Are you thinking of buying a pre-owned tow car? Then you could do a lot worse than opting for a used Volkswagen Touran.
If there’s any vehicle that is more deserving of the description ‘under the radar’, we’ve yet to drive it. It’s a great option for those who need a family MPV that can also tow.
What’s it like inside?
When you’re searching for the best used tow car, the interior on offer will be an important consideration. The Touran is actually a bit smaller than its main rivals on the outside, but it hits back with an interior that’s both flexible and surprisingly roomy.
The two up front get loads of space, so won’t feel in any way cramped, while the three people in the middle row will each be sitting on an individual seat that can slide, recline or fold as necessary. There’s a reasonable amount of headroom and legroom for these occupants, too.
Things are decidedly more cramped in the third row of seats, which are really designed for children. Still, if those in the middle row are willing to compromise, you’ll soon be singing “We’re all going on a summer holiday,” with no sign of any angst or conflict.
However, if you’re a family considering the Touran, something to be aware of is that there’s very little luggage space if all seven seats are in use – so you’ll need to pack carefully.
Inside, everything feels as you would expect from a Volkswagen. However, these are family cars, so it will pay to inspect the interior really carefully, in case it’s been damaged by moody children or simply in the course of being used as a van with all of the seats folded down – something that is very easy to do.
How does a used Volkswagen Touran drive?
There’s a whole range of petrol and diesel powertrains available for the Touran, but the best car to tow with for drivers is the 148bhp 2.0-litre TDI. This is both strong enough to tow a trailer without too much difficulty, and pretty thrifty on fuel.
Bear in mind that you’ll only be able to tow a moderately sized caravan with the Touran, because it has a kerbweight of just 1571kg. That said, when we tested it, we reported no issues with the way it was able to accelerate or how it stopped. The only proviso was that it didn’t feel too comfortable in our lane-change test.
Still, the manual gearbox is light and easy; while the six-speed DSG auto is smooth to shift, there have also been reports of reliability issues, so ensure that it works as it should.
The Volkswagen Touran makes a capable (if not particularly memorable) tow car for a small to medium-sized caravan. It’s cheap to run, roomy and well made. Just make sure the previous owner hasn’t ruined it by carrying careless kids.
Decided you’d rather take a look at a more recent tow car? Then take a look at our review of the Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake.
What will it tow?
- Kerbweight: 1571kg
- Towing limit: 1800kg
- Noseweight limit: 80kg
- 85% match: 1335kg
- Figures for 2016 2.0 TDI
- 2.0 TDI SE
- Insurance group: 17
- Annual VED: £155
- Average economy: 60.1mpg
- Interim/full service: £83/£122
- Servicing prices supplied by Servicing Stop, 0844 324 5262
Early models were afflicted with problems with the side airbags, and seatbelt tensioners that could fail to operate in a crash.
There was also the possibility of a short-circuit in the LED module of the panoramic sunroof.
Later cars were recalled because of the possibility of a faulty headrest, and a fuel tank which had walls that were found to be too thin.
A full list of recalls for the Touran can be found at www.check-vehicle-recalls.service.gov.uk.
What to pay for a used Volkswagen Touran
- High: Price: £39,000, Model: 2021 2.0 TDI 150 R-Line, Miles: 7500
- Sweet spot: Price: £23,000, Model: 2018 2.0 TDI SE, Miles: 41,000
- Low: Price: £6000, Model: 2015 1.6 TDI S DSG, Miles: 200,000
Or you could try…
Ford Grand C-Max (2010-2019)
The Ford Grand C-Max is the MPV tow car to choose if you want a car that’s enjoyable to drive solo, too. The 2.0-litre TDCi engine is strong and smooth, linked to a gearshift that’s a pleasure to use.
The Ford copes well with the practical side of life, with seven seats and reasonable space. It also has sliding rear doors, which makes accessing the rear seats much easier.
Mercedes B-Class (2012-2019)
The VW has a classy badge, but the Mercedes B-Class has a better one. And Mercedes backs this up with an interior that feels truly first-class. It’s roomy, too, albeit for five, not seven. If that suits you, the B-Class is a fine option, helped by a second row that slides to adjust legroom or boot space. The B220d is strong and thrifty, although it can sound a bit unrefined.
Whereas the other three cars on these pages have a focus on driving enjoyment, the Mercedes GLC does things a little differently, because comfort is its main aim. Cabin quality is beyond reproach, and the supple ride makes the GLC quite the smoothie when unhitched. If there’s a ‘but’ to the ownership experience, it’s that there isn’t quite as much space in the Mercedes for both people and luggage as there is in rival vehicles.
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