posted 3 months ago

Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace Review

Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better, but in the case of the Allspace it also doesn’t mean any worse. It’s every bit as good as its little brother, but a little more practical and a little more expensive.

From £29,370
Pros
  • Seven seat practicality
  • Huge boot when in five seat mode
  • Exemplary performance, ride and refinement
Cons
  • Rear seats are really only for children
  • Derivative styling leaves the Tiguan looking a tad me-too
  • Lack of increased ride height means off-road performance is limited

Introduction:

The Volkswagen Tiguan is a fine SUV, arguably amongst the best on the market thanks to the easy way it blends refinement, practicality and ability. The Tiguan Allspace quite literally adds to that appealing mix. Specifically, it adds just over 32cm to the length of the car and ues that to squeeze in another couple of seats.

Aside from the extra piece of metalwork, and a slightly different nose, the car is mechanically identical to the Tiguan, a car that has been increasingly successful for Volkswagen.

On the Road

The bulk of Tiguan Allspace sales will be fitted with the 2.0-litre diesel engine tuned to produce 150PS of power. That’s despite the current public mood to turn away from diesel, but even the most hardened petrolhead will admit that a gutsy diesel suits a big, heavy SUV. It’s not the outright power that appeals, but the 340Nm of torque - that’s the force that gets things moving, and keeps the wheels rolling when things get plugged with mud.

On the tarmac, that translates to a 0-62mph dash that’s despatched in 9.8 seconds, and in surprisingly hushed refinement. The engine strikes a balance between frugality and performance that marks a sweet spot in the range, but for those wanting a little more there’s a 190PS unti available, as well as a twin-turbo 240PS diesel that brings that acceleration run down to a hot-hatch rivalling 6.7 seconds.

Even the 1.4-litre petrol engine is man enough for the task, and as much as more power will always be somewhat beneficial, nobody will ever fell shortchanged by any of the options in the Allspace.

As ever with Volkswagen, the Allspace errs towards the safe and predictable rather than the fun and engaging, which is no bad thing. Close your eyes (something we don’t recommend) and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between this and the regular Tiguan, but then there are no mechanical changes made between the cars.

There’s an extra 215mm in the wheelbase which should smooth out the ride a little, but if it does it’s by such a small degree that it’s not noticeable. Of course, the Tiguan was always a car that was well balanced and smoothed the road nicely.

Adjustable drive modes allow for some personalisation - you can add weight to the steering, sharpen the throttle response and, if you’ve ticked Dynamic Chassis Control as Volkswagen had on this car, stiffen the suspension. None of it makes a great deal of difference, though.

If you really feel the need to press on, the Allspace grips and turns well, but the slow steering and lumbering body mass doesn’t inspire racing-driver tendencies. Four-wheel drive is available that will add a degree of security to proceedings - and adds another 400kg to the towing limit.

The supple ride offered by the Tiguan’s cosseting suspension means the car immediately feels more refined than many of its rivals, those constant vibrations coming through the suspension being subdued and almost unnoticeable.

The 2.0-litre diesel engine is also well silenced, making its presence felt only when the throttle is pressed all the way down. Then it feels and sounds a bit coarse, but once up to a cruise it’s almost inaudible. Wind noise is also kept in check, although there’s a little more tyre noise than ideal.

In the car

The Allspace carries exactly the same interior as the Tiguan, which means there’s a very sombre and grey dashboard that’s designed almost perfectly and built better than anything else in the class. It’s like a tailor made Saville Row suit, but in plain grey fabric.

An eight-inch touchscreen dominates the centre of the dashboard, and this operates virtually everything in the car. It’s clear, but there are so many options that some are hidden away under multiple menus and it can be difficult to get where you want. However, there are physical controls for the heating and ventilation, and there’s a volume knob by the screen (although it’s on the left, a little stretch for drivers) which means the frequently used options can be dealt with by touch alone.

Directly in front is a traditional instrument panel on most models, but this SE L has a 12.3-inch digital screen instead. It displays traditional dials, but can be customised to display navigation, maps, music details, and all sorts of other information.

Dark grey inserts and around the doors and piano black panels on the centre console finish of the dour but premium look.

Extending the Tiguan to create a larger, more spacious car sounds like a recipe for the most practical car ever, but it doesn’t quite work out that way. The rear most seats are tiny, and really only suitable for anybody under five foot tall, while access to the seats requires some gymnastics that only kids will enjoy. That said, once the kids are in place there’s enough room for them to be comfortable.

The middle row improves on the Allspace, as the extra space between the wheels can be utilised by those passengers. The entire bench slides forward and back as well, increasing legroom for times when the jump seats aren’t in use.

The boot is a tad small when all seven seats are in place, as you might expect, but will still swallow a couple of squashy bags. With the seats folded into the floor it extends to 700 litres, and a cavernous 1,775 litres. However, its Skoda Kodiaq cousin seats seven and still squeezes in more luggage capacity.

Ownership

There’s quite a premium to pay for the benefit of the Volkswagen badge, especially when the Skoda Kodiaq offers almost as much quality with a little more practicality for significantly less. The forthcoming large SUV from SEAT will share much with the Allspace too, and is likely to offer a more engaging drive for those that value that.

However, while the sticker price might be high, excellent residual values keep leasing and PCP rates competitive, while cash buyers will see a lot of their money returned when it’s time to move the car on. Despite the furore over diesel engines, it’s likely that these will be most popular both new and second hand, and offer the benefit of better fuel economy.

That means a promise of 56.5mpg for this model, but even the least frugal model, the 2.0-litre petrol, claims 36.7mpg. Real world experience suggests these aren’t outlandish claims, either. Low CO2 values and price the right side of £40,000 means car tax will be a reasonable £140 a year, while insurance of group 18 for this SE L is reasonable.

Despite the hewn from granite feel to the Allspace, Volkswagen’s reliability is on a par with most manufacturers. Should a problem occur, the large number of dealers around the country should ensure a relatively quick resolution, and the strong three-year warranty (with unlimited miles for two years) should cover most issues.

Of course, that build quality will hopefully ensure there are few problems to deal with, and it certainly feels a step up from the previous model. Even where you might expect to find cheaper, scratchier plastics, such as low down on the doors or transmission tunnel, Volkswagen seems to have made an effort to keep the quality up. There’s barely a surface anywhere that isn’t soft-touch plastic, gloss finish or brushed metal.

The Allspace hasn’t been tested by EuroNCAP yet, but the standard version scored five stars after crash testing last year and, considering that the Allspace is near identical, there’s no reason to suspect that score wouldn’t be repeated.

Standard safety equipment includes lane-keeping assistance, automatic emergency braking to mitigate, or even avoid, impacts, plus a houseful of airbags, stability control and traction control systems.

A heated front windscreen is available as an option, to make winter mornings far safer. Disappointingly, a reversing camera, is also an extra, despite the rear of the car being a considerable distance behind the driver, although there are parking sensors.