Volkswagen Touran: 'This is the one likely to give you the best return on your investment'
The seven-seater market isn't known for being the trendiest end of the market, and an MPV tends to be a car that you need, rather than want to buy.
Certain cars make that prospect a little bit less scary though. Take the new Volkswagen Touran for example, which as people-carriers go, is not a bad looking machine at all.
Space and comfort
Now based on the same MQB platform as the Golf – its sleek new lines give it a neater, more car-like look, despite the fact that its actually bigger inside than the last one. This is good news for families in the tricky position of having more than two car seats to carry, as the middle row is wide enough to accommodate three of them side by side. Two more Isofix anchors in the back row makes it possible (in theory) to carry five children in car seats around at a time.
Like most cars in this class however, that back row does eat heavily into boot space and leaves little room for all the equipment tiny passengers tend to come with. So those who need to carry more than four on a regular basis may still need to consider something in the class above.
Fold that back row down though and what you're left with is a cavernous 743 litres of space – more than enough to fit a stroller or three, and of course it's always handy to have the option of those extra seats when you're asked to carry little friends here and there.
What’s in the cabin
The interior has improved dramatically on the previous model and is now finished to the same high standards that we have come to expect from the Volkswagen Group. Some thoughtful touches like fold-down lap trays/iPad holders should help keep kids occupied on longer journeys (and save your upholstery from the dreaded crumbs/mashed banana that seem to find their way into every nook and cranny). A total of 47 storage compartments around the cabin should mean every favourite toy finds a happy home.
Value for money
There are toys for the adults too, and standard equipment across the range is pretty generous. Priced from €30,500, the entry-level Trendline models get air-conditioning, Bluetooth, USB connectivity and a 5 inch colour radio system. For a premium of €2,250, the mid-spec Comfortline will add 16 inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, park distance control, cruise control, and a 6.5 inch infotainment system.
Fully loaded Highline models get upgraded exterior styling with 17 inch alloy wheels and sports suspension for some real 'Daddy-cool'. Inside you'll find the latest in in-car technology, including adaptive cruise control, and the new 'Pure Air' three-zone climate control – which will filter and improve the quality of the air coming into the cabin through the air conditioning, and help protect the little lungs in the back.
Prices range from €30,500 for the entry-level 1.2l petrol to close to €40k for the top of the range 2.0l diesel. The volume seller here will be the 1.6l 110HP TDI in the Comfortline trim, sitting in the middle at about €34,500.
Performance & Running Costs
The handling has improved considerably on the previous model, and it is now built on Volkswagen's advanced MQB platform (a longer version of the Golf chassis), leaving the drive quality all the more car-like as a result. The 1.6l TDI will return about 64 miles to the gallon and a reduction in weight and CO2 emissions reduces the annual motor tax bill to €200.
The parking sensors standard on the mid-spec models upwards should help quash any concerns about its bulk, and the light steering at low speeds makes it surprisingly easy to manoeuvre in tight spots. It might be a stretch to call it engaging but it's certainly not a car you'd mind taking a long journey in.
Safety is more likely to be of bigger concern than driving dynamics, and as well as a full five star NCAP crash test rating, you can also spec it up with extra driver-assisting features like lane change assist , automatic distance control and a reversing camera.
Reliability and Ownership
Most of the components used in the Touran have been well tested across the VW Group range with no issues to report, and the previous model proved itself to be a long-lasting and reliable workhorse. Nothing holds its value quite like a Volkswagen either, and while there may be cheaper rivals out there, the Touran is the one likely to give you the best return on your investment down the line.
Volkswagen have done an awful lot here to take the hassle out of carrying little people around, and managed to do it in a bit of style too.