The TSI moniker on the back of this Touran - Volkswagen has taken their 1.4-litre petrol unit and attached an engine driven supercharger along with an exhaust gas turbocharger, and installed it in their midi-MPV. The idea here is to provide performance levels you would more likely associate with a bigger capacity engine, while still maintaining decent fuel economy.
It’s an award-winning engine and this is the less powerful version of VW’s two Twincharger units (a 168bhp derivative exists but is only available in Golf).
Still, 139bhp and a combined fuel figure of 37.7mpg is impressive, particularly when considering that this car is over 3 seconds quicker to 60mph than the 1.6-litre Touran.
What’s it like?
Impressively spritely. With power delivery so smooth and consistently linear throughout the rev range, it's difficult to detect when the supercharger or turbocharger are working. Even when crammed with a taxi load of Autocar staffers, the Touran never felt out of breath. The torquey engine is responsive and provides plenty of in-gear flexibility.
It feels refined on motorway cruises too and when the engine is idling, virtually no noise filtrates to the cabin.
Yet, even for a people-lugger, the Touran is exceptionally dull to look at. Inside, everything fits and works with typical Germanic functionality but it is just so dour. Some of the plastics used at the base of the dash and around the transmission cover are starting to look (and feel) a bit low rent too.
Should I buy one?
Renault’s Grand Scenic is a more stylish alternative but if you can live with the (lack of) looks, the Touran is a decent family car, comfortable and enjoyable to drive with lots of space/seating/practicality on offer. The new engine simply sweetens an already good deal.