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Volkswagen Touran S BlueMotion Technology 1.6 TDI

Click to view picture gallery“Volkswagen’s Touran is a seven-
  seater, mid-sized MPV aimed at the
  family user although many serve as
  week-day business transport then
  at weekends and holidays double-up
  as the ‘family minibus’

THE NEW TOURAN gets to the UK market before its main rival, the new Ford C-Max. Like the latest VW Sharan large MPV, it draws on the design language seen on the Golf and Polo with a mix of clean lines and a lower, wider appearance. More of a model refresh rather than an out-and-out new model.

Externally, the changes extend to the front wings, bonnet and front bumper which are joined by new door mirrors, rear lights and a restyled tailgate and bumper.

Inside the latest Touran the entertainment and climate functions have all been revised and there's a new three-spoke steering wheel sitting ahead of restyled dials. Fresh trim finishes are also available.

As with the outgoing car, the new Touran's focus is on versatility — it has the ability to carry seven adults and for load-lugging the third row of seats fold flat into the floor. In addition, air conditioning, alloy wheels, roof rails, a CD stereo system, ABS, Electronic Stabilisation Programme (ESP) and six airbags are all fitted as standard. For the record, a five-seat option can be specified.

The second generation of the impressive Park Assist (priced at 580) is also available. Not only does this upgraded parking system require less space to perform parallel parking manoeuvres, it also allows the Touran to be parked in spaces at 90 degrees to the kerb.

“For stretched family
budgets the best is the
103bhp 1.6 turbodiesel
model priced at 19,415
— it returned an
impressive real-world
58.7mpg on test
Fitted for the first time to the Touran is the advanced new 1.2-litre TSI petrol engine. Despite a modest displacement of 1,197cc, the turbocharged unit develops 103bhp and 129lbs ft of torque while returning a useful 44.1mpg on the combined cycle and emitting 149g/km of CO2 which incurs just 125 road tax.

In BlueMotion Technology specification (complete with Stop/Start and battery regeneration systems), the 1.2-litre TSI engine is capable of returning 47.9mpg while emitting an estimated 139g/km of CO2, bringing the annual road tax down to 110. As they say: every little helps.

A further petrol and four diesel engines are also available, ranging in power from 88 to 167bhp. Three trim levels — S, SE and Sport — are available with BlueMotion Technology variants being offered with each.

The best, I think, because of stretched family budgets is the 1.6 TDI 103bhp turbodiesel version in S specification priced at 19,415 — as tested here. With an official fuel consumption in the Combined Cycle of 61.4mpg (and an impressive real-world 58.7mpg on test) and with CO2 emissions of 121g/km, VED road tax is 0 in the first year and then 90 per annum. As many will be used as company cars, the Benefit-in-Kind tax rate is 18 per cent and the insurance rating is 14E — these relatively low running costs will certainly help the family budget.

Being the lowest — S — specification really is no hardship if we are being practical because electronic stability control, seven seats, a full range of air bags, remote central locking, electrically-operated windows and door mirrors, Stop/Start function, on-board computer, air conditioning, cruise control, stereo sound system and even alloy wheels are all standard and represent a desirable package that won't break the bank. Admittedly the grey plastic dashboard looks a bit drab but it will be durable and, of course, easy to keep clean — practical given that children are likely to be the main passengers.

The 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine defies its size; it feels strong and responsive, very flexible in traffic and good for acceleration on the open road thanks to the 103bhp of power and healthy 185lb ft of torque from just 1,500rpm. It is another of these new modern 'downsized' engines at its very best. Top speed is 116mph and zero to 62mph takes 12.8 seconds — no ball of fire but certainly good enough and fit for purpose.

It's also easy to drive, handles well, is easy to park and it looks good plus it is economical. Not much else we could expect, really, for a family car with seven seats — and it looks like a Golf!

So, reasons to buy include good exterior Golf-style looks, flexible and easy to use seating, strong and fuel-efficient engine, solid performance and safe handling. Reasons to shop elsewhere? Nary a one! — David Miles

Volkswagen Touran S BlueMotion Technology 1.6 TDI | 19,415
Maximum speed: 116mph | 0-62mph: 12.8 seconds | Overall test MPG: 58.7mpg
Power: 103bhp | Torque: 185lb ft | CO2 121g/km