Volkswagen Touran


Debut: 2003
Maker: Volkswagen
Predecessor: no



 Published on 13 Dec 2003
All rights reserved. 
In the era of Ferdinand Piech, Volkswagen poured too much resources into ambitious plans like Phaeton, W12 supercar, Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti. This sounded exciting to car enthusiasts, but did nothing good to Volkswagen’s own business. The most apparent is its failure to get on the trend of MAC (Multi-Activity Cars, or mini-MPV). For 7 long years since the debut of Renault Scenic, Volkswagen did not have any products to compete in this big-selling segment. This was not changed until the arrival of new boss Bernd Pischetsrieder and Volkswagen Touran.

The Touran is the first car in Volkswagen group to use the new A5 platform, or more commonly known as "Golf V platform". The biggest advantage of this platform is the use of multi-link rear suspensions and a rigid bodyshell. Other new technologies include electric power steering, FSI direct injection gasoline engines, 16-valve diesel engine and 6-speed gearbox. Besides, the Touran also offers an optional third row of seats to make it a 7-seater. On paper, no other MAC can rival it.

In real world, does it deliver what it promised?

The Touran is actually a well engineered car. Its sophisticated suspensions give it good handling and ride. Its body control remains excellent on bumpy surfaces. Its terminal understeer suits the driving style of MAC drivers. Its steering is precise and well weighted, despite of lacking feel. It is rigid and tightly screwed together, although old customers will be disappointed that Volkswagen saves money by using many low-rent plastics in the cabin. Its diesel engines are strong and performance is class-leading.

But in the end, the Touran fails to win hearts. The problem is its designers didn’t know what make people buy MAC. Look at its blend, boxy shape and you know why. The Touran is by no means fun to look. Enter the cabin and the disappointment is even greater - the dashboard design is dull, the plastics are gray, the ambience is dark. This is not a happy place for your family and kids to spend a weekend travelling.

The designers also failed to make the third row of seats right. Access to there is difficult. Head and legroom is unbearable for adults, even for short journeys. The seat can be folded flat onto the luggage floor, but unfortunately you have to detach the headrests first. For comparison, Renault Scenic is cleverer. Its 7-seat version has a longer wheelbase to provide the necessary extra room.

More unfortunate to Touran is that Renault Scenic now offers a higher-quality, more expensive-feeling and far more desirable cabin. Volkswagen’s products used to shine in quality contest. Now no more in Touran.
Verdict: 
 Published on 23 May 2014 All rights reserved. 
Touran update 2010


It is easy to overlook Volkswagen Touran in the seas of compact MPVs because it looks so bland. However, the Touran actually outsells most rivals, including Renault Scenic, Citroen C4 Picasso, Peugeot 5008 and Opel Zafira (note: Ford did not reveal the sales figure of its C-Max). In the last 10 years it sold more than 1.5 million copies. Even near the end of its lifecycle it still shifted some 135,000 units last year. Thanks must goes to its all-round ability.

The Touran was introduced in 2003 as a late response to Renault Scenic. Over the last 10 years it received a couple of facelift, first in 2006 and then a larger scale revamp in 2010, which is the car shown here. Besides, there were frequent updates of engines and equipment to keep it up to date. The 2010 facelift made it a little bit more stylish, although its boxy profile was not altered. Inside, the dashboard kept the same old-school design and construction (which came from Golf Mk5, if you remember) but adopted better plastics and added some chrome bezels to inject a new lease of quality feel. It still lacks the inviting ambience of, say, Citroen C4 Picasso, or the modern look of most other rivals. Furthermore, dark plastics and the absence of panoramic glass roof rob it of a light and airy feel that is important to an MPV. These problems will not be rectified before an all-new generation arrived.



Despite of new seat trims, the seating arrangement is the same as before. The Touran can be ordered with either 5 seats or 7 seats. The latter employs the same body with a short wheelbase of 2678 mm. This explains why the last row of seats suits only children. Average-size adults would find its knee room too tight and foot well too shallow. Moreover, unless you are Olympic gymnastic player, getting into the rearmost seat is incredibly difficult, because the short wheelbase has the length of rear doors limited. The same short wheelbase also compromises the second row legroom, so you won’t find it as spacious as, say, Citroen C4 Picasso, Ford C-Max or Opel Zafira. After all, the Touran is derived from the old PQ35 platform of Golf Mk5. It lacks the flexibility of newer platforms thus rules out of the possibility of extended wheelbase.

The seats of Touran are highly configurable, but they are not as convenient to use as newer rivals. The third row is 50/50-split and can be folded flush into the luggage floor, which is good. Not so good is the second row. It consists of 3 individual seats (though the middle one is a bit narrower, as the cabin is not wide enough to fit 3 proper seats) that can fold or slide fore and aft independently. Nevertheless, unlike most rivals they don’t fold flat into the floor or tumble forward to release a flat cargo floor. Instead, you need to detach the seats to maximize luggage space, which is rather inconvenient. If you take only 2 guys in the second row, you can give them extra shoulder room by abandoning the middle seat and attaching the outer seats at mounting points located closer the center line. Again, it is not as convenient as some rivals, such as C-Max, Zafira and Meriva, which are capable of converting from 3 to 2 seats by simple folding and sliding actions.


 
However, the Touran is better to drive. In fact, among all compact MPVs its handling is one of the best. It grips well, resists roll remarkably and steers accurately (if lacking feel). Despite of its age, the Golf V platform with multi-link rear suspension still does the job admirably. Stiffer springs mean ride comfort is not going to rival the French cars, but it is far from uncomfortable. The balance between ride and handling is similar to C-Max, although the latter has a sweeter steering and better NVH suppression.

Volkswagen’s engines and transmissions are also competitive. No matter you choose the 140 hp 1.4 TSI petrol, 105 hp 1.6 TDI, 140 hp 2.0 TDI or 177 hp 2.0 TDI turbo diesel, you will get good performance, flexibility and refinement. The Touran goes better than it looks.
Verdict:
Specifications





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
Touran 1.6 FSI
2003
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4391 / 1770 / 1634 mm
2677 mm
Inline-4
1598 cc
DOHC 16 valves
VIM
DI
115 hp
114 lbft
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: multi-link
-
205/55R16
1423 kg
112 mph*
12.2*
-
Touran 2.0TDI
2003
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4391 / 1770 / 1634 mm
2677 mm
Inline-4, diesel
1968 cc
DOHC 16 valves
Turbo
Pump direct injection
136 hp
236 lbft
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: multi-link
-
205/55R16
1561 kg
122 mph (c)
9.7*
33.8*



























Performance tested by: *Autocar





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
Touran 1.4TSI
2010
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4397 / 1794 / 1674 mm
2678 mm
Inline-4
1390 cc
DOHC 16 valves
Turbo
DI
140 hp
162 lbft
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: multi-link
-
205/55R16
-
125 mph (c)
8.9 (c)
-
Touran 2.0TDI
2010
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
4397 / 1794 / 1674 mm
2678 mm
Inline-4, diesel
1968 cc
DOHC 16 valves
VTG turbo
CDI
140 hp
236 lbft
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: multi-link
-
205/55R16
-
121 mph (c)
9.7 (c)
-



























Performance tested by: -





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