Review Volkswagen Touran 1.6 S New car

14 Dec 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Review Volkswagen Touran 1.6 S New car


1.6 S


Pay close attention to Volkswagen’s recent product development and a pattern emerges. Consider the Touareg luxury 4×4, the Eos coupe-cabriolet, Polo Dune faux by four, and this, the Touran. Each came to the market very late, Volkswagen sitting back and waiting for these niche markets to mature before developing their own highly-polished products, often at a premium price.

The Touran team waited to see whether the compact MPV sector would shake down into five or seven seat dominance, hedging their bets for what seemed an age before launch.

When the Touran did first appear, it was greeted with relative apathy. Volkswagen had dropped a rare clanger, launching a very conservative car just as MPVs were becoming sufficiently self-confident from a style perspective to express themselves a little. The latest Touran looks a good deal sleeker and better groomed, even in the base 1.6-litre S form that we examine here.

Many similarly priced rivals will be better than the Touran 1.6 S to drive. It’s a fact. A Vauxhall Zafira 1.6i, a Mazda5 1.8i or a Ford C-MAX 1.6 will all offer a more vivid driving experience.

The Touran finds itself in midfield. It’s more entertaining than a Citroen Picasso or a Renault Scenic but this is emphatically not a vehicle to plump for if you resent having to lug the family about and just want to let off a bit of steam.

Performance can best be described as leisurely, 60mph coming and going in 12.7 seconds on the way to 111mph. The 101bhp engine itself is a relatively sweet little unit but load the car up with kids, kit and caboodle and it’ll struggle to drag you up hills. The five-speed gearbox will see plenty of action as you are frequently forced to drop a cog or two to tap into some form of acceleration.

Wind and tyre noise are well-suppressed, although those with any mechanical sympathy may well decide that a bigger engine is a better investment. Ride quality is old-school Germanic firm but the steering and brakes are both well above par.

The residual values are so good that this is actually a more sensible buy than many more established rivals

The mini-MPV market is one that once valued conservatism but Volkswagen seemed to explore a position with the Touran where conservatism lapsed into blandness. All that was required to nudge the vehicle back into the sweet spot of buyer focus were a few well-judged nips and tucks. So it is that the 2007 model year Touran has a more assertive front end, compliments of a revised radiator grille and headlights which are similar to those of the Eos coupe-cabriolet.

With a distinct double curve to the underside of the lamp unit, it’s a welcome diversion from the anonymous blobs fitted to the old Touran. This 1.6 S model does without the big alloy wheels that fill the arches so purposefully on the upspec models but the 15-inch rims are, nevertheless, of an inoffensive design.

Move round to the rear and you’ll spot even more strident alterations. Redesigned rear light clusters and a completely different bumper assembly give it a more aggressive, hunkered-down appearance. Indoors, there are new trims and stainless steel touches that lift the otherwise drab colour scheme. Where the Touran really scores is in terms of perceived quality.

It just feels better screwed-together than anything remotely comparable, despite the fact that reliability surveys show that perception can outstrip reality.

These days there are only two petrol engines offered in the Touran line-up, which just goes to show the swing towards diesel in vehicles of this type. Given that the 1.6-litre engine is earmarked only for this entry-level S model, and is included as much to give the Touran an eye-catching starter price as anything else, it’s small wonder that most buyers will walk straight past this car and fork out the extra £1,000 for the starter 1.9-litre diesel.

Entry-level German cars used to have a reputation for coming with about as many flashy fitments as the Southampton FC trophy room but the Touran S doesn’t do too badly for gear. It’s fitted with a CD stereo, air-conditioning, remote central locking and cruise control. Mind you, forgo a little on the Volkswagen’s soft-feel plastics and you could buy a Korean mini-MPV so stacked with electronic gadgets it feels as if it’s just ram raided Currys.

You shouldn’t read too much into the quoted fuel economy figures. Yes, the Touran 1.6 S will return 34.9mpg if driven as if you’re route finding for a funeral cortege but get the family in and 28mpg will probably be a more realistic target. Where the Volkswagen really claws back a lot of ground is in residual value.

Three years down the road, this vehicle is still going to be worth a hefty 46 per cent of its original price. By contrast, an equivalent Vauxhall Zafira will keep just 37 per cent, a Mazda5 42 per cent and a Renault Scenic a mere 35 per cent.

The insurance rating of the Touran 1.6 S reflects the fact that it’s not going to be the first port of call for lead-footed types, a Group 6 banding translating to modest premiums. This again compares very well with rivals and means that owning a more upmarket badge needn’t be financially punitive. Just don’t expect to have your cake and eat it when it comes to power and equipment.

It would be easy to write the Volkswagen Touran 1.6 S off as a mini-MPV for the person who’s more interested in setting the neighbour’s curtains twitching than how it drives. While it must be said that a spell behind the wheel of the Touran remains a somewhat dull outing, this model has something to be said for it, especially if it’s going to cover relatively small mileages and be sold after three years or so.

Here’s why. The residual values are so good that this is actually a more sensible buy than many more established rivals. As long as you’re not covering intergalactic mileages, it also works out as more cost-effective than any diesel Touran to boot.

In order to choose this model you’ll need to be honest about what you want from a vehicle of this type. If the concept of ownership takes priority to driving, go right ahead.


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