New Volkswagen Touran first drive
This range is a seven seater midsized MPV, aimed at the family user but 60 per cent of customers will be fleet buyers, many used for midweek business before becoming the 'family minibus' at weekends and for holidays.
Around 8,000 of them are sold each year in the UK.
Prices range from £17,585 up to £25,535 and the likely best selling version, the SE 1.6-litre TDI 105PS turbodiesel with BlueMotion technology and 6-speed manual transmission, costs £21,340.
Nearly 90 per cent of Touran UK sales are diesel powered and the SE specification appeals to 55 per cent of customers.
The new Touran gets to the UK market before its main rival, the new Ford C-Max. Like the latest 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 than the model it replaces.
It is more of a model refresh than being out-and-out new. The changes extend to the front wings, bonnet and front bumper which are joined by new wing mirrors, rear lights and a restyled tailgate and bumper.
Inside the latest Touran the entertainment and climate functions have all been revised and a new three-spoke steering wheel sits ahead of restyled dials. Fresh trim finishes are also available.
As with the outgoing car, the new Touran's focus is on versatility, with the ability to carry seven adults with the third row of seats folding 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. A five-seat option is also available.
The second generation of the impressive Park Assist priced at £580 is also available. Not only does the new 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.
Touran engines and performance
Fitted for the first time to the Touran is the advanced new 1.2-litre TSI petrol engine.
Despite a modest displacement of 1,197 cc, the turbocharged unit develops 105PS and 175Nm (129lbs ft) of torque while returning 44.1 mpg on the combined cycle and emitting 149g/km of CO2 which means just £125 in VED road tax.
In BlueMotion Technology form, 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 and so the road tax comes down to £110.
A further petrol and four diesel engines are available, ranging in power from 90 to 170PS. 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 105PS turbodiesel version with S specification and priced at £19,415.
With an official fuel consumption in the Combined Cycle of 61.4mpg (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 so these relatively low running costs will help the family budget.
Being the lowest S specification really is no hardship if we are being practical with 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 making up a desirable package without breaking the bank.
True the dashboard with its grey plastic looks a bit drab but it will be durable and of course easy to keep clean 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 105PS (104bhp) of power and a healthy 185lb ft of torque from just 1,500rpm.
It is one 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 good enough
It is easy to drive, handles well, it's 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.
Volkswagen Touran MILESTONES
New Volkswagen Touran S BlueMotion Technology 1.6 TDI 105PS 6-speed.
Price: : £19,415.
Engine/transmission: 1.6-litre, four cylinder, turbodiesel, 105PS (104bhp), 185lb ft of torque from just 1,500rpm, 6-speed manual.
Performance: 116mph, 0-62mph 12.8mph, 61.4mpg (58.7mpg on test), CO2 121g/km, VED £0 First Year rate then £90 per year, BIK company car tax 18%.
Insurance group: 14E.
Capacity: Seven seats, boot space 121-1,913-litres.
For: Good exterior Golf style looks, flexible easy to use seating, strong and fuel efficient engine, solid performance, safe handling.
Against: Nothing really but trim looks a bit drab.