- Easy to drive around town
- Loads of useful storage
- Solid interior
Not so great
- Boot is small with all seven seats in use
- Only high-spec models get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- It’s not going to impress the neighbours
On the inside
How much does it cost to run
Prices, versions and specification
"You can’t knock the Volkswagen Touran. It drives like a Golf but offers all the space most families could possibly wish for. It’s better value for money than an SUV while its interior outshines most rivals this side of a BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer."
While so many family buyers see an SUV like the Skoda Kodiaq or Peugeot 5008 as a default option these days, there’s still a lot to be said for the conventional people carrier.
The Volkswagen Touran sits below the Volkswagen Sharan in the firm’s range, with rivals including the Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer, BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer and Ford S-MAX. All models come with seven seats, while three individual seats in the middle row make it an ultra-usable car for larger families.
Sure, there’s not much boot space with the rearmost seats in use but they drop down easily, though, leaving ample space for carrying buggies or a weekly shop. The Touran goes much further than simply having a big boot, too - there are loads of useful cubbies and storage compartments, while even the tallest of adults will appreciate the head and legroom on offer.
For a car as practical as the Touran, it’s surprisingly easy and Golf-like to drive. Visibility is very good and all models come with front and rear parking sensors. The steering is light around town while its turning circle is usefully small. Tackling city streets or multi-storey car parks is a piece of cake.
Out of town, the Touran is equally impressive. We’d recommend one of the diesel engines if you cover a lot of motorway journeys (especially fully-laden), but the 1.4.- and 1.5-litre petrols will be more than adequate 99% of the time.
On a twisty road, the Touran remains very composed, with very little lean in the corners. It might not be quite as entertaining as the Ford S-MAX but, ultimately, it feels very safe to drive. It also rides very well, meaning potholes won’t trigger complaints from your passengers, while engine and road noise is minimal.
In terms of what you get for your money, the Touran stacks up pretty well. As well as the aforementioned parking sensors, the Touran SE comes with manual air conditioning, an electronic parking brake and DAB radio. The SE Family, as its name suggests, comes loaded with kit to make family life easier, including window blinds and child locks, while navigation will help you reach your destination.
The SEL looks a bit more premium with 17-inch alloy wheels and chrome exterior highlights, while the interior gets ambient lighting, climate control and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Topping the range is the sporty R-Line, which adds bespoke exterior styling, 18-inch alloy wheels and sporty-looking seats displaying the R-Line logo.
Prices start from around £28,500 which means it’s more affordable than seven-seat SUVs like the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, as well as premium people carriers like the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer. It offers even better value for money on the used market, where just £14,000 will buy you a well-equipped three-year-old example.
Comfort and design
"While the Touran’s seats are a little on the firm side, they’re very supportive and adjustable lumbar support is standard on the front seats across the range. This should prevent you from getting any aches or pains on a longer journey."
You can even spec the driver’s seat with electric lumbar adjustment and massage function but it's quite an indulgent (and expensive) extra, so it’s an option box that’s rarely ticked.
You sit fairly high up in the Touran, while there’s plenty of adjustment in the seats. With three individual seats in the middle row, even those in the back ought to be able to get comfortable.
The dash looks very smart, with decorative inlays in various materials depending on trim level. There’s a media system positioning neatly in the centre of the dash, with physical controls for the air conditioning system below it. You won’t find a digital instrument cluster in the Touran, but the dials are clear and easy to read.
Handling and ride quality
"There’s no need to be intimidated by the Volkswagen Touran. It feels just like a big Golf, with a slightly higher than normal seating position and good all-round visibility. Front and rear parking sensors are standard across the range (very helpful when backing into a tight space), while a rear-view camera is offered as an option when new."
Out of town, the Volkswagen Touran doesn’t lean too much in corners and responds to steering inputs neatly enough. It’s never going to be exciting, but it’s one of the more car-like people carriers to drive.
The Volkswagen Touran is offered when new with optional adaptive dampers, which can firm up the suspension at the touch of a button when you’re in the mood for sporty driving. It’s an expensive option, though and a bit pointless in a car like this - so few buyers bother.
Even with the larger 18-inch alloy wheels fitted, the Touran rides very well on its standard suspension. You won’t feel too many bumps from the road transferring into the cabin, which is a good thing.
MPG and fuel costs
"If you’re after efficiency, go for the 2.0-litre TDI. In 150PS flavour with the manual gearbox, it returns up to 52.3mpg in the latest WLTP fuel economy tests. That means you should get pretty close to this figure in the real world. The 115PS version is marginally less frugal as it requires working harder, officially returning up to 49.6mpg."
Buy one with the DSG automatic gearbox and you might notice a slight drop in economy - but it won’t be huge. The 150PS 2.0 TDI with the seven-speed auto ’box returns up to 51.4mpg, depending on specification.
The 1.5-litre TSI petrol is officially good for up to 41.5mpg with the manual transmission, and 42.2mpg with the auto. As it’s quite a big, heavy car, you might find it to be a bit thirstier in reality.
How much should you be paying for a used Volkswagen Touran?
