TO some the greatest boon of the 20th century, it's ultimate magic trick, was the domestic dishwasher.
Consider its many benefits. Once happy couples were divided after meals as sir retired to the drawing room while his wife set about scrubbingpots. Alternatively, in the modern relationship, he would share the task with scant regard for the detergent damage done to delicate pianists fingers.
There are, after all, few more worrying sights than a gentleman snapping on a pair of Marigolds. Particularly in the doctor's surgery.
Now a quick stacking exercise, a skill in itself, and the machine can burble away in a corner while bliss reigns over the TV remote.
Dishwashers are especially popular with dogs which find an open on a perfect grazing station, often to the extent that turning the machine on is pointless.
The dishwasher became an item of aspirational desire just after the shine went off the burping of Tupperwear and the three box saloon.
Now everyone must have one just as every car company needs to have for sale a blissfully domestic MPV. Which, by way of a Fairy-soft introduction, brings us to the Volkswagen Touran.
There has been a new Touran on the road since December so you may or may not be familiar with it.
Frankly it represents VW's own bid for space race glory; bigger on the outside and with more interior room it is as practical as playing jokes on the servants for those who have moved beyond the joys of Whirlpool.
All Touran models have seven seats, both rear rows folding flat. With them all in place there is still proper luggage space and 47 storage compartments for the family getaway but customs probably know where they are.
You probably want to be looking at the 1.6-litre Tdi SE but today's highly polished item is a 1.2-litre TSI, six-speed petrol in SE trim.
Not going to be fast then is it? Not with a turbocharged 1,200cc pulling around 4.52 meters of family bus even if the new model is significantly lighter than the last one. The numbers say 62mph arrives shortly after lunch or in 11.2 seconds to be exact. Although to its credit this could translate as 52mpg as an average. Tax is £110 a year.
The asking price for the standard SE is £23,630 but that is without navigation equipment. Car Net Guide and Inform as VW calls it adds £810.
What you do get is a huge list of safety and convenience features. Everything, more or less from traction assistance, collision braking andstability control to front and rear parking sensors andautomatic lights, wipers and mirrors. There is even an amplification system which uses the phone mics to make communication between back and front passengers clearer.
There is a standard entertainment and communications packagewith a colour touch screen and all the connections you need including the ability to pair two phones at once. You can send SMS messages on the screen but only when stationary. Obviously. Well at least to the sentient among us.
With driver tips and journey analysis the Touran is made for the long haul as much as chugging around the needs of the family. So it needs to be comfortable and is. Seats, complete with storage and folding tables, are made for distance while the middle row is removable.
The ride is smooth and quiet, in fact there is little to be said against the car as family transport or as a well designed place to be. Exciting? Er, no. Practical? Definitely.
So, full of labour saving devices, good for domestic harmony and reasonably priced for the expected VW quality. For those with thoughts in other directions it should be made clear that Smeg has no MPV in its range.