First Drive: 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace

First Drive: 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace

Since the launch of the second generation Tiguan in 2016, Volkswagen has managed to attract hordes of potential buyers to its fold with demand of the model said to outstrip supply in the South African market.

Such is the popularity of the model that it has overtaken the perennial Golf on the sales charts in Germany, something that takes some doing.

This is likely the result of the model’s stylish repertoire, a practicality edge over its hatch sibling and a relatively palatable pricing point. And according to a Volkswagen SA spokesperson, 90% of buyers option their Tiguan with the stylish R-Line package upon purchase.

Now the company has added yet another model to the range in the form of the Allspace, essentially a seven-seater option of the vehicle on which it is based. Besides the fundamental addition of an extra seat row, the model is further distinguishable by the three chrome slats — instead of the standard model’s two slated setup — a raised, squared-off bonnet and larger side windows.

Size-wise the model has a 110mm longer wheelbase with overall length having stretched by 215mm. The boot, meanwhile, measures 230l with the third row in place, 700l with it folded. With both second and third row seats folded, this increases to 1 775l. With regards to the rear-most seats, it must be said that these are exclusively for small children as legroom is particularly compromised. The middle seats can be inched forward to add extra legroom, but adults will not be particularly comfortable back there.

The range will consist of three petrol engines; a 1.4 TSI with 110kW, a 2.0 TSI with 132kW and a more powerful 2.0 TSI with 162kW. For diesel pundits, there is a 2.0 TDI with 110kW and 340Nm. All models come standard with a seven-speed DSG gearbox.

There are three trim levels in the form of Trendline, Comfortline and Highline with the two latter specifications standard with 4Motion all-wheel drive. Pricing starts from R463 400 and rises to R604 800.

In essence the pricing of the Allspace slightly overlaps that of the regular wheelbase, but what the company has managed to do to rationalise the new entrant is to give it additional specification. This includes standard LED headlights, an electric tailgate and hill descent control on Comfortline models, while Highline specification adds amenities such as keyless entry, a sensor operating tailgate, App Connect and voice control.

Of course, there is some cool stuff that is optional, such as the Active Info Display digital instrument cluster, which can be specified individually instead of being bundled with the navigation system as seen in Audi’s case. You can also option things like Trailer Assist, Parallel Park Assist and adaptive cruise control. There is also the option to specify an Off-Road package, which provides both front and rear scuff plates and a break-over angle of 7° should you venture off the beaten track. For the style conscious buyer the R-Line package comes highly recommended at R19 700.

At its launch in KwaZulu-Natal, we drove the diesel and the flagship petrol variants. The former, although fairly frugal as it returned around 6.9l/100km during our drive, felt decidedly lacklustre during overtaking, which was rather disappointing considering that there were only two passengers aboard at the time.

The additional weight, up to 80kg, over the regular model is partly to blame in this instance. That said, as a package, the Allspace brings an aspect to the company’s range that was last seen in the Sharan MPV of the 1990s, which brought a fairly premium MPV offering to those who found a Caravelle a bit too dear in capital outlay and was perhaps a bit ungainly for their applications.

As mentioned, we drove the 2.0 TDI DSG in Comfortline trim, which will likely be the sweet spot for those who are looking for a blend of thriftiness and ability to lug a full complement of passengers.

However, I would have preferred the slightly more powerful 130kW and 350Nm that is available in the regular Tiguan, but I suspect that would have pushed the price of the Allspace further northwards.

While the engine in the Allspace suffered slightly when asked to perform overtaking manoeuvres, it did come in to its own off the beaten track where the low down torque made light work of some slushy, muddy surfaces we encountered due to the inclement weather. Here the model’s true mettle shone through as it seems to prefer steady progress than being hurried along.

The flagship 2.0 TSI Highline DSG in contrast is somewhat of a sprinter and was more than keen to make haste when asked to gallop. However, you can expect that spirited performance to yield around 10l/100km in real world terms, which is not bad but also not what one would deem particularly thrifty.

Out on the road, the Allspace feels more astutely planted than its smaller sibling, thanks in part to the slightly longer wheelbase that played a positive role in overall stability.

While the model may not have direct competitors per se, the Land Rover Discovery Sport is similar in application, but does require a slightly higher capital outlay and does not particularly match the German in overall tactile feel — ditto the Nissan X-Trail. One can possibly look at a Ford Everest or Toyota Fortuner, but these are based on bakkie underpinnings, which mean their respective ride qualities will echo their utilitarian counterparts.

The Allspace might not be the most practical offering at the price, but for those families who appreciate the regular Tiguan, but require more passenger space for their growing family, then this should keep them within the Volkswagen fold. At the price and with such appeal and technology, not to mention the additional practicality factor, the Allspace will appeal to the family that enjoys practicality without compromising on kerb appeal. – Lerato Matebese