Volkswagen Touran MPV performance
The 1.6-litre diesel is a popular choice, because it comes with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard and offers good economy. It may not be breathtakingly quick, but it’s powerful enough to cope with everyday use and the real-world fuel efficiency is excellent. If you want a bit more power, then look to the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel, which offers more performance and good economy but costs more. We have yet to try the more powerful 187bhp 2.0-litre diesel, but the extra power could make it a good option if you regularly tow a caravan or travel with a full load.
The 148bhp 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine comes only on the pricier trims – that's a shame because it makes a good alternative to diesel, offering more than enough pace for open-road driving, along with decent economy. The 1.2-litre petrol, on the other hand, is fine as a city car, but on faster roads it feels gutless.
Volkswagen Touran MPV ride
The Touran rides with easy fluidity over most surfaces, softening all but the worst bumps and only fidgeting a little over scruffy town roads. It rides well even on the larger 18in wheels of the R-line trim, although for the smoothest progress we’d recommend sticking with the smaller 16in alloys fitted to S, SE and SE Family.
You can add adaptive dampers at a fair cost, but you’re better off saving your money given how settled the Touran is on standard suspension. We’d also avoid the optional sports suspension because ride comfort is almost certain to suffer.
Volkswagen Touran MPV handling
Anyone who’s driven a Volkswagen Golf will feel at home with the Touran’s handling. The steering is predictable and well-weighted, there’s loads of grip and body lean is kept well in check – more so than any rival.
It’s not a particularly involving car to drive, but it tracks well on the motorway and is easy to steer around town. It actually doesn’t feel like a big car to drive – that's not something you can say of its more cumbersome rivals.
S and SE trims have variable drive modes available as a very affordable option. Eco boosts economy but dulls responses, Normal is a happy medium and Sport brings heavier steering and a sharper accelerator response. It’s an unnecessary extra, given how well-judged the control weights are as standard, but you do get this function as standard on higher trims and it doesn’t spoil the way the Touran drives.
Volkswagen Touran MPV refinement
The 1.6 TDI is not the quietest diesel. It generates a gritty-sounding dirge that creeps into the interior when you’re accelerating, and this only relents on a steady throttle. The 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel is much smoother and quieter throughout. We haven’t driven the 187bhp 2.0-litre diesel yet, but it’s likely to be gruffer, although not to the point of annoyance.
Both petrol engines are very smooth and relatively quiet in everyday use. The 1.2-litre unit only gets noisier by dint of being underpowered and needs to be revved hard to keep up with fast-moving traffic.
The Touran doesn’t suffer undue wind or road noise and, indeed, in our noise tests, it proved to be quieter than the Citroën Grand C4 Picasso at 30mph and 70mph. The Touran is also one of the best cars in the class for keeping mechanical vibration to a minimum, while the clutch is light and precise, and the gearshift is no chore.