CarsMotormouth Reviews

Touran finally gets the looks to match its personality

New Volkswagen Touran
New Volkswagen Touran

Volkswagen Touran International Launch

In the dating world, being told that your forthcoming date is lovely because “they have a great personality” is likely to send a shiver down your spine. The best that could have been said about the Volkswagen Touran up until now was that it was “practical” — in motoring terms the equivalent of saying that it wasn’t much to look at and was dreary to drive. And that was very true.

In the face of a lot of very pretty competition, such as Ford’s C-Max and Opel’s Zafira, the Volkswagen Touran started to look a bit dowdy. Sure it was well-built, and yes it was practical.

Owners would wax lyrical about the space and comfort, but if you stepped inside and were met with a sea of bleak-coloured plastics wrapped in a nondescript body shell it was hard to stay awake for the rest of the story.

But, 1.6 million Tourans later, the latest all-new Touran is set to arrive in November. Sitting atop a new version of the MQB platform, which means it is longer, wider and has a longer wheelbase, the new Touran has undergone a quite remarkable makeover, and now no longer looks like the dreary poor relation to Volkswagen’s prettier offerings.

So, what’s new? Well, firstly, it is significantly bigger: it is 130mm longer, 41mm wider and has a 113mm longer wheelbase than the model it replaces. It does, however, sit fractionally lower, by 6mm. Bigger is obviously an advantage in the MPV world, but thankfully there has also been much work done on making the Touran more attractive.

It is much prettier than the outgoing model, with essence of Passat and Golf added to the traditional functionality of the Touran design. It works well, but really needs 17-inch wheels and above to look its best. The interior is a much more pleasant place to be, with many touches from the Golf brought across into the Touran and with nicer and brighter plastics used throughout.

The rearmost row of seats folds flat to provide a generous 663-litres of boot space. And, significantly, the Touran has ISOFIX points in all five rear seats, which is a massive boost for parents with a larger number of small kids.

For Ireland, the Touran is a seven-seater only, which means that it will sit in the range above the Golf SV and just below the recently-reintroduced Sharan. The engine line-up is pretty straightforward for Ireland. There is one 1.2-litre petrol engine, putting out 110bhp, and this will be well suited to those who spend most of their time in town and don’t really stretch the car’s legs, which a diesel really needs. The 1.6-litre diesel is and will remain the top seller. Power has gone up fractionally to 110bhp (from 105bhp) and 250Nm of torque and this with a 6-speed manual transmission is capable of returning 4.4l/100km and boasts emissions of just 115g/km.

At the top of the range for Ireland is the 2.0-litre 150bhp TDI, which despite the extra power returns around the same fuel economy figures as the 1.6-litre TDI and equally low emissions of 115g/km.

Specification for the Irish market, according to Volkswagen, has yet to be fully finalised but highlights will include Front Assist and the City Emergency Braking system as standard. All models will get air conditioning and Bluetooth and buyers who move up from Trendline to Comfortline will get 16-inch alloys, cruise control with fatigue detection and a leather multi-function steering wheel.

At the top of the range, the Highline model will feature Adaptive Cruise Control as standard, three-zone climate control, 17-inch alloy wheels and folding mirrors.

Pricing, too, has yet to be finalised but the model will start from €29,500 and the best-selling 1.6-litre 110bhp diesel model will start from €31,715. The new model will go on sale in November, in time for the 161 registration and full pricing and specification will be released prior to this.

Robbie Farrell