Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
The 148bhp 1.5 TSI 150 is the only petrol engine and is our pick of the range. It offers reasonably punchy acceleration, even when there are bums on all seven seats, and enough pull from low revs to prevent you having to thrash the engine too hard to reach motorway speeds.
If you want a bit more oomph, though, look to the 148bhp 2.0 TDI 150 diesel, which pulls even harder at low revs and so is quicker to build speed. There's a less powerful 114bhp TDI 115 version of that same engine, but it misses out on some of that low-down shove and feels a little more sluggish when pulling away from traffic lights.
It’s hindered more by the seven-speed automatic gearbox that comes as standard with this engine (the others get a six-speed manual as standard, with the auto as an option). There’s a noticeable lag before it changes gears; this can be frustrating when trying to make a gap at a roundabout.
Suspension and ride comfort
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 on even the larger 18in wheels that are fitted to range-topping R-line trim, although we recommend sticking with the smaller 16in alloys fitted to S, SE and SE Family for the smoothest progress.
You can add adaptive dampers (DCC in VW-speak), but they're rather pricey so you’re better off saving your money. We’d also avoid the optional sports suspension because it worsens ride comfort – and let's face it, that's the priority in a seven-seat MPV.
Anyone who’s driven a Volkswagen Golf will have some idea what the Touran feels like to drive. Its steering is predictable and well-weighted, there’s plenty of grip and body lean is kept neatly in check – more so than in any rival, even the Ford S-Max
The Touran also feels stable on the motorway and is easy to steer around town. That's partly because it feels relatively compact – not something you can say of its more cumbersome rivals, such as the Citroën Grand C4 Spacetourer and Ford Galaxy.
Noise and vibration
The 2.0 TDI 150 diesel engine is smooth and muted by MPV standards, but the less-powerful 115 sounds a little strained when you accelerate hard. Meanwhile, the 1.5 TSI 150 petrol engine is also relatively hushed unless you rev it vigorously.
The Touran doesn’t suffer undue wind or road noise; indeed, in our noise tests, it proved to be quieter than the Citroën Grand C4 Spacetourer at both a 30mph and a 70mph cruise.
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.