The Touran is Volkswagen's car-like seven seat MPV and it lines up against cars like the Citroen C4 Picasso and Ford C Max. While most MPVs focus on space and practicality rather than driving manners, the Touran has already had a pretty good start to life as when you strip it right down, what you're left with is the excellent Volkswagen Golf. Looks-wise, though, it does have a whiff of something a bit more premium about it.
Getting a good driving position in the Touran is an absolute doddle, as all versions have a height adjustable seat and a steering wheel that moves both in and out, as well as up and down. The interior has a solid feel to it – something we've come to expect from Volkswagen – with a classy fit and finish which should stand up to an abusive life. Soft touch plastics cover the whole of the dashboard and the tops of the doors, and feel as expensive to the touch as Volkswagen's smooth leather facings for the primary controls. Entry level cars get a touch screen multimedia system with DAB and Bluetooth media streaming. The system is the same as the one you find in the Golf and, like the Golf, it's a little fiddly to use the touch screen on the move. It's surrounded by handy shortcut buttons that let you quickly switch between functions, though, and the on screen menus are logical.
You're not going to run out of space in the Touran. There's plenty of room both in the front and in the back, with lots of head and leg room. The second row of seats are individual and both slide and recline, however it does get a little cosy – especially if you've got three people here on a long journey. Like most cars with sixth and seventh seats, the back row in the Touran isn't going to be somewhere you'd be happy to sit for a long journey. With the rear most seats up, the boot is a little small, but in five seat mode there's plenty of space and it expands to nearly 2,000 litres with the middle row of seats folded down. They all fold flat and can be stowed individually, and with a low boot lip the Touran becomes a vastly useful van.
As you'd expect with a car like the Touran, there's no shortage of engine options: There's the familiar 1.2 and 1.4 litre TSI petrol, as well as a 1.6 and 2 litre TDI diesel. All versions (except the top 187bhp 2 litre diesel) can be equipped with either a six speed manual or the DSG dual clutch automatic gearbox. All are well suited to the Touran and not even the slowest 108bhp 1.6 litre TDI is what you'd call "sluggish". The body is well controlled and the steering is direct, but it grips the road more than it grips the driver. There are no questions about the ride comfort, though, which is good even on UK roads. It remains composed and soft, even over harsh bumps, and stays settled over scrappier surfaces.
March 23, 2016