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In-depth reviews

Volkswagen Touran review - Engines, performance and drive

The usual array of smooth and efficient turbocharged engines power the Touran, which is a comfortable cruiser

We’d recommend the 1.6 TDI engine with the manual gearbox, because it offers a great balance of performance versus economy. It has just enough get up and go to keep you comfortably shifting the Touran’s rather hefty body about, with only a few occasions where it struggles for power. 

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

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Road and wind noise does become quite loud at high speeds and, compared to BMW’s 2 Series Gran Tourer, it feels a little unrefined.

Around town, the Touran feels wide but Volkswagen has kitted the MPV out with plenty of driver aids to make urban manoeuvring easier. Other safety features such as wide orange blind spot indicators are a nice touch compared to the usually subtle icons found in the Ford C-MAX, for example. 

Engines

Two TDI diesel units and a pair of petrol options make up the engine offerings for the Touran range. The entry point to the range is the 1.0 TSI turbo three-cylinder, which replaced the older 1.2 TSI turbo four. It's an engine seen throughout the VW range, and here it makes 113bhp and comes with a six-speed manual gearbox. It's a decent performer with more mid-range grunt than the older 1.2, but it’s much better suited to smaller Volkswagen Group products than this one-and-a-half-tonne MPV.

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The other petrol engine is another one familiar to the VW Group – the 1.5 TSI Evo, which replaced the older 1.4 TSI. Like that engine, it's only offered in SEL and R-Line. It makes 148bhp, while its cylinder deactivation tech helps to save fuel. This engine comes with either a slick-shifting six-speed manual or VW's smooth seven-speed DSG auto.

If you're going to be using the Touran to transport lots of people or luggage, then one of the diesels is a better choice. Our pick is the 1.6 TDI, which matches the 1.0 TSI by making 113bhp, but has more torque. It has a six-speed manual as standard, or there's an optional seven-speed DSG, and it’s available in S, SE and SE Family trims, with the latter being our pick. 

The 2.0 TDI used to come in 150 and 190 guises, but now there's just the lower 148bhp version offered. That's no bad thing, because this engine is a great workhore that's found in a wide variety of other VW Group models. Like the 1.6 TDI, it comes with a six-speed manual as standard and a seven-speed DSG is offered as an option. 

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.5 TSI EVO SE 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £27,675

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.5 TSI EVO SE 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £27,675

Fastest

  • Name
    1.5 TSI EVO SE 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £27,675
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