Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Review: 2014 Volkswagen Touran 2.0 TDI Comfortline

Photos by Ulysses Ang
The Touran is a seven-seater?! This is the all-too common reaction when you show them Volkswagen Philippines’s entry in the MPV market. And who could blame them? At just 4,397-mm in length, it’s about the same size as a compact sedan, not an MPV. But before they could pass further judgment, they open the door and step inside. Then it makes them realize: the size is just right. Truly, an MPV shouldn’t be judged by its exterior, but by what it does with the interior. In that regard, the Volkwagen Touran comes out as a perfectly-proportioned MPV; a great choice to ferry the family around Manila’s small roads.

A walk around the Touran reveals its clean-cut and understated design. It carries the very same Volkswagen family look seen of late, but toned down further; especially in the demo unit’s Midnight Blue color. There’s absolutely no frivolous design element outside, well perhaps except for the chrome work on the grille and the standard 16-inch “Davos” alloys. But go into the details and you’ll start to appreciate the precision work done to the Touran. The heavy doors close with an authoritative “thud” while the paintwork is sublimely consistent from panel to panel. There are also some distinct details such as the side mirror turn repeaters that light up on both sides of the mirror housing and the complex-looking headlamp and tail lamp clusters. Indeed, the Touran’s exterior beauty is in its details.

Inside, the Touran’s understated execution continues. A passing glance will likely make you dismiss it as a bare-looking car; especially true since the interior’s all-black. But sit in the driver’s seat or any seat for some time and you’ll begin to appreciate the Touran more and more. There are no cheap plastics; everything is soft to the touch and finished excellently. The dashboard, the center console, the door panels—they all exude a high-quality feel. Like its exterior, the Touran scores no points for interior design, but everything works very well with excellent ergonomics and precise controls.

The seating positions is typical MPV which means it’s a bit raised compared to that of a compact sedan, but lower than that of a crossover. The steering wheel adjusts for tilt and reach while the driver’s seat moves six ways, but the recline knob control, a Volkswagen trademark, is a love-it-or-hate-it affair. Given that the second and third row seats have to sit five more adults, the comfort is a bit compromised. Those in the second row still have supportive seats with adjustable headrests, but the cushion length is a bit lacking meaning those requiring good thigh support will find long travels on the uncomfortable side. Meanwhile, the third row is clearly designed as jump seats with its thin cushion and knees-up seating. That said, given most families will use only the first two rows of seats, the Touran is more than comfortable enough for city driving.

While the Touran feels a bit compromised in terms of seat comfort, there’s no denying that it’s the king of hauling. There is ample storage scattered through the Touran including a large overhead roof console for the front row. The second row reclines, folds, and slides in three while the third row folds flat in two creating more than 500 seat combinations. With 121 liters of luggage space with all seats up, the Touran can expand almost magically to 1,989 liters with the second and third row seats folded. It must be noted though that to make all that space, the Touran ditches the spare tire. It only has an air pump and a can of sealant in case of emergencies.

Seating configurations aside, what really sets the Touran apart from the sea of MPVs is its surprisingly good road manners. From the get-go, the Touran immediately feels sophisticated. Twist the 2.0-liter TDI engine to life, and you’ll be amazed at how quiet it sounds. There’s almost no diesel clatter inside or out, something that can’t be said with some German cars at twice or thrice the Touran’s price. Slot the gearbox into ‘D’ and gingerly press the throttle and the Touran moves with immediateness thanks to the six-speed DSG (dual-clutch) gearbox. With only 110 horsepower on tap, the Touran may seem underpowered on paper. In reality though, the gearbox works wonders to keep the engine in the optimum making the Touran surprisingly lively to drive. Plus, the gearbox is well-engineered with none of the usual problems commonly associated with dual-clutch gearboxes such as lurching or gear hunting. This makes the Touran an absolute joy to drive even in stop-and-go traffic. And speaking of traffic, despite not being equipped with Volkswagen’s BlueMotion technology (idle start/stop, low rolling resistance tires, etc.), the Touran still manages 10.10 km/L in pure city traffic.

Don’t let the Touran’s boxy looks fool you either: this MPV loves corners. Underneath is a well-tuned all-around independent suspension with double wishbones in front and multi-links at the back. Yes Manila, the Touran’s got the same suspension as the Mark VI Golf, so you know where it got its driving genes. The overall experience is a nice balance between handling and comfort. The electric power steering is light, but responsive. The chassis absorbs all sorts of ruts, bumps, and potholes while remaining lively and entertaining through corners. The body feels rigid with absolutely no wiggles or rattles. It’s mighty quiet too with road, tire, and wind noise kept to a minimum even at speeds past 100 km/h. Perhaps the only limiting factor to the Touran’s driving fun is its higher center of gravity (again, it’s a vertically stretched Golf) and the less than stellar front three-quarters visibility with the A-pillars always getting in the way.

