2003 Volkswagen Touran Carat 2.0 TDI from France

Summary:

Very well thought out vehicle

Faults:

Nothing really, but the rear door seems to require a good slam to shut properly.

General Comments:

We were looking for a car with 7 genuine 3-point seat belts, and it appeared that we had to go for a new or almost new car to get such a spec. Given that constraint the choice came down to a Zafira or a Touran. The Touran won because of the way in which VW have capitalised on experience of previous designs like the Zafira, and because of concerns about the Zafira's oil consumption.

The Touran appears to have benefited from extraordinary attention to detail. Things like the wipers slowing down while the car is stationary, or the clear and intuitive way in which the air conditioning controls function.

There are four trim levels for French Tourans - basic, Confort, Sport and Carat. Ours is in Carat trim, the top of the range. This means leather seats, alloy wheels, air conditioning with driver and passenger controls, tinted windows, heated seats etc. All the toys, in fact, except a CD changer which would have been nice. But in general the equipment levels are OK for a German car maker.

The 2.0 TDI engine is a cracker. It has plenty of torque for safe overtaking, and this also makes it pleasant to drive on the mountainous roads where we live. I would not recommend the 1.6 petrol engine for a seven seater like this, but the 2.0 TDI has no problem with a full car.

The flexibility of the seating was also an area where the Touran beat the Zafira. The individually fold-able middle row and the clever third row are simple to use and comfortable. We often need to transport additional children, and it is ideal to have seats there and ready for use when required, but able to be folded away.

The road holding is surprisingly good for what is a high-sided box. The body roll is very well controlled, and it really does not feel like a large car to drive.

My one criticism is with the Touran's appearance. I bought it because it promises to be very functional, not because it looks good. In fact I think nearly all the other cars in the class, like the new Scenic, the Zafira and the Picasso, are much better looking than the Touran. But luckily looks aren't everything, especially for a utilitarian vehicle like this.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd March, 2004

23rd Apr 2004, 13:39

A very understated vehicle. It deserves far more notice than it gets. Excellent quality with excellent performance and good road holding. I was most surprised when I drove the 2.0 litre diesel version. I highly recommend the Touran.

6th Jun 2004, 17:13

We hired a VW Touran 1.6 litre when having a week in Dublin lately.

The Touran looks like a compact purpose built MPV. I got used to the practical looks of the vehicle and studied the very clever well built interior. The Touran also holds the road remarkably well. The blue interior dashboard lighting is very much to my liking.

After the week, my wife and friends were greatly impressed with the Touran. It is a truly classy vehicle.

I plan to buy one very shortly.