Volkswagen Touran (2003-2010) review
The Touran looks dull and won't fire up enthusiasts, but it's a fine family car. It's versatile and the strong cabin can handle anything.
Driving: The Touran's driving experience strikes a good balance between comfort and cornering ability. It rolls a little and doesn't change direction quite as keenly as some sportier alternatives, but always feels stable and composed, while the steering is fluid and well weighted. VW includes stability control as standard. Crucially, a cosseting ride means the cabin is well isolated and the whole driving experience is relaxing. Engines will be familiar to VW owners - diesels sell best but, as the 1.9-litre TDI is getting on, we'd recommend the freer-revving 2.0-litre TDI. The 1.6-litre petrol is refined but needs to be worked hard, while the 1.4-litre TSI is an intriguing choice with lots of low-down shove and fair economy if driven steadily.
Marketplace: The Touran has been a big success for VW - but most would agree it falls short in the looks department. The boxy shape and flat tailgate give it a van-like appearance; a facelift in early 2007 may have seen the company's latest corporate face grafted on, yet it's still visually unexciting. The Touran has some big-name seven-seat rivals, including Vauxhall's highly successful Zafira, the Renault Grand Scenic. Citroen C4 Grand Picasso and Toyota Corolla Verso. Sister company SEAT offers the cheaper Altea XL (using a similar platform and engine range), but this can seat only five.
Owning: The Touran may be unexciting from the outside, but the interior has stood the test of time. It's clear to see the quality and simplicity of the design. The large dials and high-mounted controls for the air con and audio systems are all well placed, plus the materials used throughout are good quality. There's also lots of cabin stowage, with large door pockets, a decent-sized glovebox and three small roof-mounted cubbyholes. In the middle row, the individual chairs offer fine shoulder room when seating three, and overall comfort is excellent. The additional pair of seats pull out of the boot floor easily, and although leg and headroom is tight, adults can squeeze into the back row. With the sixth and seventh chairs folded into the floor, luggage capacity is a commendable 695 litres - and even if the chairs are used only occasionally, they're worth having, as they don't cost a penny. The only drawback is that with seven people on board, boot space tumbles to just 121 litres.