"The current generation Touran has been on sale in 2015. You can save a significant amount by buying a tidy early example, which will set you back around £13,000 in SE trim. If you’d prefer something a little newer, a three-year-old example can be found from £14,000."
Want to buy an as-new car but don’t want to pay the price tag of a factory order? Look for a pre-reg or ex-demonstrator model. These’ll have been ordered and registered by dealers, and will be ready to go. We’ve seen examples with delivery miles selling for as little as £25,000 - a saving of more than £3000 compared to new.
Is the Volkswagen Touran right for you?
The Volkswagen Touran is ultra-practical family transport that’s genuinely capable of carrying seven people (provided you don’t need much of a boot). It’s at its best with five seats in use, with three individual seats in the back and lots of useful stowage areas in the front. It’s more practical than most seven-seat SUVs, while its relatively compact dimensions make it easy to park.
It drives just like a Golf - with good visibility and responsive steering, although enthusiastic drivers will find the Ford S-MAX and BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer a little more fun to drive. It’s less bus-like than a Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer, though.
What’s the best Volkswagen Touran model/engine to choose?
Although diesels are out of fashion, we reckon the 2.0-litre TDI is the best engine in the Touran. If you only cover low miles, though, or spend most of your time driving around town, both the 1.4- and 1.5-litre TSI petrol are absolutely fine, providing you don’t want sparkling performance.
All models are well-equipped. We wouldn’t necessarily bother with the top-spec R-Line model - it’s quite expensive and some of its features (like the big 18-inch alloy wheels) aren’t really necessary in a sensible people carrier like this. The sensible money goes on SE Family or SEL models, although the basic Touran SE does the job if you’re on a budget.
What other cars are similar to the Volkswagen Touran?
Quality and finish
As you’d expect from a Volkswagen, the Touran feels a bit posher inside than the likes of the Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer or Ford S-MAX if not quite as upmarket as the pricier BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer.
Everything you touch feels well-finished, provided you don’t go tapping your fingers low down on the dashboard (which feels well up to the job of deflecting kids’ feet). The Touran feels well up to the job of coping with years of family life.
The top-spec Touran R-Line feels the plushest, of course, with its leather-trimmed steering wheel with grey stitching and aluminium inserts, along with sporty seats featuring microfibre side bolsters. The R-Line also gets stainless steel pedals and, on DSG models, paddle shifters behind the steering wheel.
The entry-level Touran SE comes with an eight-inch media system which doesn’t feature navigation as standard - but you can upgrade to it at a later date. It also features DAB radio, Bluetooth and an integrated SIM card.
The SE Family adds sat-nav as standard, while SEL and R-Line models come with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, allowing you to mirror apps from your phone onto the car’s display. This is a really useful feature if you want to use Google Maps navigation, for example, or access your audiobooks on the move.
Whichever model you buy, the infotainment is easy to use with logical menu layouts, clear graphics and fast responses. Unlike some cars which use a trackpad or rotary controller between the front seats, the Touran’s media system is mainly operated via the touchscreen display - some people get on well with these while others find them frustrating. There are some useful shortcuts on the steering wheel, though - to skip tracks, for example, or adjust the volume.
Space and practicality
For a car that’s not actually that huge on the outside, the Touran’s interior is incredibly spacious and versatile.
Even the tallest of adults will be able to get comfortable up front, where there’s loads of headroom and a surprising amount of legroom. The doors open wide, which helps access plus you slide across (rather than down) into the seats. There’s loads of storage in the front, too, including large door bins, a generous glovebox and numerous cup holders.
The second row is easily accessed, too. There are three individual seats back there, each big enough to accommodate an adult. They’re all equally sized and a flat floor means there’s plenty of foot room, so there needn’t be any arguments about who sits where.
It’s fair to say that the rear-most seats aren’t quite as spacious and you’ll have to be prepared for a clamber to reach them. That said, they’re more usable than those offered in rivals and even adults will find a surprising amount of space back there once in position.
If you’re looking to transport young children, the Touran offers no fewer than five Isofix points, which makes fitting a child seat easier.
With all seven seats in use, the Touran has quite a meagre boot. It’s able to accommodate just 137 litres of luggage, which is barely enough for a few shopping bags. The third row of seats can be dropped easily, though, leaving a flat floor and a much more generous 927 litres of space. Fold the second row of seats into the floor as well and you’ll find a completely flat floor and an almost van-like 1857 litres of luggage space.
As well as having a big boot (provided you’re not using all of the Touran’s seats), the luggage area is usefully square in shape and there isn’t too much of a lip for lifting heavy items over. An electric tailgate with handsfree opening (wave your foot about under the rear bumper) is a useful optional extra that’s worth looking out for.
Engines and gearboxes
When the second-generation Volkswagen Touran first went on sale in 2015, it was available with 1.2- and 1.4-litre petrol engines, as well as 1.6- and 2.0-litre diesels.
Although diesel Tourans are the most popular, we’d recommend a petrol if you don’t cover many miles. The 1.2-litre is quite rare and, with its relatively small capacity, it soon runs out of puff when fully-loaded at motorway speeds. It’s fine for bimbling around town, though.
