Wheels

The VW Tiguan Allspace is a treat

South African Country Life - - In This Issue -

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.

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