Volkswagen Touran, 07-reg to 59-reg
Why it's a great used buy
The Touran has much in common with other Volkswagen vehicles, including a smart, user-friendly dashboard and fine driving manners. The Touran's rather plain image helps keep used values down, though the VW badge offsets this slightly, so for £10,000 you'll need to look for models before the Touran's facelift in 2010. The Touran's popularity with taxi drivers means there are plenty of high-mileage – and therefore even cheaper – examples to choose from, and thanks to the Touran's excellent interior quality, even cars that have had a relatively hard life should still look good inside.
What it's like to drive and use
The Touran is a pleasure to drive, with smooth-operating controls, sensibly laid out switches, and steering that's usefully light round town but weights up reassuringly as you increase speed. It doesn't lean adversely on corners and the cabin is always quiet, even with the 1.9 diesel engine under the bonnet.
The Touran also has some thoughtful family-friendly features, including storage areas under the rear footwell (with hinged covers, so you don't have to fiddle about to re-fit them, as in some rivals) and generous door pockets for clutter and drinks. The three full-size seats in the middle row each slides and reclines independently, though only the outer two have Isofix points. Bear in mind that, as in the Renault Scenic, while you can tumble the middle-row seats or fold down the seat backs, they don't fold flat, so to make use of every available inch of rear load space you have to remove the rear seats completely. The rearmost seats have limited legroom so they're only really suitable for children.
The Touran is a seven-seater as standard but a version with five seats has always been offered as a cost option (with the extra space filled by a spare wheel), so make sure any examples you look at have the right number of seats.
1.9 TDI SE 105
Typical price £9857 for '09/59 with 48,000 miles
The 1.9 diesel engine is a bit dated compared to the latest diesel technology but this helps make it good value to buy used and it's still plenty strong enough to haul a fully-loaded Touran as well as being economical to run. SE is the best-value trim level and includes alloy wheels, climate control, cruise control, all-round electric windows and a CD player. Match trim, which replaced SE in October 2009, includes sat-nav, an iPod connector and Park Assist (which enables the car to select a parallel parking space and steer into it while the driver just works the pedals), but it's very desirable, so you'll need to compromise with a higher mileage to get it for under £10,000.
1.4 TSI 140 SE
Typical price £9532 for '09/59 with 48,000 miles
VW's 1.4 TSI engine is turbocharged and supercharged so it's much more spritely than the 1.6 petrol, if a little pricier. SE trim includes climate control and all-round electric windows, as well as the CD player, traction control and remote central locking that's standard on all models. SE was replaced by the even better equipped Match trim (which included Bluetooth and Park Assist, which steers the car into a space for you) in October 2009; be prepared to have to pay more for it – or go for a higher-mileage car.
Safety info on these models
Euro NCAP rating Tested only under pre-2009 system, and before a separate score for children was introduced: five stars for adults, but the tests raised concerns over the amount of force measured through the chest and neck on both the forward-facing and rear-facing test dummies.
Rear airbags? For middle-row only
Isofix? On outer middle-row seats only
Front passenger airbag deactivation? Standard
Problems to watch out for
Tourans are fairly reliable, though there has been the odd report of gremlins in the seat belt warning system, and customer satisfaction surveys have suggested that the exterior isn't as hard-wearing as it should be, so be extra careful when examining the condition of a prospective purchase.