assist.

Considering what you get for your cash, prices are reasonable. Starting at £17,585 – which is £615 more than the cheapest Grand Scenic – the entry-level Touran is faster and more frugal than the Renault, plus there’s a tangible difference in build quality that means the Touran is better suited to the rough and tumble of family life than its French rival.

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