In-depth reviews

Volkswagen Touran MPV review

“The Volkswagen Touran is a spacious MPV with seven seats and a wide range of engines”

Carbuyer Rating

4.1 out of 5

Owners Rating

3.3 out of 5

Read owner reviews

Pros

  • Good choice of engines
  • Decent to drive
  • Quality build

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • Third row not the most practical
  • Boot space poor with third row in use

It’s fair to say that MPVs have never really been the most desired cars on the market, but the move to more fashionable seven-seat SUVs means there are fewer buyers looking for a traditional people carrier than ever. As a result, there is less direct competition for the Touran than ever.

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But that doesn’t mean that a car like the Volkswagen Touran wouldn’t make sense for a lot of motorists who need space without the running costs and high purchase price of a crossover.

Besides the SUVs, the Touran also faces competition from bigger rivals like the Ford S-MAX and Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer, and also from posh new alternatives like the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer. To convince customers to plump for the VW, the Touran isn’t particularly flashy or gimmicky, instead relying on the sheer practicality of its boxy shape, a range of impressive engines and a well finished interior to seal the deal.

As spelled out by past advertising campaigns, the Touran isn’t the cheapest option, either, being ‘reassuringly expensive’ instead. Materials inside certainly look pricier than those of some older rivals, with plenty of soft-touch elements and neat touches that’ll look familiar to Volkswagen Golf owners. The Touran is looking a little plain inside and out though, especially compared to its Citroen rival.

One of the Touran’s biggest selling points is its slick folding seven-seat layout, but if you plan on making use of the third row often, we’d say the larger Volkswagen Sharan or Ford Galaxy are better propositions if you can afford them.

Instead, the Touran works best as a huge five-seater, with two occasional extra seats if you need them, and a big boot when you don’t. A large hatchback opening and low loading lip make it easy to load, and there’s lots of space up front for tall passengers. Parents will be impressed that all five rear seats have ISOFIX points for a child car seat, but the boot is small with all seven seats in place.

Engines are another major draw for the Touran and we particularly like the 1.5-litre TSI petrol with 148bhp that works well with Volkswagen’s seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox. Those after a diesel are catered for with a 2.0-litre TDI engine producing 148bhp. For most drivers, this engine should be more than adequate, returning over 50mpg economy in everyday use and still offering enough performance to comfortably move five passengers and luggage. The less powerful 113bhp version of the 2.0-litre TDI engine was discontinued in early 2021.

There are plenty of trim levels, including SE, SE Family, SEL and R-Line, with every version getting a touchscreen infotainment system, DAB radio and Bluetooth connectivity. SE spec cars also come with 16-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, electric windows and rear airline-style tables for passengers. Useful safety technology like front and rear parking sensors and adaptive cruise control are also fitted. Upgrading to the SE Family trim adds sat nav, on-board internet, a panoramic sunroof and automatically locking rear doors.

SEL models add technology like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while R-Line Tourans have a sportier look thanks to 18-inch wheels and a unique bodykit.

In 2015 the Touran was given a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP, but this was downgraded to four stars when the Touran was tested again in 2022 under stricter regulations. Autonomous emergency braking is standard from SE trim and above, while post-collision braking (which helps prevent secondary impacts), tyre pressure warnings and a roster of airbags are all standard.

Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

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