Volkswagen Touran Review: The Grand Tour(an)

Derryn Wong

VW ups the small MPV ante with an all-new Touran that excels in nearly all areas. Will it be a segment leader back in Singapore?

Amsterdam, The Netherlands –

What’s a Touran again?
It’s Volkswagen’s small, seven-seat multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) that has, by all accounts, been a huge success for the brand thus far. It sold almost two million units since its origin in 2003, and has been one of VW’s top-sellers back home in Singapore too.

So why do people like it?
It’s proven to be a very versatile vehicle, crucial for a one-car household. The daily commute/grind on weekdays, then family hauling on weekends. The Touran, especially in 170bhp Sport guise, was even able to deliver dad (or mom) some smiles from behind the wheel too.

Sounds like the new one has big shoes to fill then…
It sure does, but it’s fortunate that the new third-gen Touran ain’t Ronald McDonald. Like the seventh-gen VW Golf (which comes in 1.2 and 1.4-litre guise now), it uses VW Group’s newest platform, MQB. The short version is, that allows the Touran to be larger, more refined and efficient while also being lighter to boot.

Okay, it’s an MPV. Does it have space?
Given the car’s 130mm longer with 113mm more between the wheels, the space is huge, even larger than before, especially in the second row of seats. In fact it’s worth noting that the second row passengers have lots of ‘rights’ now: their own climate control, variable folding tray tables that are also tablet holders, manual blinds, reclining seat backs with three positions. They can even control radio and navigation via a USB port and tablet.

That sounds very fancy…
It’s not a stretch to say the Touran’s second row passengers might be the most pampered in the segment. The third row still can fit adults in a pinch, but they’ll be exactly that (pinched) and it’s better suited to smaller humans for any long distances. On the upside, all the chairs now fold flat easily, the cargo space is larger and the car is now very refined.

You mean it’s got good manners?
In a manner of speaking, yes. There’s very little vibration that penetrates the cabin, even from the engine, while wind noise is minimal at legal speeds. It’s also a very biddable machine and while you can tweak the driving modes to suit your preference (variable steering, suspension (an option), drivetrain aggressiveness and so on) but it’s the car’s basic soundness and accuracy that shines through.

It’s not outright sporty, nor is it the pointiest car around, but few drivers will have anything to fault here, especially since the cockpit now feels very cutting edge and premium, with lots of stowage space but also a logical, cleanly-presented layout. As typical for a new car, the Touran’s also more efficient too – this 1.4 petrol turbo with 150bhp does 5.5L/100km, versus 6.6L/100km for the old 1.4 140bhp model.

Is it still boring then?
We’ll leave it to you to decide, but it surely looks less boxy and van-like now, with VW’s new ‘signature’ face, a more raked windscreen and handsome wheels. There will also be an R-Design version with a body kit and other sharp-looking bits as well. If you want something sportier and can do with five seats, VW is also launching the new Sportsvan in Singapore this year.

So, should I buy one?
There’s also a huge amount of new safety equipment (nine airbags, a host of systems to keep you out of trouble and to help you if you do get into it) and the fact that the Touran might also be the most-connected car in its class, and then some, as well.

It’s clear VW has moved the game for small MPVs forward in no small way with the Touran – few cars have this feeling of overall polish while also packing practicality and lots of technology too.

There are still some unknowns though: We won’t know just how much stuff the car will pack (we drove a ‘kitchen sink’ model here) or how much it will cost though VW says it shouldn’t be far from the outgoing model when it does launch back in Singapore in late 2015 or early 2016. If the price and equipment levels are right, VW should have a segment leader on its hands.

For a full review of the new Volkswagen Touran, pick up CarBuyer 236, out on newsstands in mid-July


Volkswagen Touran 1.4 TSI 150hp
Engine                          1,390cc, 16V, inline 4, turbocharged
Power                                 150bhp at 5000-6000rpm
Torque                         250Nm at 1500-3500rpm
Gearbox                         7-speed dual-clutch
Top Speed                         209km/h
0-100kmh                         8.9 seconds
Fuel efficiency                 5.5L/100km
CO2                                 127gg/km
Price                                 $TBA
Availability                         Q1 2016


About the Author

Derryn Wong

CarBuyer's chief editor brings 15 years of experience in automotive journalism. Previously, he was the editor for Top Gear Singapore, and a presenter for CNA's Cruise Control motoring segment. He's contributed to The Business Times, Today, and many other publications, and also covered technology as editor of Stuff magazine. An avid motorcyclist and photographer, he is the Chief Slave of two cats. Follow him on Instagram @werryndong

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