VW Touran moving experience for family

Volkswagen's Touran is a solid, no-nonsense compact people-carrier, says Iain Dooley, PA senior motoring writer.

Engines – You know what you're getting with a Volkswagen, and in the case of the Touran it's plenty of choice in the engine department. VW is famous for its refined and economical diesel units, which makes choosing one a simple task if you routinely rack up the miles. Petrol units are just as good if you predominately stick to the urban crawl.

Exterior – The Touran won't win any design awards for its looks, but what it lacks in sparkle it makes up for in practicality. With wide-opening doors and an upright stance, getting in and out of the cabin is straightforward. It's the same at the back, with the car's wide opening tailgate revealing a flat load bay.

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Interior – Durability is the key factor when considering a family car, and the Touran's cabin is built to last. That's not to say it's a low-rent interior – far from it, as the cabin ambience is genuinely impressive and very much at odds with the car's asking price. Furthermore, there's plenty of room for passengers, ample storage space and refinement when on the move to rival far more expensive machinery.

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Driving – Keen drivers might want to look away now, as the Touran won't put a smile on your face like a Ford C-Max or Grand C-Max will. What the practical VW people-carrier will do is deliver you safely and with minimal fuss to your destination. It's a refined and easy-to drive-car – attributes that will be more important to the family owner than outright handling – and the various engines do a great job. For maximum satisfaction it's got to be diesel power, though.

Ownership – Easy to own and drive, the Touran will soon feel like part of the family. Boasting plenty of useful features, a durable cabin, no shortage of rear load space and flexible seating options, this high-rise family hatchback ticks many of the boxes regarding ease of use for a busy and demanding family.

What to look for – With its family-orientated role, the potential for a Touran to suffer abuse is considerable. As such, it's important to thoroughly check the condition – inside and out – of your chosen car. Also, a test-drive is a must to help you spot less-than-perfect on-road behaviour. If you find a fault it's worth walking a way – likewise if there's no evidence of any documentation, such as the service history.

Model history – 2003, Volkswagen launches new compact people-carrier, the Touran. Good choice of petrol and diesel engines available, along with both manual and automatic gearbox options. Flexible five and seven-seat layouts supported by durable cabin and generous amount of occupant space. Good standard kit list boosted by plenty of cost options. Mild cosmetic revisions see car more closely align itself with Golf and Tiguan.

Reasons to buy – Solid build, honest character, plenty of space, frugal engines.

Reasons to beware – Not for keen drivers, conservative styling.

Pick of the range – Touran 2.0 TDI SE seven-seater.

What to pay – 2007 07 �9,425; 2007 57 �9,600; 2008 08 �10,625; 2008 58 �10,725; 2009 09 �12,175; 2009 59 �12,900; 2010 10 �14,075; 2011 60 �15,500. Showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.

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