SO OFF we went to Austria, with four of us in a Volkswagen Touran 2.0 TDI. It was a great choice — cruising effortlessly at around 85 mph, mopping up the miles in a leisurely fashion while returning an impressive 43.3 mpg in just under 2,000 miles. The Touran is a seven-seater, but we reconfigured the seating for our smaller party. With some multi-seaters, it’s a terrible fight to get the seats out, but in the Touran, everything is easy to fold or detach.
The Touran and the Ford C-Max are similar, as most of the input for the CMax has come from Volkswagen, so it is hard to choose between them.
Although the Touran’s 2-litre 16valve diesel engine is slightly smaller in cubic capacity than that of the CMax, it develops more power.
Both the Touran and the C-Max have a six-speed gearbox, and both gave much the same fuel economy (43.3 mpg for the Touran and 43.9 for CMax). However, the Volkswagen was driven consistently faster than was possible for the UK test of the C-Max, so it might be considered the more economical.
Both cars have a filter that removes all traces of smoke from the exhaust yet requires no routine maintenance. Both also have very effective automatic switching of lights and wipers.
The Ford starts off much cheaper, at £18,745 against £22,277 for the Touran, but its extras are more expensive, especially with £1,000 more to pay for the Sport version of C-Max, whereas VW’s price is already the cost of the Sport model. Satellite navigation is less costly in the very good VW version (£1,345 to include six-disc CD player and an advanced trip computer).
For a level playing field, we should exclude the £500 tow-hitch and £400 glass roof from the Ford, to bring the total to £23,945. The Touran as tested is £26,133.
Both SUVs (sports utility vehicles) were very comfortable and efficient transport. The Touran would probably win my vote, especially if I needed the seven-seater capacity, but I would be still be well pleased by the C-Max.
Particularly appreciated on the Touran were the excellent headlamps which give brilliant Xenon illumination and revolve with the steering, to light the way around corners.