There are two turbocharged petrol engines – a 103bhp 1.2 and a 138bhp 1.4 (also supercharged). The smaller engine gives modest pace when you’re loaded up, but it’ll be fine for most buyers. You also have the choice of a 103bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 2.0 diesels with either 138- or 175bhp. The 1.6 is adequate, while the 2.0-litre engines give strong, smooth acceleration.
The Touran’s ride is a little firm at low speed, but the trade-off is fine body control that helps to prevent your passengers feeling queasy. Handling is easy and fluent and the steering impresses, feeling suitably light around town, yet weighting up reassuringly as the speed increases.
The engines are smooth and quiet most of the time, but the least powerful ones can become a little rowdy when you pile the revs on. Road noise is well contained and, although the car’s upright shape creates some wind noise, the Touran is a refined cruiser.
You can spend a lot on a high-end Touran, but the more basic models are sound buys, even if its resale values aren't particularly strong by VW standards. Every version has respectable fuel economy and CO2 emissions, but the Bluemotion Technology models are particularly impressive.
The Touran’s interior is made from tough stuff and is well assembled to stand up to the rigours of family life. Smart controls make the driver’s immediate environment reasonably classy, too. VW mechanicals traditionally cope well with high mileages, and owners of the car rated its reliability as better than average in the 2012 JD Power survey.
Every Touran has head- and side airbags for the front passengers, as well as curtain airbags that cover the front two rows – but not the rearmost one. Anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control are also a standard fit. An alarm is fitted to all but the base S model.
The Touran’s cabin is rather dull, but it’s very user-friendly. The dashboard controls are simple, the layout is sensible and there’s plentiful adjustment for the steering wheel and driver’s seat. Forward visibility is good and the large, upright rear window helps when parking. A rear-view camera and a system that steers the car into a suitable space are also available.
The Touran has a versatile seating layout with a spacious middle row of seats that slides and folds. The rearmost row is adequate for adults on short journeys, although luggage space suffers. The boot is large in five-seat mode, but freeing up maximum cargo space involves removing the heavy middle seats.
There are three trim levels – S, SE and Sport. Even the cheapest (S) models come with air-conditioning, alloy wheels, four electric windows, a DAB radio and cruise control. Extras on SE and Sport models include automatic headlights and wipers, front and rear parking sensors, Bluetooth, a USB input socket and VW’s Park Assist system.
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The VW Touran 1.2 TSI Bluemotion Tech SE is our favourite Touran in SE trim. It’s loaded with kit, but doesn’t cost too much to buy or run.