Volkswagen has revealed more details of its forthcoming compact MPV (minivan), the 'Mark 5' Golf-based Touran, including details of its flexible interior. The new vehicle is set to be launched in Europe next spring and summer.

The versatile cabin of the Touran, which has five seats as standard and seven as an option, has been designed to maximise space efficiency. Despite compact exterior body dimensions - its length is roughly the same as that of a Golf estate - it is claimed to have interior space more usually associated with significantly larger vehicles.

The three single seats in the second row can be independently adjusted either fore/aft or sideways, or alternatively can be folded or removed altogether. When folded, the middle seat becomes a table, while for further practicality retractable picnic tables with cup holders are incorporated into the back of the driver's and front passenger's seats.

A high seating position, and generous headroom are claimed to give impressive long-distance comfort regardless of the occupant's height.

The Touran will be available with an optional third row of seats, creating a genuine seven-seater vehicle. For extra practicality, these two seats can be quickly lowered into the floor of the vehicle when not required, as earlier seen on GM's rival Zafira minivan and some Honda models, rather than having to be removed and left at home.

There are plenty of stowage areas throughout the Touran - up to 39 depending on trim level. These include a compartment on top of the dashboard, an air-conditioned glovebox, hidden floor compartments, a drawer under the driver and front passenger seats and a large roof console divided into three. The door bins are sizeable enough to accommodate a 1-litre bottle or a large road atlas.

Safety features include front, side and curtain airbags fitted as standard, as well as ABS, BAS (Brake Assist System) and ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Programme). Three point seatbelts are provided for all occupants, including those in the third row.

In five-seater mode, the luggage capacity is 695 litres, while as a seven-seater, the Touran has a capacity of 121 litres. When all seats in the second row are removed and those in the third row lowered, the maximum load volume becomes 1,913 litres, or 1,989 litres for the five-seater version.

From launch the Touran will be available with one FSI petrol and two TDI diesel engines, all featuring direct-injection technology.

The 115 bhp 1.6-litre FSI is new to Volkswagen, and will eventually be joined by two other petrol units. A 100 bhp version of the 1.9-litre TDI features alongside a new 2.0-litre 16-valve TDI engine, which develops 136 bhp.

The Touran will have Euro 4-compliant diesel engines, ahead of the legislation's introduction in 2005.

In the UK, this will enable both Touran TDI models to benefit from lower company car tax liability than their nearest competitors, as the 3% diesel supplement is removed for Euro 4 diesel vehicles.