Car Review: Volkswagen - Touran  Series 03 (3 stars)

The Volkswagen Touran is a bit dull, but fulfils its brief with aplomb and even throws in a sliver of occasional fun.

Volkswagen isn't really the sort of manufacturer that does innovation - it is rather the sort of manufacturer that takes a concept and hones it over many generations until it is the best it can be. Look at the Golf and the Polo - two cars that have never really broken new ground (unless you count the original Golf GTI) but with every new generation they seek to become ever more refined and luxurious.

So it was when VW launched its first mid-size MPV, the Touran - there was nothing particularly new on this car that moved the game on, just an intention to relentlessly grind down the opposition by doing what they do but slightly better.

The Touran is a quiet car - its lines are really quite dull, and it screams a sort of resignation on the part of the driver to everything in life revolving around the children, which is fair enough if that's your bag. Like its rival the Vauxhall Zafira, which is based on the Astra, the Touran uses hatchback underpinnings to provide a reasonably enjoyable drive.

Despite its agility, the Touran is really geared at providing a comfortable drive - the cabin is very pleasant and well-trimmed to the high standards that you would expect from Volkswagen and the ride quality is quite impressive. Refinement at a motorway cruise makes the Touran an excellent tool for longer journeys too.

The real selling point of the Touran is the fact that Volkswagen has squeezed seven seats into its boxy confines. The difference between five and seven passengers can make or break an MPV and that added practicality stands the VW in good stead. As usual at this size those last two seats are quite cramped and only for occasional use, but they do fold flat into the floor when they aren't needed, leaving a useful boot space.

There are a number of engines available for the Touran, but just the two petrol options available since most buyers opt for one of the diesels anyway. The mix of low down torque and reasonable economy you get from the black pump is the best thing for the Touran anyway. The entry-level 1.6-litre diesel motor is the one to go for, with the others feeling a little crude.

The Touran is quite boring and unexciting to look at, but it will steadily win you over with its refinement and comfort.

Volkswagen Touran Series 03 StatisticsCar Reviews

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