A strong contingent of Volkswagen's generally excellent four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines are on offer in the Touran. On the petrol side, there are 104bhp 1.2 and 138bhp 1.4 options, and on the diesel buyers can opt for an entry-level 89bhp 1.6, or more palatable 104bhp 1.6, 138bhp 2.0 and 168bhp 2.0 options.
The 1.2 TSI unit is smooth, quiet and refined. Off the line it can feel underpowered, as it does near the top of the rev range, but progress is swift when peak torque kicks in between 1550rpm and 4100rpm.
The 1.4 TSI model never feels underpowered, even when crammed with a taxi load of Autocar staffers. Power delivery is smooth and consistently linear, plenty of torque makes it responsive and there’s 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.
Diesel wise, the 89bhp 1.6 feels gutless and should be avoided unless you really have to have that VW badge; that being so, save yourself a few hundred quid and buy the entry-level – and more powerful – 1.2 TSI model.
The impressive 104bhp 1.6 TDI suits the Touran well. It is surprisingly nippy in stop-start town traffic and its refined cruising ability makes motorway travel genuinely relaxing. Best of all, Volkswagen claims 61mpg on the combined cycle, which equates to a range of over 800 miles.
The 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel is a responsive, quiet thing, mated to a slick-shifting manual gearbox, while the more powerful 168bhp 2.0 TDI gives the Touran flexible performance and relaxed motorway manners, along with a 0-62mph time of 8.9sec and a 132mph top speed. Although the 2.0-litre diesels are impressive, the smaller and cheaper 1.6 TDI does much the same, so this would be where our money went on a Touran.