Volkswagen will launch a compact MPV, the Touran, in Europe during the first quarter of 2003. Following the luxury Phaeton saloon and the Touareg off-road vehicle, it is becoming clear that VW is serious about getting into segments in which it was not previously represented in any significant way.
The second (MPV) from Volkswagen following the larger Sharan is a strong, individual design. Notable features of the Touran, which is 4.39 metres long, 1.79 metres wide and 1.63 metres high, include a highly versatile interior layout and ample space, equivalent to many a vehicle with significantly larger overall dimensions.
The interior, which can be equipped with up to seven separate seats, has the versatility in use and extensive safety features expected by customers with high mobility needs. Combined with a choice of powerful engines and a rigid bodyshell, the suspension is claimed to make the Touran ‘a dynamic performer on the road’.
The new model’s name is derived from the term ‘Tour’ and the name ‘Sharan’. ‘Tour’ symbolises travel in comfort over long distances, and the ending ‘-an’ is used to indicate Volkswagen’s multi-purpose vehicles. The complete name is representative of the leisure-oriented target group with its multitude of activities to whom this new compact midsize-class MPV will appeal.
The Touran will be available with a choice of three engines, developing between 74 kW (100 bhp) and 100 kW (136 bhp). During 2003, further engine options will be offered. A unique feature in this market segment so far: all models will have a standard 6-speed gearbox. As an optional extra, a new, innovative 6-speed automatic transmission will be available, and will combine the advantages of a manual gearbox with those of an automatic transmission in an entirely new way.
The Touran is a 5-seater and the three individual seats in the second row can be easily repositioned, folded or removed entirely. The two full-size seats in the third row can be folded down into the floor, so that the Touran can carry seven people (this feature is an option).
The Touran’s seating layout concept permits more than 500 different positions and layouts, and is therefore unsurpassed in its versatility. With five seats in use, the load area has a capacity of more than 600 litres; the maximum payload limit is above 650 kgs.
The fully galvanised body has laser-welded seams and is therefore exceptionally rigid, for a high standard of passive safety. With front airbags and side airbags for the first and second rows of seats and active front-seat head restraints, the Touran has a comprehensive safety system that is expected to set new standards in this segment of the market. Lap-and-shoulder seat belts are provided at all seven seats for the passengers’ safety. Disc brakes at front and rear, with ventilated front discs, ABS and ESP including a Braking Assistant ensure that the active safety level is equally high.
The ingenious seating concept is not the only reason why the Touran can be regarded as ideally suitable for leisure and family transport tasks. Depending on the chosen equipment, for instance, it provides up to 39 storage spaces for essential items and other useful oddments. They include storage compartments under the seats, in the centre and roof consoles, in the fascia, in the doors and in the load area; there are also cupholders for each row on seats.
It is likely that the Touran will appear in Malaysia at showrooms of private importers first. As many will have heard the rumours around town, a new party may be appointed the VW distributor so there may be a broader model line-up offered and this could include the Touran. However, in as far as local assembly is concerned, there still seem to be no plans by VW for this region in the light of AFTA.