The Volkswagen Touran was first launched in the year 2003. This compact SUV has proven popular in Ireland among people who don’t need the added practicalities of the Sharan. Worldwide over 1.9 million Tourans have been sold. The latest generation of Touran landed in Ireland during January 2016 and for is now available as a seven-seater only. The new Touran may prove to be a favourite among parents and families as it’s practical and its more stylish now too. We attended the International launch of this vehicle during 2015 and the estimate in terms of Irish sales for 2016 is that they will sell around 400 units. The new model is 62 kg lighter and 13 mm longer than the outgoing model to make it more fuel efficient (Volkswagen reckons that it is 19% more efficient than the last version) and more spacious.
Three engines are available to the Irish market. These are made up of one petrol and two diesel options. The guess is that the 1.6 litre TDI offering a maximum power of 110 PS will be the most popular to the Irish market. This engine is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission. The other diesel option is a 2.0 litre TDI with 150bhp which is available with a six-speed manual or a six-speed DSG transmission. The petrol choice is a 1.2 TSI offering 110 PS.
On our test drive of the Touran we noticed that there was a marginal amount of body roll in corners but it handles itself better than the outgoing version and is more composed on twists and bends on Irish roads. It also soaks up general lumps and bumps well. The steering responds nicely to driver inputs too. On the motorway this is an excellent cruiser and while we didn’t over take in a single lane setting, we don’t imagine that 1.6 litre TDI will lag when needed.
There is some wind noise but virtually no road noise within the cabin that makes the new Touran an extremely refined driving experience. This wind factor is possibly on account of the shape of the car – it’s not the most aerodynamic vehicle in the world. The 1.6 litre TDI engine that powered our test vehicle is refined at cruising speeds but it can be a bit grumbly when driving at lower speeds and while accelerating. The 2.0 litre is a much more refined and noticeably powerful experience.
The interior is made up of the good stuff that you would expect from Volkswagen. It’s not the most exciting space in the world but because there are no cheap plastics parents, will be happy that the car will be able to put up with the wear and tear that kids create. It gets a sleek and stylish new dashboard design however that is finished with quality soft-touch materials and classy contrast glossy inserts. The infotainment system is typical of Volkswagen and it is easy to use. There is only one USB port in the vehicle though – which is a bit disappointing because other manufacturers offer more – nowadays people are pretty-much charging their phones 24/7!
The new Touran received a full five stars in the Euro NCAP safety tests. It achieved 88% for adult occupancy, 89% for child occupancy and 71% for pedestrian safety. There is an array of safety systems within the vehicle and each of the five seats in rows two and three have ISOFIX anchor points. There are nine airbags throughout the vehicle.
As previously mentioned, the Touran is now slightly bigger than before. In European markets it is available as a five-seater or a seven seater. The Irish market will only offer seven seats. The front row offers great space. Row two is on rails so each individual seat can slide back or forward to create more legroom or boot space (to facilitate more space in row three) with potential space is excellent for three adults. Row three is perfect for kids but two adults would fit in there at a squeeze. When the third row seats are down the massive 663 litre boot space is compromised but when both rows two and three are down the space turns into 1,860 litres.