What's the used Volkswagen Touran MPV like?
We've always liked the Volkswagen Touran here at What Car?, and it's not hard to see why. It's a great choice for those who want all the good qualities of the best of VW's products, neatly summed up by the Golf, for example, but who need a bit more room and practicality for a family.
It's VW's compact seven-seat MPV, and in effect it sits on a stretched version of the Golf platform. One of its biggest strengths is that in all of its versions it's great to drive, with neatly balanced handling. The steering assistance is light round town, but it gets heavier as you increase speed, giving just the right amount of feedback to the driver. Body control through the corners is excellent, although the downside of this is a firm ride, especially in the earlier models. The cabin is quiet, though, even with the various diesel engine options under the bonnet.
Among the Touran's other strengths is its versatile seating layout, with a spacious middle row that folds, slides or comes out very easily. The third row in the earlier cars is fine for children, and adults won't moan if the journey is short, but it's not somewhere they'd want to spend too much time. The later Touran versions increased the room available in the back and, while it's not as spacious as the very largest MPVs, most will be more than comfortable enough.
The only real complaint is that the interior has always lacked any design flair, but if you just want a tool to do a job (and that job is moving people), the Touran could well fit the bill.
Initially launched in 2003 with a choice of three petrol or two diesel engines and three trim levels - S, SE and Sport - the range expanded over the years to take in many newer powerplant options.
A facelift in 2006 brought a more distinctive look to the exterior and a refresh for the interior, as well as introducing the more efficient 1.4-litre TFSI petrol engine to the range. A second major facelift followed in 2010, with a new look inside and out and a revised platform, as well as some more efficient engines, including a surprisingly refined 1.2-litre petrol unit and a 1.6 TDI diesel in two power outputs.
The Touran has always been a popular car, able in each of its various incarnations to fend off the challenges from newer and, in some cases, more stylish rivals. There are bigger MPVs, but the Touran has always brilliantly balanced all the things that matter to families, and it's a car with, especially so in its later facelifted models, very few weaknesses.
Read on to find out all you need to know about buying a good used one.