Useful detail changes to a decent package. Otherwise as you were

What's new?

Not a lot. I think you'd call this finessing. There aren't huge changes to the facelifted Touran – which went on sale in the UK last week – but there have been plenty of detail tweaks to Volkswagen's five- or seven-seat compact MPV.

Visual newness stretches to new, Eos-esque headlights and chrome grille surround, different tail-lights and new bumpers front and rear. Inside, surfaces have been upgraded and switches tidied. There's steel finishing on the dials and a metallic finish to the centre console.

What's it like?

It all looks and feels pretty good, really, but the rearmost chairs (a no-cost option) are a bind to get into and short on space for all but small kids.

From spring, you'll be able to add extra protection for the Touran's new bumpers with the Park Assist system. Letting the car guide you into parallel parking spaces is an odd feeling but from our experience of it abroad, it works.

Elsewhere, the ESP/ABS has been modified to supply counter-steering – a short twitch through the wheel if it thinks some corrective lock is needed. If the system kicks in under hard mid-corner braking, Volkswagen reckons stopping distances can be reduced by up to 10 per cent.

Otherwise there are no chassis changes, so the Touran remains a respectable enough drive. The 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel in our test car was a responsive, quiet thing, mated to a slick-shifting manual gearbox. The electric power steering was light and accurate, the ride fine and refinement generally good.

Should I buy one?

Yes, if you’re after a sensible family car. But if you're looking for dynamism or tactile interaction, look elsewhere. This is pure car-as-transport worthiness.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior
Title: Editor-at-large

Matt is Autocar’s lead features writer and presenter, is the main face of Autocar’s YouTube channel, presents the My Week In Cars podcast and has written his weekly column, Tester’s Notes, since 2013.

Matt is an automotive engineer who has been writing and talking about cars since 1997. He joined Autocar in 2005 as deputy road test editor, prior to which he was road test editor and world rally editor for Channel 4’s automotive website, 4Car. 

Into all things engineering and automotive from any era, Matt is as comfortable regularly contributing to sibling titles Move Electric and Classic & Sports Car as he is writing for Autocar. He has a racing licence, and some malfunctioning classic cars and motorbikes. 

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