Used VW Touran ('03-'11) buying guide
It has nicely balanced handling for an MPV, and although the steering is light in town it weights up nicely as speeds increase.
Body control through corners is excellent, but the downside is a firm ride. It’s quiet in the cabin, too, even with diesel engines.
Another of the Touran’s strengths is its versatile seating layout, with a spacious middle row that folds, slides or comes out altogether.
The third row is fine for children, but adults won't want to travel there for anything more than short distances. Importantly, the rear-most seats fold down completely flat should you need more boot space.
The only downside is a lack of imagination in the cabin, both in terms of design and practicality. It’s functional, but bland and there's a noticeable shortage of cubbyholes for storage.
Three petrol engines and a pair of diesels are offered. The petrols comprise 1.4-, 1.6- and 2.0-litre units, while the diesel options are a 1.9 with 90bhp or 103bhp, and a 2.0 unit with 138bhp or 168bhp.
The smaller petrols make the best bargains, but they feel underpowered with seven on board. We’d go for the 103bhp 1.9 diesel instead, which was launched in 2007. It has a healthy 185lb ft of torque and does average economy of 47mpg.
Entry-level S trim comes with electric front windows, twin front, side and curtain airbags, traction control, air-con, remote central locking and a CD player.
SE trim is the one to go for, though, adding climate control and all-round electric windows, while Sport models get alloys and sports suspension.
The flagship Touran is the 170bhp version of the 2.0-litre diesel and is available with VW’s impressive DSG semi-automatic gearbox on SE and Sport. It’s worth having if you can afford it, but our pick is still the 1.9-litre turbodiesel, which returns the best fuel economy.
The Touran should be a reliable performer. However, there have been issues. Some cars built in 2004 had a problem with bolts securing part of the diesel pump, possibly leading to a fuel leak. Repair work should have been done under warranty by Volkswagen.
Possible flywheel failure was also identified as a problem and we’ve heard reports of the seatbelt warning system going haywire. Also, later '08/'09 Tourans were recalled after some owners complained of a faulty clutch.
Check the exterior bodywork well; customer satisfaction surveys have raised complaints that it’s not as hard-wearing as it should be. The interior quality has never been an issue, but beware of cars with tired-looking cabins caused by tough family use.
We found these on the forecourt:
Volkswagen Touran 1.9 TDI 105 SE
‘07/07, 54,900 miles, £7995
City Quay Cars
Volkswagen Touran 2.0 TDI PD Sport DSG
‘05/56, 37,000 miles, £7499
Stowick cars Ltd.
By Rory White
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