Volkswagen Touran MPV performance
The 1.6-litre diesel is a popular choice. It may not be breathtakingly quick, but it’s powerful enough to cope with any situation you can throw at it. If you do want a bit more oomph, look to the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel, which offers stronger acceleration – particularly when you rev it beyond 3000rpm.
The 148bhp 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine is only available with the pricier trims – that's a shame because it makes a good alternative to diesel for those who don't cover a huge annual mileage, with more than enough pace for open-road driving.
If you want a petrol engine with a cheaper trim level, your only option is a 113bhp 1.0-litre. Based on our experience of this engine in other VW models, we suspect it might struggle in the relatively weighty Touran – but we'll confirm this over the coming weeks when we get behind the wheel.
All engines come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, with a seven-speed automatic available as an optional on all but the 1.0-litre petrol.
Volkswagen Touran MPV ride
The Touran rides with fluidity over most surfaces, softening all but the worst bumps and only fidgeting a little along scruffy town roads. It rides well enough even on the larger 18in wheels of the R-line trim, although for the smoothest progress we recommend sticking with the smaller 16in alloys fitted to S, SE and SE Family.
You can add adaptive dampers (DCC in VW speak), but they're rather pricey and you’re better off saving your money. We’d also avoid the optional sports suspension because ride comfort is almost certain to suffer – and let's face it, comfort is the priority in a seven-seat MPV.
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 plenty of grip and body lean is kept well in check – more so than any rival, even the Ford S-Max
It’s not a particularly fun car to drive, but it feels composed on the motorway and is easy to steer around town. It actually doesn’t feel like a big car on the road, either – that's not something you can say of its more cumbersome rivals, such as the Citroen Grand C4 Spacetourer and Ford Galaxy.
Volkswagen Touran MPV refinement
The 1.6 TDI isn't the quietest diesel engine in the world. It emits a gritty-sounding dirge that creeps into the interior when you’re accelerating, and this only relents when you're cruising.
The 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel is much smoother and quieter throughout. Meanwhile, the 1.5-litre petrol engine is reasonably muted unless you rev it hard.
The Touran doesn’t suffer undue wind or road noise and, indeed, in our noise tests, it proved to be quieter than the Citroen Grand C4 Spacetourer at both 30mph and 70mph. The clutch is light and precise, as is the manual gearshift, while the optional automatic (DSG) gearbox is only jerky at very low speeds, such as when you're parking.