Does anyone else have problems with the handbrake operation on the Volkswagen Touran DSG?

May I check, through your columns, with other Volkswagen Touran DSG owners about what I believe spoils an otherwise very nice car? My aggravation derives from the design of the handbrake mechanism. Firstly, not only do I find it inefficient, but it is so badly designed that, when hoisted into "stop" position, the lever fouls the centre console. This could so easily have been avoided with a 'cranked' handbrake lever.

More importantly however, although it passed its first MoT very recently, I regard the handbrake as potentially dangerous for an inexperienced driver. I fully accept that the Touran’s DSG gearbox and diesel engine mean that, even at 'tick-over', the engine still delivers some level of torque through the gearbox, but that must have been known at the design stage. When the car is being driven in "nose to tail" slow-moving traffic, one must be particularly careful to ensure that the car does not 'creep' forward, even with the handbrake applied, particularly if the road itself is slightly inclined downward. The many sharper inclines of Cornwall require extra care. There are times when one really must jam on the lever so hard that one is concerned that something might snap.

I’ve also learned the trick of simultaneously applying the footbrake hard but, even then, the nose of the car goes slightly upward and forward. I have written to Volkswagen at some length, only to receive a call that the matter would be passed forward, but nothing further. I would be glad to hear the opinion of other owners.

Asked on 25 February 2012 by PB, St. Austell

Answered by Honest John
In my opinion, VAG completely messed up the relationship between its DSG and s-tronic transmissions and the braking system. Someone at Volkswagen insisted that the brake pedal be depressed before the lever can be moved from N to D, possibly as a misguided 'safety measure'. This is completely unnecessary, and the poor quality software and connections of this system mean that there can be an extremely dangerous delay between coming off the brakes and accelerating, particularly when exiting side-roads or when pulling onto roundabouts. The vastly superior Getrag Powershift transmission fitted to Fords does not have this fault. Your gripe about the parking brake lever is yet another problem.
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