Volkswagen Touran road test
We love it! Everything about the new Touran works really well.
What is it?
This new version of Volkswagen’s seven-seater MPV was unveiled at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show. It’s larger and more spacious than the version it replaces, with a new seat-folding system.
How safe is it?
This latest Touran received a five-star rating from Euro NCAP. Features include curtain airbags, driver’s knee airbag and pre-crash preventative occupant protection.
Who should buy one?
The Touran is a fantastic and versatile family car. It’s great to drive, economical to run and manages to ensure third-row passengers don’t feel like an afterthought.
Road test by James Luckhurst 6 December 2016
DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
When the Touran first appeared (in 2003), it quickly established itself as a favourite with families who didn’t want a full-size MPV. We had one of the first models on test for a year, and found it hard to fault its versatility and practicality. As for this version? It’s great to drive, with consistently good ride and no handling surprises. Let’s take a quick tour, starting with the driver’s seat. The position is adjusted by ratchet under the front seats – a surprise that it’s not electric.
Looking round, the cockpit layout is smart and well presented. There’s a flat bottom steering wheel with radio controls on its left side and phone/computer controls on right. Two large dials flank a largish computer read-out which shows miles per hour, variable speed warnings (which you set), oil temperature, fuel consumption, fuel consumption (we achieved 51.9mpg), range, air-con usage, travelling time, distance travelled and average speed.
The dial to right shows the speed in mph (a pity there’s no 30 or 70 shown), with a clear fuel gauge.
The dial to left shows revs and temperature.
Driving the Touran is a great experience. The six-speed twin-clutch DSG automatic ‘box in the 2.0-litre TDi 150PS version works brilliantly, with satisfying acceleration, no delay in pick-up and a very responsive feel. It reduces the stress of driving in busy town traffic, it improves economy and it makes gear-changes ultra-smooth and immediate. A car that’s great to drive and comfortable to travel in as a psssenger.
The emphasis here should be on comfort, not speed. The Touran evens out inconsistencies in just about any road surface, and you’ll be unlikely to hear many complaints from the passengers (even those in the third row of seats who often have a rather less enjoyable journey experience). Compare it with earlier generations of wallowy MPVs and you’ll find it’s better by far for everyone.
On the motorway, the Touran offers a nice quiet ride with low levels of road and wind noise.
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
As large family cars go, the Touran is perfectly placed to deal with big loads. Even smaller items are not neglected, as the line-up of pockets, boxes and cupholders shows. Passengers do very well. The three middle-row seats are all the same size (each with Isofix seat settings), and journeys will be made more interesting for small fry thanks to the addition of folding tables on the front row seat backs (except for S-trim vehicles). Because the Touran is front-wheel drive, there is no loss of space that would otherwise be required for the drive shaft underneath.
The boot is class-leading; deep, wide and massive. Both middle and rear rows can be folded to give a properly flat floor.
Finally a quick word about the magnificent sunroof. The front part opens and slides back (half way) in seven seconds. A screen opens and shuts the entire sunroof at the press of a button, a process taking 16 seconds.
Extensive kit includes an automatic post-crash braking system, curtain airbags for front- and second-row passengers and front-row side impact airbags. The driver and front passenger seats have four-way adjustable head restraints, and there’s the VW ‘Precrash’ preventative occupant protection, that identifies the possibility of a collision and automatically closes electric windows (and sunroof). It also tensions the front seatbelts.
A height-adjustable driver’s seat is standard across the model range, as is a front central arm rest and a steering wheel that’s manually adjustable for reach and rake via a large lever to the left of the steering column. SE trim vehicles get automatic wipers and lights. The optional £245 ‘convenience pack’ offers folding wing mirrors and an automatically dimming rear-view mirror. The natty folding towbar costs £680.
Line up the Touran against the Ford S-Max, Citroën C4 Grand Picasso, or Vauxhall Zafira Tourer, and you’d most likely feel you were paying a bit over the odds. Bear in mind the relatively low insurance premium and predicted strong resale values, both of which will help with the total cost. Fuel economy on the test model was excellent, and a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty is standard across the range.
Everything about the Touran works really well. We love it.
AT A GLANCE:
Price: £32,205 as tested
Performance: 0-62mph in 9.3 seconds
Economy: 57.6mpg combined
Insurance: Group 17E
Tax: Band D (£0, then £110)
Figures for Touran SE 2.0-litre TDi 150PS 6-speed DSG