Volkswagen has given its Touran MPV a welcome facelift, and a sprinkling of new features. The headline news is the introduction of Twincharge engines which employ both a turbo and a supercharger, as well as a park assist function that enables the seven-seater to slip itself into a space within 15 seconds. The revised model hits UK showrooms in early 2007.
VW has taken the plastic surgeon's scalpel to the Touran. The chrome grille and eye-shaped headlamps are lifted wholesale from the Eos coupe/convertible. At the back, the changes are harder to spot. Tweaked lamp graphics and a curvier rear bumper are the key differences. New 'Magny Cours' 16-inch alloy wheels are an optional extra. Overall, the look is less bland, but the van-like silhouette continues to cast a very unsexy shadow.
A car that parks itself
The Touran is taking a leaf out of the Toyota Prius' book, with 'Park Assist' now on the options list. The system uses sensors to measure if a space is big enough, and then manoeuvres the Touran into the gap by itself. All the driver has to do is accelerate and brake. VW claims the manoeuvre can be done in less than 15secs. No word yet if it can avoid trundling over sandcastles.
The engine room
Six engines will be available at launch: two petrols – a 100bhp 1.6-litre and 138bhp 1.4-litre TSI – and four diesels. The oilburners comprise: 88bhp or 104bhp 1.9-litre turbo and 140 or 170bhp 2.0-litre TDI. Sadly, the UK isn't taking the flagship new petrol engine, the 170bhp 1.4-litre TSI (as used in the Golf GT). Like its lower output sibling, it uses a supercharger to maximise low-end grunt, before a turbocharger kicks in at higher engine speeds. This boosts torque across the rev range, while saving fuel. The 1.4 TSI engine can be mated to VW's quick-shifting dual-clutch gearbox.
The inside story
Evolution is the buzzword for the cabin, with new fabrics and a sprinkling of stainless steel trim. The stereo is now MP3 player compatible, too. Passenger seats can be arranged in various ways, including offset diagonally, folded down or removed. Maximum boot space is 1989 litres, if the five rear seats are folded flat.