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Space and comfort

Justin Harper
Justin Harper • 5 min read
Space and comfort
Volkswagen launches the second-generation Touran with lots of changes.
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Volkswagen launches the second-generation Touran with lots of changes.

Most of us should know that Touran is a multi-purpose vehicle produced by Volkswagen. After all, the auto manufacturer has sold almost two million units since the MPV was launched in 2003.

The Touran’s combination of space, comfort and practicality has proved to be a winning formula for VW. Fast forward to 2016 and it was time to unveil the second-generation Touran, complete with a few improvements. While it may not look that different from the first-generation model, there are plenty of changes actually. These include the engine, the seating system and even the air-con.

Visually, the car keeps the same overall shape of its predecessor, but it is now much better- looking, owing to its more chiselled lines and tapered roof. Once you look a little more closely, many of the new details begin to catch your eye. These include the new-styled LED headlights, which are now much sharper as they are cut into the radiator grille.

Inside, the interior could rival the space of a shoebox apartment. This spaciousness is not just confined to the front seats. There is also ample leg room in the second and third rows. The cabin is very well thought-out and organised. There are flip-up trays for the second- row passengers, which will appeal to parents as they can be locked at various angles. Perfect for the McDonald’s drive-thru or to view an iPad.

The Touran features a new fold-flat seating system, which is a quick and easy way to push down the back seats to make more space. Both the second and third rows can be folded down, which will extend your luggage space to an impressive 1,857l. In addition, the whole cabin benefits from Volkswagen’s new Pure Air Climatronic air-conditioning system, which has an active biogenic filter to keep the air fresh and free of pollutants.

My test-drive model was the Comfortline edition, which features a panoramic sunroof and rear-view camera, as well as keyless entry. The camera is a no-brainer for a car of this size and really helped when reverse- parking. The sunroof was opened intermittently, in between rainstorms. Even when closed, it still gave much light and airiness to the cabin.

MPVs often get stereotyped as slow and clunky cars designed for soccer mums. In a sense, this is true. But the new breed of MPVs is much faster and has more power to avoid embarrassment to any kids in tow. The Touran is a good example of these modern MPVs. It is actually quite zippy for a mini-van and it is hard to believe it is powered by a humble 1.4l engine.

It really does not feel like such a small engine is powering such a big car, given its speed and agility on the tarmac. The pocket-rocket of an engine can actually get from 0 to 100kph in just 8.9 seconds, proving it is no slouch. Most Touran drivers are unlikely to demand such speed from a standing start, unless they are very late for a school pickup. What I also liked about the MPV was the high seating position and excellent all-round visibility.

Drive-wise, the best way to describe the Touran is that it is like an elevated Golf. It is as nippy as a Golf and handles just as well. But given its height, you do not want to push it too hard when going around corners. There is a choice of driving modes and Sport mode has always been my favourite. It makes a big difference too in the Touran, and it feels punchier on the throttle and the steering. There is also an Individual driving mode, which lets you set up things the way you like. But I was happy to leave the Touran in Sport mode even if it was not the most fuel-efficient mode. Like all VWs, the MPV’s fuel consumption is excellent. The fuel gauge hardly moved all weekend when I was driving the vehicle.

Not only is the Touran spacious inside, but there are clever little compartments dotted around the cabin. There are about 40 cubby holes that can hold anything from your house keys to large water bottles. There is even a CD player above the glove box, although this is probably a little old-fashioned these days. The Touran is a car for families, obviously, and ticks all the boxes for space, comfort and practicality. But it also has a little edginess to it that will give vehicles in the same category a run for their money.

VW TOURAN
$147,900 including COE
Engine: 1,395cc, 16-valve, turbocharger
Power/torque: 150bhp/250Nm
Fuel consumption: 5.6l/100km
0 to 100kph: 8.9 seconds
Top speed: 209kph

Justin Harper is a freelance journalist with a passion for all things fast.

This article appeared in the Options of Issue 764 (Jan 30) of The Edge Singapore.

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