The 1.4-litre and 1.5-litre petrols pack a bit more punch but the diesel engines require the least effort to drive. If your budget allows, we’d recommend the 2.0 TDI over the 1.6 TDI as its extra power and torque makes for a more relaxed drive. As you don’t need to work it as hard, it’s more refined and will be more frugal, too.
You’ll find Tourans available with manual or DSG automatic gearboxes. The DSG dual-clutch autos are good, with fast responses to the accelerator and near-seamless changes. That said, there are question marks over their longevity, so we’d recommend a manual if you’re concerned about running costs.
Refinement and noise levels
The Volkswagen Touran is a very quiet and relaxing people carrier, no matter which engine you choose. Sure, you’ll hear the typical clatter of a diesel motor on a cold morning with either of the TDI engines, while the 1.6-litre TDI grumbles a bit under hard acceleration, but neither of these things ought to ruin your day. Or put you off buying a Touran.
There’s a bit of wind noise, as you’d expect from a car as brick-shaped as the Touran, but it’s no worse than competitors and you’re unlikely to really notice it over the sound of the kids in the back.
There’s quite a comprehensive suite of safety systems available on the Volkswagen Touran, but not all of them are standard across the range.
The PreCrash preventive occupant protection system does things like tensioning the front seat belts, closing the electric windows and preparing the brakes if it detects an impending crash. This is standard across SE Family, SEL and R-Line models, although it was a £145 option on the SE.
On the motorway, the Side Scan system will use radar sensors to alert you to other vehicles in your blind spot, but it’s quite an expensive £525 option when new. This can be combined with Lane Assist, which alerts you when the car drifts from its lane, but that costs £1040 so it’s an option box rarely ticked.
All models come with Volkswagen’s Front Assist system, which uses radars to warn you when you get too close to the car in front. It can even apply the brakes if it detects an impending collision, which is quite useful. Other standard equipment includes seven airbags and Isofix child seat preparation points on all five rear seats.
When Euro NCAP crash tested the Volkswagen Touran in 2015, it was awarded a maximum five stars for safety. This included scores of 88% for adult occupants, 89% for children, 71% for pedestrians and 76% for its safety assist features.
Insurance groups and costs
No Volkswagen Touran should cost a fortune to insure, but it’ll be worth shopping around for quotes if you’re a young or inexperienced driver.
Look for one with the low-powered 115PS 2.0-litre TDI engine if you’re after cheap insurance as this falls into insurance group 14. The others - including the more powerful diesel and the 1.5 TSI petrol - are all categorised in insurance group 17.
VED car tax
Buy a Volkswagen Touran registered since 1 April 2017 and you’ll pay a flat rate of £150 a year in VED (car tax). That’s true for any car, hybrid and electric vehicles aside.
An earlier model will be taxed based on its CO2 emissions, so you could save money each year by buying an older car. As an example, a Touran with the 1.6-litre TDI engine officially emits 119g/km CO2, so you’ll pay just £30 a year in tax.
You won’t save a great deal of cash by buying an earlier petrol model, though. The 1.4 TSI with the manual gearbox emits 133g/km, meaning it falls into band E and will cost £150 a year in tax.
Trim levels and standard equipment
The cheapest Touran model is badged the SE. This covers the basics with 16-inch steel wheels, front and rear parking sensors (useful in a car of this size) and silver roof rails. It gets electric windows (front and rear), manual air conditioning and an electronic parking brake with auto-hold function. Infotainment is provided by an eight-inch touchscreen display with Bluetooth connectivity and DAB radio.
The SE Family adds the Discover Media Navigation system. There’s also a panoramic sunroof, rear side window blinds and electrically-activated rear door child locks. A PreCrash preventive occupant protection system is a desirable feature, too.
The SEL looks a bit more upmarket with its 17-inch alloy wheels and various chrome exterior trim highlights. The interior is posher, too, with piano black trim inserts, ambient lighting, climate control, carpet mats and Arts Velours seats with Microfibre bolsters. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, as well as Volkswagen’s We Connect Plus connectivity services.
Topping the range is the sporty R-Line model, which comes with 18-inch alloy wheels and bespoke exterior styling. Inside, you’ll find grey decorative inserts, black rooflining and grey stitching on the leather-trimmed steering wheel. The sporty seats proudly display R-Line logos, as do the door protectors. Stainless steel pedals complete the look.
On the inside
How much does it cost to run
Prices, versions and specification
Ask the heycar experts: common questions
Is the Volkswagen Touran a good car?
Yes. It's not an exciting choice but the Volkswagen Touran is a really good people carrier. It has loads of space, is comfortable and good to drive. It's also cheap to run.
Does the Volkswagen Touran have seven seats?
Yes, all Volkswagen Touran models come with seven seats as standard. The second and third rows can be dropped flat if you need to prioritise boot space.
Is the Volkswagen Touran an SUV?
No, the Volkswagen Touran is a people carrier rather than an SUV. If you'd prefer a seven-seat SUV, look at the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace instead.
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