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

If you’re looking at a nearly new Touran, we’d recommend the 1.6 TDI engine with the manual gearbox, because it offers a great balance of performance versus economy, but it’s no longer available on the current Volkswagen price list. The diesel 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.

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

As this generation of Touran approaches retirement, the only engine is a petrol familiar to the VW Group – the 1.5 TSI Evo, which replaced the older 1.4 TSI. 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.

Previously, two TDI diesel units and a pair of petrol options made up the engine offerings for the Touran range. The entry point to the range was 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 came 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.

If you're going to be using the Touran to transport lots of people or luggage, then seeking out a lightly used diesel could be a better choice. Our pick is the 1.6 TDI, which matches the 1.0 TSI by making 113bhp, but has more torque. It came with a six-speed manual as standard, or an optional seven-speed DSG, and was 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 and the 148bhp version was a great workhorse that's found in a wide variety of other VW Group models. Like the 1.6 TDI, it came with a six-speed manual as standard and a seven-speed DSG was offered as an option. 

Next Steps

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.5 TSI EVO SE 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £29,560

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.5 TSI EVO SE 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £29,560

Fastest

  • Name
    1.5 TSI EVO SE 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £29,560

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