New VW Touran 2015 review

The new VW Touran is sharper to look at and to drive, plus there's plenty of room for all the family, too

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Volkswagen has upped its game with the Touran and really focused on the needs of large families. New features have created an even more practical vehicle, while the increased interior space and excellent access makes it extremely usable. Improved engines mean greater efficiency and lower emissions than the previous model too. It’s also now nicer to drive and there’s a step up in build quality – the only problem is tough competition in its class from similarly priced premium brands like BMW and its 2 Series Gran Tourer.

When a manufacturer says a car is “all-new” that’s not necessarily what you’re getting. But this new Touran has been built around Volkswagen’s familiar MQB platform, meaning it really is completely new, from top to bottom. 

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Doing so has allowed VW to create more space on the inside, while keeping exterior dimensions near enough the same. It’s lighter than before, too, and that’s not to mention its refreshed look inside and out. 

It’s been two years since the Touran was last given a revamp, and this latest incarnation has brought it in line with the rest of Volkswagen’s range. It’s got a little bit longer and lost a chunk off the top, while also inheriting the brand’s trademark light signature and pronounced body lines. You couldn’t exactly call this look sporty, but it’s definitely got added edge over its predecessor. 

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Inside, the Touran has received the same treatment with a more modern look and intuitive infotainment system. The seats are plush and comfy, and lumbar support has been added to the Touran for the first time, which even has a massage function on some models. As well as this, Volkswagen has managed to cram 47 storage cubbies into the Touran – although we struggled to find more than 20. 

Even lofty passengers will find plenty of space to stretch their legs. Every seat in the middle row is large enough for a full sized adult and six footers will have no problem fitting in comfortably.

Fortunately, this also means those with little legs will struggle to kick the backs of seats – a boon for parents on longer motorway journeys. People in the third row get the rough end of the stick, but the middle seats do slide forward to leave all passengers with adequate legroom.  

Transforming this into a flat space is quick and easy too. Flick the catches on the top of the rear seats and they sink into the floor leaving a completely flat load bay. Even without dropping the middle row, Volkswagen claims you could squeeze 917 litres behind the third row of seats – providing you’re happy to pack your luggage to the roof.

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A tug on the loops behind the second row will drop those too and increase the usable space to 1,857 litres. Even the front passenger seat can fold completely flat, revealing a 2.7m load area for ladders or longer items. 

The Touran is available with five different engines – two petrols and three diesels. The 108bhp 1.2-litre petrol TSI engine is available with a manual gearbox, while the higher-powered 148bhp 1.4-litre is gets a choice of the six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG auto. 

As for the diesels, there is a choice of two 2.0-litre TDI engines with 148 or 188bhp – the latter of which is only available as a DSG – as well as a 1.6-litre TDI available with both transmission options. 

We drove the 1.6-litre TDI with the six-speed manual gearbox, which is expected to be the most popular choice for UK drivers. It’ll do 64.2mpg and emit 116g/km of CO2. The competent 108bhp diesel engine produces 250Nm of torque, but it’s not quite enough muscle to shift its weight – even if it has shed 62kg.

This is only really noticeable if you try to overtake slower moving traffic, but on the motorway it’s smooth. The steering is precise enough, gear changes are slick and the suspension is soft enough to make the ride reasonably comfortable. 

Road and wind noise does become quite loud at high speeds and, compared to BMW’s new 2 Series Gran Tourer, it felt a little unrefined, particularly as the Touran is expected to start at around £22,000, or only £2,000 less than the BMW. 

Behind the wheel of the Touran it certainly feels robust though, everything is finished to a high quality, and it offers that all important badge supremacy over the equally spacious and well equipped Ford C-MAX

Around town, the Touran feels wide, but Volkswagen has kitted the Touran out with plenty of driver aids including Park Assist, Side Assist and Rear Traffic Alert. You can also add features such as Trailer Assist, which helps you park your trailer by projecting an image onto the car’s central touchscreen. Other safety features such as wide orange blind spot indicators are a nice touch compared to the usually subtle icons as found in the Ford C-MAX

There are four trim levels. Along with the previous S, SE and SE-L there is the new SE Family that adds a panoramic sunroof with integrated lighting, three-zone climate control, sat-nav and extra rails and nets in the boot to secure luggage.

All models get automatic post-collision braking, seven airbags, air conditioning and roof rails and there are a host of options available including Cam Connect and electronic voice amplification integration.

Cam Connect installs a GoPro facing the rear seats and allows parents to check what’s going on in the back without having to turn their heads to see. The voice amplification allows their voices to travel around the car with no need to raise them.

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