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Volkswagen Touran

A VW Touran on its Beating Spirit road test

Volkswagen Touran MPV Review and Road Test

Model/Engine size: 1.6-litre S TDI BlueMotion Technology

Fuel: Diesel

Fuel economy combined: 61.4 mpg

The Volkswagen Touran 1.6 litre S TDI BlueMotion Technology has a combined fuel economy of 61.4 mpg which is highly impressive for a seven-seater people carrier.

The previous Touran never troubled the pages of our Beating Spirit, but the latest model achieves excellent fuel economy thanks to the application of BlueMotion Technology. At the same time, VW’s smallest MPV gets the new family look first introduced by the Polo.

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The Touran is one of the most compact seven-seat MPVs; at just under 4.4 metres in length it’s barely longer than a family hatch, and this is a distinct advantage if you spend a lot of time in urban areas. The downside is you only get 121 litres of boot space with all the seats in place (although there’s a large boot if used as a five-seater).

If the lack of boot space doesn’t put you off, there’s better news for the occupants. The interior, although finished in generally dark materials, is spacious and in particular the middle row has three seats which are very wide and flat, even to the extent that three child seats can be positioned next to each other – not all of the Touran’s seven-seat rivals can achieve this. Rear access is also excellent thanks to the large rear doors, and our test car had a huge double-length glass sunroof which should keep the kids happy spotting objects in the sky.

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However the Touran does feel slightly van-like due its very square internal dimensions. In fact, the it can actually be used as a van in addition to a five or seven-seater by folding all the seats down flat.

As is usually the way with Volkswagen, everything feels well screwed together. The dashboard is a typically no-nonsense affair which is easy to use but lacks design flair – put another way it appears rather basic. In particular the steering wheel feels a little on the cheap side, there’s no steering wheel-mounted controls, and we found that the wheel didn’t go low enough to give us an ideal driving position.

The Volkswagen Touran S 1.2 TSI BlueMotion Technology has a combined fuel economy figure of 47.9 mpg

The secret to the excellent fuel economy is a 1.6-litre common rail diesel engine which produces 104 bhp at 4,400 rpm and 185 lb ft of torque between 1,500 and 2,500 rpm. This is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox with the support of the full suite of BlueMotion Technology – including features such as start-stop and an indicator which tells you when to change gear. It errs towards the side of economy side in the performance versus economy stakes; when accelerating it feels like a big, heavy car with a relatively small engine – which, when compared to a Golf, is what it is.

The Touran feels solid at motorway speeds, but when negotiated through wet corners there are definite limits to its levels of grip.

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We actually managed to achieve 60 mpg during some of our driving in the Touran, which is something that we can’t often say, and of course the great levels of diesel economy result in a good range.

If you don’t like diesels there’s also Volkswagen’s excellent 1.2 litre TSI engine, which is proving to be extremely versatile appearing in a rapidly expanding number of models. With 104 bhp at 5,000 rpm and 129 lb ft of torque from 1,550 to 4,100 rpm it offers far more performance than you would expect thanks to turbocharging and direct injection. However if you plan to use the full loading capacity on a regular basis it will be hard pressed to keep up.

The Volkswagen Touran S 1.2 TSI BlueMotion Technology has a combined fuel economy figure of 47.9 mpg and CO2 emissions of 139 g/km, and costs £18,220.

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Summary and Review

The Touran is a well-engineered and refined compact MPV which achieves fuel economy that would have been beyond superminis a few years ago. It’s even reasonably priced and looks sharper than the old model. If you want seven seats and you aren’t too worried about a lack of boot space the Touran is a great option. It’s more functional than exciting, but after all it’s designed to carry lots of family members around in a workmanlike and efficient way, and it does a very good job of that.

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Car details and fuel economy data

Fuel economy extra urban: 68.9 mpg

Fuel economy urban: 51.4 mpg

CO2 emissions: 121 g/km

Green rating: VED band D – first year £0

Weight: 1544 Kg

Company car tax liability (2010/11): 13%

Price: £19,415 (From £17,585 to £25,535)

Insurance group: TBC

Power: 104 bhp

Max speed: 116 mph

0-62 mph: 12.8 seconds

DPF: Yes

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