The VW Tiguan Allspace is a treat
It’s amazing how many people ask me to recommend a sevenseater for family duty. Frankly, I don’t get it – how many people have more than two or perhaps three kids these days? But that’s just me. Apparently the extra row of seats is one of the (many) reasons why Toyota’s Fortuner is such a big seller – people want seven seats and SUV styling. Well, here’s another option – the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace.
Firstly, the Tiguan has come a long way since it was launched as a fairly bland, slightly feminine crossover alternative to the VW Touran and Toyota Verso. Then there was a huge gap between it and the Touareg – VW’s true 4x4 that really looked the part, and acted it too. But since the new generation Tiguan was launched late last year, it has looked far more the chiselled outdoorsman than city-dwelling metrosexual, even if appearances don’t quite equate to off-road ability. Essentially, it’s like most of us – we wear technical K-Way jackets but can’t climb mountains.
Because we had a car capable of seating seven, my wife and I took the opportunity of going away, just the two of us, the five empty seats emphasising what a treat it was for them to be empty. Actually, we could only see three empty seats, the two ‘occasional’ seats in the back row having been folded into the floor to extend the load capacity from a small 230 litres to a voluminous 700 litres, big enough so that you can just chuck in your suitcases without the normal game of luggage Tetris.
The extra seats themselves are a mixed blessing. Yes, they’re useful on occasion, but you wouldn’t want to use them more than that as they are small and not easy to get into. But they do fold flat into the floor, and there is more luggage space than in a normal Tiguan, so for the minimal extra cost the Allspace makes a lot of sense.
The Tiguan is by no means a tar-only SUV, and the 4Motion AWD system is actually quite extensive and advanced. Ordinarily, the system sends power to the wheels where it is needed, but there is also the new 4Motion Active Control setup, where the driver is able to select one of four driving modes via a dial: Road, Snow, Off-road or Off-road Individual. On our trip we went to a remote mountaintop destination called Greenfire Lodge Drakensberg, which is about as high into the mountains as you can get in a car, and at the end of a long twee-spoor
track that goes through streams and up mountain slopes. When we arrived, two people asked us how our car had managed to get there, and the answer was, easily.
We used the Off-road setting on our recent trip and I was particularly impressed with the way it assists in engine braking when you’re tackling a steep descent. The Traction Control also works well in slippery conditions.
There are four models in the Allspace lineup: 1.4 TSI in Trendline trim, 2.0 TSI 4Motion in Comfortline trim, 2.0 TDI (turbodiesel)
4Motion in Comfortline trim, and 2.0 TSI 4Motion in Highline trim
(the model we tested). The 2.0 TSI is the most fun to drive, obviously, but the TDI makes the most sense in terms of balancing fuel economy (6.6L/100km) with driving enjoyment.
I would avoid the optional R-Line package, because the bigger wheels and stiff suspension make for a crashy ride, especially at low speeds.
The standard suspension is far better in terms of ride comfort and doesn’t compromise much on the car-like handling.
The Tiguan Allspace is an attractive proposition, offering an extra row of seats and extra luggage space, all for about R33 000 more than the standard Tiguan. The main compromise is appearance, which isn’t as slim and sexy as the standard vehicle. The prices include a 3-year/120 000km vehicle warranty and a 5-year/90 000km service plan.
ABOVE: The new Tiguan is more chiselled than previous generations. BELOW: Premium quality materials are evident in the Tiguan’s interior.
ABOVE LEFT: With the rear row of seats down, the boot is huge (700 litres). ABOVE RIGHT: The Tiguan has grown up, from every angle.BOTTOM LEFT: Your trusty steed will take you places.