Volkswagen Touran 2.0 TDI 140 SE review
by David Finlay (20 September 2010)
The latest version of the Volkswagen Touran was first put on display at the Leipzig Motor Show back in April, but as I write this there are only two in this country (the other one being a higher-specification Sport which we avoided because the SE reviewed here is likely to be more popular). In fact they've only just arrived, so we're safe in being able to claim that what you are reading now is the first test of a new Touran driven on UK roads. Hurrah!
To be honest, though, there isn't much difference between this Touran and the last one. There are some styling changes front and rear to make the Golf-based MPV look more like the "real" Golf, as well as the Polo and the similarly revised Touareg SUV, while the interior gets new trim finishes, instruments, steering wheel, ventilation controls and centre console.
The cleverest change relates to the Park Assist system, which formally enabled the Touran to steer itself into parallel spaces while the driver attended to the pedals. In its new form, Park Assist also works in end-on spaces.
The test cars was fitted with the largest engine in the range - the familiar two-litre TDI turbo diesel in 140PS/138bhp form (the 168bhp version is also available). Combined fuel economy is 53.3mpg and CO2 emissions are officially 140g/km, though if this sort of thing is a priority for you then you should be looking at the 104bhp 1.6 TDI BlueMotion Technology with start/stop, which manages 61.4mpg on the official test cycle.
Still, there's nothing wrong with the 2.0 TDI unit, which is usually one of the best features of any Volkswagen Group product it's fitted to. The Touran has much else to recommend it, not least that it's quiet and comfortable and has a lot of window area so you can see out of it. And of course it has seven seats, though the ones in the third row are very much for children only, as you might expect in something roughly the size of a Golf. If you want to transport seven adults, buy a Caddy MPV instead.
The second-row seats can be removed from the vehicle entirely if you want to maximise load space. The ones behind them can't, but they can be folded flush into the floor, which amounts to the same thing.
The changes to the interior have not made it particularly interesting to look at ("new" in this case means "different" rather than "better"), and although the Touran rides and handles well enough at medium speeds it can become a bit floaty if you start pressing on along country roads. Of course, very few people are going to buy something like this and expect it to handle like a sports car, but other compact MPVs nevertheless do this part of the job better.
When it officially goes on sale in October, this version of the Touran will cost £22,530, for which you get lots of airbags (including side and curtain ones), electronically controlled air-conditioning, front and rear parking sensors, cruise control, hill hold, 16" alloy wheels and rear heat insulated tinted glass. Unfortunately, you don't also get a proper spare wheel - instead, Volkswagen offers one of those silly tyre repair kits which are no use to man nor beast in the event of a severe puncture.