New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

The iconic Grand Prix Circuit will present a new challenge to the GTC drivers as they tackle the country’s fastest racetrack on June 16.

Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

Suzuki kicks off its new model assault with an all new Swift hatchback and standalone sedan called the Dzire.

2004 VW Touran 2.0 TDI, 1.9 TDI

2004-05-17 09:39

John Oxley

What's more, there are no fewer than TWO diesels available - the trusty 74 kW 1.9-litre turbo-diesel as found in the VW Polo 1.9 TDi, and the latest 100 kW double overhead camshaft 2-litre unit as fitted in the Audi A3 2.0 TDI.

The net result is a pair of fliers of note that feed more fuel to the MPV fire by offering car-like ride and handling, plus more choice, in this fast-growing sector.

And come September the range will be extended by the addition of a 2-litre direct injection petrol engine, the 2.0 FSI, offering 110 kW. Other developments on the Touran theme will be launched later.

All three versions announced to date are fitted as standard with a 6-speed manual gearbox.

Alloy wheels

The Touran 1.9 comes in Trendline trim, which means it gets different 16 inch alloy wheels to those on the 2.0 Highline version, as well as two-tone interior trim, electric window lifts on the front doors only, different cloth trim, standard front seats, black trim on the door handles and roof rails, and rear foglights.

All versions get "Climatic" semi-automatic air conditioning plus an RCD 300 radio with front-loader CD player.

All the Touran versions also come loaded with safety features, resulting in a 5-star rating in the Euro N-CAP crash tests.

This means driver and passenger front airbags with passenger side deactivation (for use when fitting a child seat), front side airbags, a curtain airbag for front and second row occupants, ABS brakes with electronic brake distribution, ESP electronic stability programme (with ASR anti-skid control), plus Brake Assist and an electronic diff. lock.

There's also variable speed power assisted steering, remote central locking, an on-board trip computer, cruise control, a removeable luggage cover, net partition, height and reach adjustable steering, a centre console box, and manual headlight height adjustment.

Moving up to the Highline adds front foglights, better quality cloth trim (with leather a R12 500 option), leather trim on the steering wheel and gearknob, aluminium trim strips on the dashboard and door panels, Hockenheim alloy wheels, chrome trim on the roof rails and grille surround, colour-coded door handles and bumpers, an auto dimming rearview mirror, tables in the back of the front seats, a stowage drawer under the front passenger seat, front and rear doormats, and sports front seats.

The Touran is built on the same floorpan as the upcoming VW Golf 5 and is fitted with a suspension strut axle with lower wishbones and coil springs at the front, while the rear has a four-link axle also with coil springs.

As a result handling is exemplary, the rear four-link suspension making it handle more like a saloon car than an MPV, with three lateral arms and a trailing arm for the precise location of each wheel.

On the road

We drove on a varied route in and around Port Elizabeth which gave lots of opportunity to test the handling to the full, and both versions impressed with very forgiving handling and super ride qualities.

The driving position is high and comfortable, but we felt a bit lost when parking, for there's no way you can see the front of the car.

Most interesting, however, was that although there's a 25% difference in power output between the two versions, this isn't felt on the road, thanks mainly to different torque characteristics of the two diesel engines, and different gearing.

It was only on long hills that the more powerful engine showed a clean pair of heels to the 1.9 - even on pullaway there was little in it.

However, the 1.9 was definitely the better of the two as far as fuel economy is concerned - at least, according to the on-board computer.

Volkswagen claims combined fuel consumption of 5.9 litres/100 km for the 1.9 and 6.0 for the 2.0.

Engine outputs are 74 kW at 4 000 r/min and 100 kW at 4 000 r/min respectively, with torque 250 Nm at 1 900 r/min versus 320 Nm at 1 750 r/min.

On the performance front VW claims a 0-100 time of 13.5 seconds for the 1.9; 10.6 for the 2.0, with top speeds of 177 km/w and 197 km/h respectively.

The seats

The Touran can be had in either five-seat or seven-seat configuration.

The former means there's a lot more luggage space in the back with the seats up - VW claims 695 litres compared to only 121 litres in the seven-seater.

The second row of seats can be taken out (they weigh around 16 kg apiece) to give a wide variety of seating and load options, while the third row (on the seven seater) folds away under the floor level.

This, however, means there's no room for a spare wheel on the seven seater, with a bottle of puncture fix and a compressor offered instead.

The second row seats can also be individually folded, moved sideways or shifted backwards to re-arrange the seating configuration to suit needs. The centre seat can even be used as a small table by folding it forward.

Depending on its decor, the Touran can have up to 39 means of storing items during the journey, all within reach of the passengers. There is storage space even underneath the feet of the back passengers.


Touran 1.9 TDi Trendline 5-seat R219 550

Seven-seat R223 650.

2.0 Highline 5-seat R254 600.

Seven-seat R258 700.

The 2.0 FSI will retail at R238 600 and R242 700 respectively.


Metallic / pearlescent paint R3 200; removable towbar R5 415; electric sunroof R5 430; CD changer R2 640; rear park distance control R3 000; satellite navigation system R21 300.

The Touran comes with the standard Volkswagen 3 year/120 000 km warranty, as well as a 5 year/60 000 km AutoMotion Plan and a 12 year anti-corrosion warranty.


In typical Volkswagen fashion the Touran is a well-finished, well thought-out product. Its frontal styling is aggressive and modern, but we feel the backend lets it down a bit - a lot, in fact.

Inside the cars are, again, well thought-out, and the neat touches of either aluminium trim or two-tone finish prevent the cars from feeling dull.

We're surprised, though, that the petrol version won't be here until September. With oil change intervals every 7 500 km on the diesels, this can present some problems for those people who might use their Touran for business purposes, and can't afford to have it standing idle.


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