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The Top Gear car review: Volkswagen Touran

£19,740£28,300
5/10
Overall verdict

For: 

Holds five in relative comfort but can cope with seven if it has to. Quality

Against: 

Little more than a spreadsheet on wheels
The Touran is… we forget… oh yes, functional. It’s good, but one of the least exciting cars on sale today.

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Our choice

Volkswagen

2.0 TDI DPF SE 5dr

£21,722
N/A
46mpg
10.20s
140bhp
161g/km

What we say: 

Not small but still perfectly formed, the Touran is a testament to VW's expertise at dull but good cars

What is it?

The Touran has the all-encompassing atmosphere of a car that was designed without anyone at VW drawing anything or even looking at it. The vehicle was evidently concocted to fill a need, using only spreadsheets and figure projections – it must be x big, fit y people and use z parts. Done.

To give VW some credit, the vehicle does fulfil its XL Golf brief quite well, with seven seats in a tall cabin and a boot you could park a smart car in.

Driving

Like the fatty Golf people carrier it is, absolutely every idiosyncrasy of the Touran’s driving experience has been ironed out, so you’re left with something so recklessly efficient that it’s bereft of any personality. Four-foot tall or seven, you will get comfortable once inside, and the visibility means it doesn’t feel as big and cumbersome as most other MPVs. The suspension is set up to control the two-box body admirably, allowing a little movement so as to cosset the occupants, but not so much that the kids will hurl their Big Macs back up after a couple of corners. It could do with being a little smoother generally, though – a Renault Scenic rides better.

As a Golf family member it gets some brilliant diesels – the 140 and 177bhp TDI units are as punchy and smooth as ever – but also a couple that aren’t really suited to heavy lifting, namely the 1.2 TSI 105 petrol and smaller 1.6 TDI 105 diesel.

On the inside

It does exactly what it’s supposed to do in a white bread kind of way. Posh white bread, mind. The switches feel awesome – especially the wheel-mounted ones – and they’re tastefully simple by design. Plus there’s storage galore, with 39 cabin cubbyholes. The seats fold down individually, and, most importantly, there’s a big old glovebox. Handy.

Keeping it compact means it’s not the capacious lounge on wheels that the Citroen C4 Picasso is, and the rearmost sets are miniscule – but that’s quite normal in this class. With the boot seats folded flat there’s nearly 700 litres of space – twice that of the Golf.

Owning

The 1.2 petrol, 1.6 and 2.0 litre diesels are available in Bluemotion Technology trim, which means they get such fuel saving innovations as start/stop and low rolling resistance tyres. However, for a few extra mpg they are a few hundred pounds more expensive – so factor mileage in before being sold into the eco thing. Mind you, sub-130g/km CO2 does mean the 2.0 TDI 140 BMT is worth the extra, for its blend of punch, performance, and 58.9mpg economy. Quality is fine and it’s full of airbags, including curtain ones. But beware, the Touran’s rather weak residual values.

Highlights from the range

Title 0–62 CO2 MPG BHP Price
The fastest
2.0 TDI 177 Sport 5dr DSG
8.8s 150g/km 49.6 177 £28,300
The cheapest
1.2 TSI S 5dr
11.9s 149g/km 44.1 105 £19,740
The greenest
1.6 TDI 105 BlueMotion Tech S 5dr DSG
12.8s 119g/km 61.4 105 £22,930

Wildcard

How about something completely different?

Wildcard

9/10

Volvo XC90

£45,550£63,650
Show the neighbours you've really arrived in middle England with a used Volvo XC90