Car Reviews: Volkswagen Touran 1.9 SE TDI 7 seat – The AA

17 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Car Reviews: Volkswagen Touran 1.9 SE TDI 7 seat – The AA

Car safety


Folding seats mean plenty of load space Body feels exceptionally rigid VW badge counts for a lot Feels quicker than it actually is


Quite expensive in direct class comparison Almost completely lacking in charisma Ultra-conservative styling Adapting second row of seats requires muscle

Volkswagen’s hard-won reputation for reliability and solid interior construction pays dividends in the people carrier market. While the Touran is unlikely to win many awards for original thinking or radical design, it does seem particularly well suited to life as a family vehicle and feels like a professionally-executed, high quality product.

Offered with either five or seven seats, the majority of customers opt for the latter option. Size-wise, the Touran isn’t as unwieldy as some seven-seaters and the rear rank folds completely flat. That makes it relatively easy to drive and practical about town, but it does also mean the rear two seats are better suited to children than adults.

Volkswagen claims the Touran is a value for money proposition, and it’s possible to make a case in this regard given its advanced construction, but the hard facts and figures suggest this is one of the more expensive MPVs on offer. Still, if you want the reassurance and respect the VW badge commands, spending a little extra could well be worth it. Certainly when it’s time to sell your Touran, its VW provenance will help you get a good price.

With the still-sensible Sharan and more charismatic Caravelle also in the VW stable, as well as models such as the Skoda Octavia estate and Seat Altea to contend with – which feature the same engines and equally impressive build quality – buyers aren’t short of classy family vehicles to choose from.

Our verdict on the Volkswagen Touran 1.9 SE TDI 7 seat

As a default MPV choice, the Touran is a very safe proposition. Golf drivers who find they need a bit more space when kids arrive are the Touran’s natural customers and are likely to love the vehicle’s Golf-like ambiance, even if it is a less dynamic drive and surprisingly lacks a similar ‘face’.


Despite a fairly hefty purchase price, the Touran is quite a strong economical proposition when judged over the course of its lifetime. Fuel economy is excellent (particularly in diesel models), the strength of the mechanical components should ensure a high level of reliability and Volkswagen consistently manages to ensure its vehicles achieve competitive insurance groupings. Resale values will also be among the best in its class.

Space and practicality

The straightforward manner in which seats fold means the Touran can quickly be transformed into a roomy van. VW claims there are ‘up to 39 storage possibilities’ in the Touran, which is a roundabout way of saying there are lots of nooks and crannies scattered throughout the cabin. Realistically, only around half of them are genuinely useful.

The rest seem destined to spend their days accumulating sweet wrappers and parking tickets.

Controls and display


Car security

Car safety

Aware that safety is a prime concern among buyers of compact MPVs, VW has gone out of its way to provide a solid safety package. All seats feature three-point safety belts, ESP, brake assist and ABS plus curtain airbags for front and second row passengers. Crash test results confirm the Touran is among the first rank of vehicles in its class for safety.

Driver appeal

Golf GTI drivers may be disappointed, but everyone else is likely to find the Touran a pleasant enough car. It can feel a little remote, because throttle and steering inputs are electronically regulated, but it is never less than precise. Diesel engines feel quicker than they actually are because of the huge amounts of low-down torque offered.

The Touran generally avoids leaning through corners, which is often the downfall of cars in this class.

Family car appeal

First car appeal

Quality and image

The VW badge still carries a lot of clout, so anyone so inclined can look down their noses at most other makes while inside a Touran. They shouldn’t get carried away though – it may be well made and respectable, but the Touran will turn few, if any heads. It is much less fashionable than an SUV parked outside the school gates of suburbia, if rather more practical.


Designed with quick and easy access in mind, doors operate easily despite their solid construction. All are hinged rather than sliding, which is pleasing to the eye but can be tricky in tight parking spots. The tailgate deserves a mention for its clever double-stage opening, which prevents the dangerous sudden movement that some competitor models exhibit.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

All models get a factory-fit stereo with CD player. Because it is part of the giant VW group, the possibilities for customising the Touran’s in-car infotainment systems are virtually limitless and should be discussed with the vendor at length if anything other than the basic system is required. The most common upgrade includes a six-disc changer mounted in the driver armrest.

Rear seats fold completely flat when not in use

Colours and trim

Equipment levels are good, though lower-spec models do feel as if they are lacking in creature comforts because many of the more impressive features such as ABS and brake assist are ‘hidden’ items. As a result, SE and Sport badged models feel much classier than the entry-level S, which lacks items such as seat-back tables, rear electric windows and alarm. Only the Sport has alloy wheels as standard.


Spare wheel

All models come with a tyre repair kit and no spare wheel as standard. Buyers of the five-seat model – not seven-seat – can pay extra for an optional full size spare wheel.

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