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Engine options, speed, acceleration and refinement

Despite running on fairly skinny 16in wheels and efficiency-biased tyres, the Touran battled doggedly with slippery conditions on the day of our test and just about dipped under the 10.0sec barrier both from standing to 60mph and from 30-70mph.

In both cases, it beat the markers set by the equivalent S-Max and just about did enough to carry its bulk as keenly as plenty of smaller hatchbacks or saloons might have.

The Volkswagen Touran’s four-cylinder diesel engine is mounted traversely up front, and come with a 58-litre fuel tank

A quick-shifting DSG gearbox with well-chosen ratios combines well with an engine that has plenty of mid-range torque, so the car feels slick and flexible to drive. Mechanical refinement is very good and protection from wind and road noise likewise, making for a 3dB advantage for the Touran on cruising refinement compared with the S-Max at 50mph.

The upshot is that the Touran is quiet, responsive and easy to drive in most circumstances – typically classy from VW, then.

Real-world fuel economy is another feather in the Touran’s cap, despite the slightly uncompetitive claimed CO2 emissions suggesting otherwise.

Our True MPG testers recorded 54.4mpg for the car as an average, compared with only 43.6mpg for the equivalent manual-transmission S-Max and 50.1mpg for the manual Grand C4 Picasso BlueHDI 150.

In slippery conditions, braking performance left something to be desired, but only to the point where we’d recommend avoiding the 16in wheels that come as standard with mid-spec cars.

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Trading up to optional 17in rims would, we suspect, mitigate the shortage of grip and traction from which the car suffers and make the powertrain operate more smoothly on those rare occasions when you need to hurry the car away from a standstill – and all without adversely affecting the ride much.