Hybrid, eco-diesel? Hybrid, eco-diesel? Which to choose?

The marketing men and women would have us think theirs is the best, the kindest on the planet, the easiest on your hard-pressed wallet.

The hybrids - in the green corner - claim technology is the key. The trick is to mate super efficient petrol engines with an electric motor for optimum performance and minimum drain on the world’s resources.

Petrol engine charges batteries; batteries power car and reduce the need to call on the petrol engine. And by avoiding the diesel motor there’s no worry about sooty particulates.

Detractors would point to over engineering, expensive technology, moderate economy, dear servicing. They see the future in diesels. They are much simpler to develop, offer decent economy and performance plus they don't scare the life out of the conservative buying public.

VW is top of the list when it comes to diesels so it’s no wonder it has chosen to follow the oil burning route.

Still, in this image conscious world, it is important to be seen to be doing something more to save the planet and it has chosen to do this by hyping up a new range - Bluemotion - blue like the ocean, like the sky above, like the melting icecaps.

Touran is the most recent to get the eco treatment and it does so with the aid of a 1.9 litre turbo diesel engine that seems to have been around forever but has been honed to perfection.

The result is pretty impressive; a motor with the slow heartbeat of a long distance runner; the power of a mogul; the frugality of a Dickensian accountant.

This turbo diesel may have shifted generations of VWs, Audis and SEATS, but it never fails to impress with its blend of performance and economy.

A modest 1.9 litres in capacity it nevertheless shunts the reasonably large Touran along with ease. It pulls strongly, will climb hills with abandon and cruise easily along the highways and byways.

There’s bags of poke to overtake and little noise or vibration to detract and the very best thing is seeing the standard-fit trip computer display fuel consumption figures exceed 50 miles per gallon.

That means the Touran is capable of travelling 700 miles on a single tank which is fabulous if avoiding the forecourts is a primary aim.

If you care about the future or worry about the environment then the CO2 figures are good too; just 144g/km. Company car drivers will love it.

Bluemotion gets the full gamut of design features to make it slip and slide through the atmosphere and across tarmac with the greatest of ease. Low friction tyres, wind-cheating floorpan aerodynamics; even crafted wing mirrors and smooth front grille to reduce drag, the enemy of economy.

Touran also gets an updated look with the lights from the Eos coupe and redesigned rump and stainless steel interior finish.

Otherwise it remains what it was designed to be; an efficient means to transport people and luggage.

It might not be the most stylish mini-MPV but it is smart and functional. It offers the ability to carry seven adults in reasonable comfort and when you don’t need the third row of two seats they tuck away tidily into the boot floor. The middle row of three individual seats tilts, rolls and detaches for even more practicality. As seats they are firm and well shaped and excellent when it comes to fitting the child seat.

Function continues throughout the cabin with overhead storage, large door bins, back of the seat tables and under-floor compartments. You could while away many an hour filling them all then trying to remember where your valuables had been placed.

For the driver the Touran is as easy and rewarding to drive as any diesel in the VW range. It steers, handles and rides like a car and the extra height enjoyed by the driver’s seat offers welcome views through panoramic areas of glass.

In summary the Touran Bluemotion is a bit of an eco-bus in which to carry a family, their belongings and their dreams of a better cleaner world. In all respects then it is worthy way to travel.

Car facts

Model: VW Touran Bluemotion

Engine: 1.9 litre, 16v, four cylinder turbo diesel

Drivetrain: Six speed manual

Power: 105PS

Top speed: 113mph

0-62mph: 13 secs

Insurance group: 6

Miles per gallon (combined): 52.3

CO2 (g/km): 144

Price: from £18,800.00

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