If you are looking for a family car at present, there is a huge amount to choose from, mostly due to the trend explosion that is the crossover. Manufacturers appear to be filling every niche with some sort of compact SUV these days. Getting back to the basics of practicality, some of the best choices are staring right at us and the Volkswagen Touran is a perfect example.
The family MPV has a certain stigma attached to it. For most people who require the versatility, refuse to buy one, purely because of the cars appearance and the fact that you are instantly plonked into a demographic that you do not want to admit to yourself that you are in. I’m sorry, but you are in your mid-thirties, married with possibly 2/3 young children and that 2008 BMW 3 Series M-Pack that you are desperately trying to hang onto for all the wrong reasons, simply has to go.
The brand new Volkswagen Touran is a family MPV, but one that offers itself as a considerable compromise. Firstly, its sharper looking than before, in Highline specification comes with an impressive amount of kit and if you opt for the 2.0 TDI option, you also get 150bhp at your disposal. There is also an option of a 1.2 TSI and a 1.6 TDI putting out 110bhp each. All models are fitted with a 6-speed manual with an option of a DSG gearbox with the 1.6 or 2.0 TDI variants. The 1.6 also offers some decent low end grunt, but ultimately is not quite as refined as the larger 2.0. That said, it is likely to be the best seller.
Inside, the new Touran is finished to the high quality we have become accustomed to with Volkswagen. There is extensive use of soft touch materials and contrast black piano inserts, comfort seats and ambient lighting that bring a touch of class to the of the cabin. It feels both airy and spacious with plenty of manoeuvre ability in the front seat and steering wheel to find a comfortable driving position. Fitted to the centre console as standard is the 6.5 inch touchscreen with infotainment with our test model featuring the optional 9 inch Discover Pro with satellite navigation. The centre console and cockpit has an ergonomic and intuitive flow to it complimenting the overall sleek design of the dashboard. In the back, you get three individual seats with no transmission tunnel to straddle for the middle passenger. You could fit three adults comfortably with this setup or even accommodate up three separate child seats. These seats are also on rails to accommodate for the two additional foldable seats found in the boot. This makes the new Touran a 7 seater. The space in the third row is not bad either, but probably more suitable to young teenagers for longer journeys due to legroom. With the seats folded flat, you get a massive 663 litre boot and with the back row folded, you get a cavernous 1857 litre capacity. The front passenger seats even folds flat to accommodate loading longer pieces. It is massively versatile.
On the road, the new Volkswagen Touran offers great comfort. Even though it may be an MPV, it does feel more dynamic than its predecessor. Overall it feels more composed, is improved in the bends and keeps body roll very much in check. The ‘Highline’ is fitted with sports suspension, but I’m not quite sure why a car like this even requires it. Our test car was also fitted with the optional ‘Driver Profile Selection’ that allows the driver to choose between certain driving modes. These include Eco, Comfort, Normal, Sport & Individual’, but again in a family MPV, it’s not an option I feel I would be ticking on the list. The Touran does however offer a considerably refined ride overall and is very comfortable to drive on both long and short trips. The 2.0 TDI fitted to our test car was mated to Volkswagen’s silky 6-speed manual and generally is a pleasure to use.
With a starting price of €29,725 for the 1.2 TSI ‘Trendline’, the Touran is very competitively priced with the ‘Highline’ trim starting from €33,800. Our 2.0 TDI ‘Highline test car has a starting price of €38,285, but this includes a specification consisting of 17 inch alloy wheels, sport suspension, adaptive cruise control, power folding mirrors, Top comfort seats, ambient lighting, silver roof rails, side window strips in chrome and colour MFD. Our test car came in at a considerable €45,232 but was also fitted with a number of optional extras that included Discover Pro Nav, lane assist, driver profile selection, dynamic lights assist, Panoramic sunroof, park assist, light assist, electric tailgate and a net partition.[youtube]https://youtu.be/Yb8MLm7swho[/youtube]
Here’s Bob Flavin’s video review of the Volkswagen Touran
Even as a family man myself, I have never found the MPV image appealing, but the Touran offers a tempting package. It looks good, is massively versatile and is enjoyable to drive. I’d be getting rid of that 3 Series if I were you.