This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Volkswagen Touran review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Petrol engines are the 1.6-litre with 100bhp, a 2.0-litre with 147bhp (discontinued in late 2006) and – from mid 2006 – a 1.4-litre TSI with 140bhp. The 1.4-litre engine is unusual as it uses a turbocharger and a supercharger for smooth power delivery and performance on demand. It gets from 0-62mph in 9.7 seconds and yet still averages 39mpg. It’s much better to drive than the 1.6-litre, with an eager nature and strong in-gear pull.

The 1.9 TDI with 90bhp or 105bhp will be quick enough for most buyers – the engine is punchy, cruises well and is very economical. The 105bhp version of this engine is also used in the Bluemotion models but thanks to longer gearing and low resistance tyres emits less CO2 and is more economical. Alternatively there’s the 2.0-litre TDI with 140 or 170bhp.

It’s significantly quicker and much smoother than the 1.9-litre, but you’ll lose out a little when it comes to fuel consumption while both are noisy. Top cars have a six-speed manual gearbox for a touch of sportiness, while others have a five-speed. A DSG auto gearbox has been available since early 2004 and offers ultra-quick automatic gearchanges.

The Touran is safe to drive and doesn’t have the bodyroll that you’d expect from a people carrier. The steering is rather remote, but it’s light enough to make parking easy, while the gearchange is precise. It doesn't have the agility of some people carriers but always feels surefooted and composed while stability control is standard on all models. The facelifted Touran from late 2006 gets Park Assist as an option.

If you struggle when it comes to manoeuvring into parallel spaces then it's a useful gadget. In short the car actually parks itself and it’s very easy to use. Push a button as you line up to park and Touran does all the steering for you while simultaneously sensing where the cars you're parking between are.