Volkswagen has introduced the latest generation of its best selling Touran at the Frankfurt show last year, and needless to say that we were eagerly awaiting a test drive of this (very)important car. We drive here for you the very smooth 1,2 liter TSI version, coupled to the manual 6 speed transmission. It adds indeed much mechanical refinement to this spacious people carrier, which displays amply the “savoir faire” of the VW group in making truly outstanding (passenger) cars. Just read on…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Timeless and well proportioned, uniquely VW…
The new Touran looks stylish from any angle, in the typical timeless VW design language, with clean surfaces, angles and proportions. Its build quality and sturdiness of the used materials is beyond reproach, as is paint quality and finish. Our test car was sprayed in Caribbean Blue Metallic, and as the photos show, this suits it very well.
The body oozes good workmanship, and the same quality feel pervades the interior. Titanium black glossy surfaces, shining in lacquered finish, dashboard coverings of high quality material, executed in decent storm grey. Our test car came in the top of the line “Highline” finish level, which gave the cabin a high-class aura, down to led light contours on the door panels…
Instrumentation is an all-time VW classic, of a styling reminiscent of the first Phaetons, and we have to admit that when enjoying the whispering silence and comfort of this Touran, we had to think back to the happy days we spent at the wheels of this magnificent Phaeton at the time of its introduction.
Indeed, the Touran breathes the same engineering excellence, the same mechanical perfection and smoothness, the well struck balance between comfort and responsive handling, the same immaculate finish as its premium class ancestor.
Knobs and handles are falling easy into hand, the commands are feeling slick and precise, and are all illuminated at night (or for example when entering darker tunnels or parking houses), which is such a blessing. Indeed, how often have we fumbled on the unlit steering wheel commands on a night or evening drive, or when entering an underground parking. Not in this Touran…
The infotainment, phone and navigation commands are intuitive and one finds very easily its way. Our test car came with a GSM or smartphone interface with WLAN hotspot, a USB interface for I Phone and I Pod.
Drivetrain with state of the art refinement…
Pushing the starting button starts a super smooth, silent 1,2 liter four cylinder, which is barely audible. It revs eagerly at the slightest blip of throttle, and it is indeed quite responsive. It needs to be as the Touran is 1436 kg heavy. The turbo driven 110 HP has a rather easy play with the Touran, and never really feels underpowered, even at lower revs, as there is healthy pulling power available with torque being 175 Nm between 1400 and 4000rpm, which is a very wide rev range indeed. Maximum power of 81 kW is also available between 4600 and 5400 rpm. The engine emits a pleasant, sporting exhaust note when pulling harder, and the gearbox shifts are direct, precise and smooth, so it is rather fun to drive this TSI in a sporting manner.
Getting a clean brisk start however takes some exercise to get that right balance between clutch and throttle, but soon one gets the hang of this. Nevertheless, we think this state of the art thoroughbred engine would be even more ideally mated to the DSG box, and we would be keen to drive a Touran with this transmission. This box is unfortunately not available on the 1,2 liter TSI engine.
Performance is quite satisfactory with a 0 to 100 km/h acceleration time in 11,3 seconds, with top speed being 189 km/h. Cruising at (high) speeds is of course an exercise where VW’s excel, and also this Touran is a master in this respect. With the engine unstressed and barely audible, no wind or tyre roar to speak of, a well settled suspension, unerring straight line stability, not the slightest vibration from engine or drivetrain: these cars set the benchmark, and the Touran does this too…
The cars also scores very good on frugality; the official ECE average consumption is set at 5,4 liters, and we achieved indeed a test average of 5,8 liters/100 km with little effort.
Official CO2 emissions are quoted at 126 g/km.
At our legal cruising speeds, one can enjoy its refinement to the full, settling comfortably and snugly in the seats, and listen to the subtle notes of Brahms Violin Sonata nr. 2, or Stacey Kent’s “It might as well be spring” on her album “Dreamer in Concert”, also the nice saxophone passage in this track, played by her husband… we felt indeed even in this rather warm February month that spring was very near at the wheel of this Touran…
The beauty of balance
Besides the excellent drivetrain, a word of praise is also fitting for the way this Touran handles and drives. Its cornering behavior is exemplary, agile, and it is very good driving fun to put this car through its paces on a curvy road. The way the suspension and chassis strikes a balance between road holding and comfort tells much about the outstanding engineering quality of the VW group. Hard to surpass, certainly so in its class.
Then comes of course practicality. Remarkable is the attention to detail when it comes to make this car optimally user friendly. Door bins for example are really wide and big, rear leg room between front seats and the first row of rear seats is massive, as is boot space.
Folding tables are provided of course, and undoubtedly, young friends love a (long) drive in this Touran.
The third row seats flip open and back in seconds, the load space is completely flat and pretty wide too.
Our Touran was fitted with a WLAN hotspot, USB interface for iPhone, and the lady (as well as the master) of the house will appreciate the ParkPilot sensors fore and aft.
Our test car also came with the adaptive cruise control, which with every generation gets more accurate and progressive, and is ever more a joy to use, and we would say, is a “must” on all new cars.
Last but not least, for those sunlight lovers, we had the Sunroof Pack on our Touran, and yes indeed, it felt like spring…
The Touran will find many adepts, and embodies the experience and expertise of one of the biggest car builders in the world, and one who sees technology as most important. It scores very high indeed in many respects: timeless, elegant styling, very good build quality, high level of mechanical refinement and longevity, very economical and last but not least very pleasing to drive, striking a very good balance between driving dynamics and comfort. On top of all that it is a true champion in practicality and sheer roominess. Need we say more?
Hans Knol ten Bensel