Right, so let’s be clear about one thing: this isn’t the new Touran. It’s still the same car that’s been with us since late 2010, so that means it’s based on last-generation (relative to the seventh-generation Golf) architecture.
Seen in isolation, it’s decent enough, but against something like the latest Golf, the Touran is starting to feel its age, particularly when it comes to the switchgear and overall fit-and-finish. The way the Touran drives, too, hasn’t exactly aged well, with a bolt-upright driving position, steering that errs on the side of rubbery and a hint of a tremor through the chassis (a sign of a flexing bodyshell) over some bumps.
Again, the smallest seven-seater in VW’s local range is by no means terrible, just that the Golf Mk 7 has, to use the local idiom, “spoiled the market” for everything else in the VW range.
But what is a little more impressive about the Touran, and the reason we’re even taking a second look at a car this old, is its new (for Singapore, anyway) engine. If you want to save the trouble of reading all the way to the end of this review, we can tell you right now it’s a gem.And we should also tell you that the engine in question runs on diesel, which could be a bit of a sticking point. That’s somewhat understandable, given the astronomical car prices we have here. After all, heaven forbid that drivers of this Touran should be mistaken for someone who uses a vehicle to earn his keep (we’re not talking about racecar drivers) and not as a means of transport.
Aside from that, though, there’s very little not to like about the 1.6-litre turbo-diesel mill. There’s always a beefy glut of torque on tap, there’s impressive directness and snappy shifts from the 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox, and it’s impressively hushed on the inside. To sweeten the deal further, the diesel-powered Touran will return 15km/L without any apparent effort (claimed 21.7km/L).
Yes, it’ll cost quite a lot more in road tax annually ($1,382 versus $742, if this Touran ran on petrol), but you should also factor in how it can currently go for a claimed 1,302km between fill-ups. Then there’s also how diesel fuel costs around 20 percent less than petrol.
Even better than that is how the diesel-powered Touran, priced at $156,800, is the cheapest in the Touran range. Now, if its relatively small price tag, its superlative fuel economy and the great pulling power of the engine aren’t enough to convince punters to go diesel (or at least, give it a second look), probably nothing will.
ENGINE 1598cc, 16-valves, inline-4, turbo-diesel
MAX POWER 105bhp at 4400rpm
MAX TORQUE 250Nm at 1500-4500rpm
GEARBOX 7-speed dual-clutch with manual select
0-100KM/H 12.8 seconds
TOP SPEED 183km/h
CONSUMPTION 21.7km/L (combined)
CO2 EMISSION 121g/km
PRICE INCL. COE
$156,800 (after $10k CEVS rebate)
Touran 1.4 TSI