VW Touran 1.6 TDI review

Volkswagen's seven-seater Touran is a terrific all-rounder. It's a quality product that's roomy, practical and well-built. Reasonably heavy laden the car struggled a bit on uphill gradients. If you can afford it, the 2.0 litre would overcome that and with little, if any fuel consumption penalty.

Review by Russell Bray

PERFORMANCE

Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show last year the latest VW Touran comes with a choice of two petrol engines and four diesels. There are two 1.6 litre diesels and two 2.0 litres. Tested here is the more powerful of the 1.6 turbo diesels with 113bhp at 3,200rpm. The four-cylinder engine produces 185 lb ft of torque from 1,500rpm to 3,320rpm. Steady speed cruising is fine, but you run out of 'puff' soon going through the gears. I would have liked more power for long uphill motorway stretches. Despite feeling it was struggling, the car sometimes picked up speed if I followed the gear change indicator's advice and went up a gear. The engine is a bit loud accelerating, but quiet when cruising. There's a six-speed gearbox but the engine doesn't like revs and the 148bhp model looks the version to choose. There are optional drive modes but they were a bit of a gimmick. One setting would have been okay. Eco should improve economy but so deadens the accelerator I couldn't live with it. Normal is fine. Sport increases steering weight and sharpens throttle response.

HANDLING

Volkswagen mid-sized MPV is all about security and safety, and rightly so. It's not going to do something stupid if you make a mistake with the throttle or steering while distracted by the children or jump too hard on the brakes in an emergency. So, while it's not sporty, the front-wheel drive Touran steers with a welcoming precision and is nicely predictable through bends. This latest version is six millimetres lower than before and up to 62kg lighter so feels that bit more agile than previously. There are larger MPVs around but this seven-seater drives like a smaller car with a gentle clutch and light steering. There are optional drive modes of Eco, Normal and Sport. You don't want to whizz a car like this round bends and after curiosity was satisfied it felt happiest in normal.

BODY STYLE

It's a fact of life that the most efficient use of space is a box so it's not surprising that Volkswagen's big selling Touran is a box with a sloping front in aid of aerodynamics to cover the mechanical bits. The front is pretty sharp looking though with detailed headlights and the slab sides are disguised with two body swage lines. Roof rails and being slightly lower also helps appearance. The rear bumper and lights are more sculpted than before. The seven-seater, with its easy to fold away rear two seats and centre three pews, has a generous luggage volume of 917 litres loaded to roof with the back seats in place. This increases to 1,857 litres if you fold the middle three seats. The boot has a low load lip and a flat floor. As standard there is a 12V power socket and four load lashing points in the boot. A net partition can also be fitted. Stowage is brilliant with some 40+ storage compartments. There’s also an under floor area for the luggage cover. The two adult size rear seats fold into the boot floor and for van capacity the centre three fold flat as well. Length 4527mm (up 130mm). Width 1829mm (up 41mm).

COMFORT & CONTROLS

VW Touran interior

As a tall, bigger hatchback the VW Touran fits easily into everyday life. If you have driven a Golf, and most of us have, there will be little to surprise you in the Touran. The seats are firm and well shaped and all versions have a height adjustable driver's seat, a rake and reach adjustable steering wheel and a front centre armrest. Trim levels from SE and above get front seat lumbar adjustment. The clutch and other pedals are well positioned and light to use. The brake pedal felt 'soft' though nicely progressive. The harder working fronts were coated with brake dust at the end of a week. The dashboard switchgear was easy to follow. The standard 6.5-inch colour touch screen in the centre of the dash 'hides' some functions until your hand is detected by proximity sensors. There are useful 'short cut' buttons each side of the screen. The satellite navigation system offers a choice of three routes but on some journeys abroad they were the same. The main dials are clear and easy to take in at a glance. The centre display also has trip computer functions. The front passenger seat-back folds flat for full-length loading. The front door pockets easily take 2.0 litre water bottles and there's a handy general bin in front of the gear lever, another between the front seats and two cup holders there as well. The cup holders 'grab' different sizes and there are storage drawers under the front seats. Two of the three centre rear seats have airline style folding tables.

MPG & RUNNING COSTS

All the engine options deliver good fuel economy, but the diesels are superior. The official combined consumption figure for the 113bhp turbo diesel is 61.4 MPG. We saw a best of 58.6 MPG. Carbon dioxide emissions of 119 g/km slot the car into the C tax bracket with no first year tax and then £20. The car comes with a three year / 60,000 mile warranty, including paintwork, and a 12-year body protection guarantee. The Touran looks pricey if you just make a blind list price comparison but you need to check the discounts going, your trade-in, PCP deals, expected residual value etc before making a decision. Low insurance costs are also part of the picture. Insurance is group 12E.

GREEN CREDENTIALS

All the engines are four cylinder direct injection with turbo charging and meet EU6 emissions standards. All models have stop/start and brake energy recuperation systems as standard and are up to 19 per cent more economical as well as giving better performance. The common rail diesel engines have diesel particulate filters and selective catalytic reduction (SCR) to reduce oxides of nitrogen from the exhaust. Despite a significant increase in overall length, the car's weight has been reduced by up to 62 kg which has a direct effect on fuel consumption. Streamlining has reduced the Touran's drag coefficient to 0.296, also saving fuel. In Eco driving mode, engine control, air conditioning and other auxiliary systems are controlled for optimal fuel efficiency. In vehicles with DSG automatic gearboxes, a coasting function operates. If a driver takes their foot off the accelerator, saying going downhill, the gearbox disengages and the engine idles. According to our calculations, the tested has a Next Green Car Rating of 40.

OPTIONAL EXTRAS

The Touran is available in five trim levels including the test car's new SE Family which includes alloy wheels, satellite navigation, sunroof, tyre pressure sensors, front and rear parking sensors, auto lights and wipers and multi-function steering wheel. The car also has a standard adaptive cruise control, 'guide and inform' navigation function, cargo load system, voice amplification and PreCrash preventative occupant protection. Heated seats on the test car are part of a £385 winter pack which includes headlight washers, heated front seats, heated windscreen jets and low washer fluid warning light. Additional optional equipment were front and rear carpet mats £90, keyless entry with start/stop button, electric tailgate and hands free tailgate opening £630. Park assist for parallel parking (it fits the car into a space only 1.1m longer than the car) was £190, rear view camera £170, mobile phone screen 'mirroring' £100, metallic paint £610. Price as tested was £28,920.

MODEL SUMMARY

VW Touran rear

Model tested: Volkswagen Touran 1.6 TDI SE Family
Body-style: Five-door MPV
Engine / CO2: 113bhp 1.6 litre, four-cylinder turbo charged diesel / g/km
Trim grades: S, SE, SE Family, SEL, R-Line

On-road price: From £22,270. Price as tested £28,920
Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 4.5 Stars

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Russell Bray

Author:Russell Bray
Date Updated:11th Nov 2016

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