Now comes the hard part: the price. At P 1,775,000, it’s easy to see why a lot of people are turned off by the pint-sized Touran. It doesn’t help too that it doesn’t dig deep in terms of luxury features. Or does it? Aside from the obvious absence of leather seats and a sunroof, everything you could wish for in an MPV is standard: automatic headlights with daytime running lights, front and fog lamps, privacy glass, power folding mirrors, parking sensors, a good sound system with USB input and 8 speakers, and a multi-function computer. Even in terms of safety, the Touran’s got it all: 6 airbags, anti-lock brakes, and stability control. In fact, it’s got everything you need in an MPV.

On the surface, the Volkswagen Touran may seem too small, too simple, too bare—but these adjectives clearly fit only the misinformed. Dig deeper and you’ll find a sophisticated MPV that handles beautifully, swallows seven without taking up a huge footprint, and loaded with features you’ll actually need. Yes, the Touran may not be as spacious as other larger MPVs and may lack leather seats, but it’s designed and engineered where it counts. That single reason alone is why you should show some love to the Touran. After all, it’s the MPV for car enthusiasts.

2014 Volkswagen Touran 2.0 TDI
Ownership 2.0 TDI ComfortLine
Year Introduced 2013
Vehicle Classification Luxury MPV
The Basics
Body Type 5-door MPV
Seating 7
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.0
Aspiration Turbocharged
Layout / # of Cylinders Inline 4
BHP @ rpm 110 @ 2,750-4,200
Nm @ rpm 280 @ 1,750-2,750
Fuel / Min. Octane Diesel
Transmission 6 AT
Cruise Control Yes
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,397
Width (mm) 1,794
Height (mm) 1,674
Wheelbase (mm) 2,678
Curb Weight (kg) 1,582
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone
Rear Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Tires 205/55R16
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes
Exterior Features
Headlights Halogen
Fog Lamps Front, Rear
Auto Lights Yes
Auto Wipers No
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjustment Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Manual
Seating Surface Fabric
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 30/40/30 (2nd), 50/50 (3rd)
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes
Climate Control No
Audio System Stereo
No. of Speakers 8
Steering Wheel Controls Yes


  1. Any news if VW is bringing in the Sharan? Toureg is ok but too small for a 7-seater.

    Sharan can also be a good alternative to the Alphard which is everywhere nowadays as Toyota has very little competition in the luxury van market.

  2. Is it possible to order the Touran with Bi_Xenon HEadlamps , Frontparkingsensors and an VW Soundsystem as an extra?

  3. I don't know... That 1.7M price tag is just too much. Maybe at 1.3M its a viable option.

  4. I agree with all your observations about the Touran, particularly that it is ergonomically faultless but lacks any sense of flair or style in its design. I test-drove it myself and found the ride and steering excellent, but the acceleration from a complete stop is a bit slow especially when compared with its competitor of the same class, the Kia Carens.

    If this had been priced between 1.4-1.6M, then it would have been a compelling buy. At this price, I would consider a Peugeot 5008, which is slightly larger and has a bit more toys for the price.

  5. Wish VW equipped the touran with the 170hp version of the 2.0 TDI, it would make the price tag easier to swallow

  6. please do peugeot 5008.

  7. Please do a testreview about the Peugeot 5008. They updated the price for the 5008 lately. Does this mean we get the facelifted version? Thx

  8. Please do a Review of the Peugeot 5008 and 5008.

  9. The touran drives nicely and comfortably around the city and out of town with very good fuel efficiency because of its diesel engine and DSG gearbox. It is not too big nor too small for an Asian family of five, with the third row seats just used for baggages/luggages. It has all the right and important specs and features of an MPV, except that it does not have the usual spare tire and tool set which you have to buy separately if you can't drive without them. VW reduced Touran's price by P100k, so I bought it anyway. It is a volkswagen and there is a good feeling in driving a vehicle na wala pang kapareho sa kalye.

    1. If no spare tire @ least an electric pump will do. An air pump will give u a heart attack!

    2. It comes with an electric pump and sealant, but no tools for removing tires. I wonder why?

  10. The Kia Carens is a better value than this. Much more stylish in and out as well.