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With an increasing number of bodystyles to choose from, we highlight how it is becoming increasingly difficult to determine what the 'right' family car is.

16 Aug 2016

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Desmond believes that if you need a people-carrier, just get a proper Multi-Purpose Vehicle (MPV)

Look, I get it. It's all the rage these days for car manufacturers to come up with new models and bodystyles that sit across multiple categories - compact crossovers, performance Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) and the likes. And you could admittedly make a fair argument for this, as cars like these offer customers a single option that can satisfy multiple needs.

A highly configurable interior allows the Touran to carry seven passengers, or bulky equipment with the seats folded flat
Call me old-fashioned, but I think this is all a little bit too much. Coupes should be coupes, SUVs should remain as SUVs. There isn't a need to conflate the two. And when it comes to the function of family-hauling, what used to be the realm of MPVs, more and more people are now turning to compact SUVs and large coupes and whatever else cross-segment models you can think of.

When it comes to a people-carrier, I need something that maximises space and comfort, and excels in offering utility. I want seven seats, so that I can carry additional passengers on the weekends, especially if there's a need to bring the grandparents around. I want a car that's simple to drive and comfortable on the roads.

This brings me to the Volkswagen Touran. Yes, compared to the Golf Variant or the Sportsvan, the Touran is certainly not as stylish and handsome on the eyes. It also does not offer the same quality of handling and driveability, and is arguably a less 'fun' car. But really, those things don't matter. As a sensible grown-up family man, I need to think less about the one buttock in the driver's seat and more about the other six in the back.

And that's why I would still have the Touran over the other two. It's bigger, it's more spacious, and it has two more seats. I've got much more configurable space in the interior, and the flip down tray tables are great for the kids to watch their cartoons on their iPads. And I would argue that it is the better car, precisely because it looks more tame, and is less of a driver's car - there is less impetus to drive aggressively, and the car is a constant reminder that I am a sensible grown-up. This is a proper MPV, and that's what family cars should be. 

And when it's all said and done, if it is power that I am after, my Touran still has more of that than the Golf Variant and the Sportsvan.
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