Saturday 10 December 2016

VW back with seven-seater bang

Number one seller steers away from scandal with new Touran

Martin Brennan

Published 10/01/2016 | 02:30

Family orientated: The new Volkswagen Touran has five Isofix anchor points
Family orientated: The new Volkswagen Touran has five Isofix anchor points

The VW group is to start correcting cars and commercial vehicles affected by the Dieselgate emissions scandal in the coming weeks. About 80,000 vehicles sold in Ireland with 1.2, 1.6 and 2-litre diesel engines will be recalled.

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Also included in the recall will be about 35,000 vehicles imported privately or by garages from the UK which have now been registered here.

The company says that the work will take about one hour and it is understood that customer care plans may include courtesy cars if necessary and along with a free valet as part of a goodwill package.

"We will be starting shortly to bring them in and our dealers are ready to welcome the owners of vehicles involved," a company executive said.

No compensation is planned although a number of law firms are acting for clients and other firms have advertised their services to owners of affected vehicles.

The company says sales have not been hit. "In fact our order bank is up by 12pc for the start of the year which is higher than the start of last year when we had a new Passat to create extra interest," the executive said.

Apart from the threatened law action, VW feels that rival brand outlets have been disingenuous by suggesting they would not take their cars as trade-ins. The VW group points out that their engines are mechanically sound and C02 emissions are not affected so there are no motor tax or revenue issues.

"Go to any of our dealerships and you will get a very good price for these cars," the company spokesman said.

And as VW plans to be the number one brand seller again this year, the company has had the first Irish launch of the new year with the Touran, a seven-seater MPV which boasts five Isofix anchor points for child seats.

This is a rare find and will broaden the appeal of a very functional people carrier which boasts 1,857 litres of luggage space, the largest in its class, when the second and third rows of seats are folded flat. Families will also like the 47 storage compartments dotted about the cabin which is now wider and longer. With the front passenger seat folded, it can carry 2.7m long items of cargo.

The exterior gets a much-needed improvement in styling with sharper lines but it has not shed the bulky look. Competitors include Ford Grand C-Max, Opel Zafira, Renault Grand Scenic, Toyota Verso and Citroen Grand Picasso but VW head of marketing, Paul O'Sullivan, is confident of 500 sales this year because of the space, recognised build quality and safety features which includes nine airbags. The outgoing model sold 250 last year and in its 12 years of life, sold 1.9m units.

For the driver there is a good high driving position, a seat that gives good lumbar support, a slick gear change and steering and suspension that should make light work of long journeys. Road noise has been well suppressed.

Pricing starts at €29,725 for the entry level Trendline version with 1.2 TSI 110bhp engine. The bestseller with expected 45pc of sales is expected to be the mid-level Comfortline version with a 1.6 TDI 110bhp engine with 116g/km C02 emissions (€200 road tax) with a claimed 64mpg. This has a €31,970 price tag with six-speed manual transmission with the option of a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission at €34,010.

Standard equipment includes air conditioning, and a connectivity pack which includes Bluetooth with Comfortline getting alloy wheels, fog lights, Park Distance Control, eight-speaker entertainment unit, cruise control and a folding passenger seat that can serve as a table.

Highline prices range from €33,800 to €40,523.

Sunday Independent

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