Drive­way Tiguan with a space odd­ity

Cockburn Gazette - - DRIVE WAY -

HOW come Volk­swa­gen is sell­ing a seven-seat SUV for less than the sticker on the five-seater ver­sion?

It’s to do, in a round­about way, with Euro­pean buy­ers get­ting cleaner, thriftier cars.

For now, you can no longer buy a base model five-seater VW Tiguan 110TSi in Aus­tralia – it will re­turn next year – and the cheap­est is the next grade up, the 132TSi at $42,490.

If you just need a front­drive city shut­tle, you can get the en­try-level sev­enseater Tiguan Allspace for less than $41K.

For re­view pur­poses, we’re test­ing the mid-spec Allspace 132TSi Com­fort­line 4Mo­tion, at $45,490 a $3000 pre­mium over the five-seater Com­fort­line.

It runs VW’s 2.0-litre turbo (132kW/320Nm) matched ex­clu­sively with a seven-speed dual-clutch au­to­matic and all-wheel drive.

The Allspace adds 109mm of wheel­base and 215mm of over­all length to the five-seater. Struc­turally, and size-wise, it’s al­most iden­ti­cal to sub­sidiary brand Skoda’s seven-seater Ko­diaq, our 2017 Car of the Year.

Com­fort­line spec in­cludes eight-inch touch­screen in­fo­tain­ment with Ap­ple CarPlay/An­droid Auto con­nec­tiv­ity (with ac­cess to voice con­trol), re­mote op­er­a­tion via smart­phone or tablet, nav­i­ga­tion, three USB ports, tri-zone air­con (with row two vents and con­trols), chilled glove­box, LED head­lights that il­lu­mi­nate a cor­ner as you turn the wheel, au­to­matic park­ing and power tail­gate.

The ride, on 18-inch wheels, is pretty firm and fid­gety in town.

The base 110TSi, on 17inch­ers and taller tyres, will be more com­fort­able.

You sit deep in the Tiguan, so it can feel big­ger and bulkier than it is.

Row two has am­ple legroom. It’s split 60-40, with each side ad­justable, and there are flip up ta­bles on the front seat backs plus a 12V out­let.

VW cor­rectly calls the Allspace a ‘5+2’, be­cause the two fold-up rear seats are suitable only for young kids or very short trips and ac­cess is tight.

Fold the third row and the boot ex­tends to al­most two me­tres.

Au­tonomous emer­gency brak­ing with pedes­trian de­tec­tion, brak­ing from 10km/h and un­der in re­verse and lane keep­ing are stan­dard.

Cur­tain airbags cover all rows. A $1600 op­tion bun­dles adap­tive cruise, adap­tive LED head­lights, blind spot mon­i­tor­ing and rear cross traf­fic alert.

Dy­namic abil­ity is as good as a seven-seater SUV gets, and the Allspace’s han­dling is more ag­ile and re­spon­sive than most fiveseaters thanks to its rel­a­tively light 1735kg, the AWD ap­por­tion­ing drive fore and aft, dis­ci­plined body con­trol, ac­cu­rate, well-weighted steer­ing and strong brakes.

Ver­dict: As a fam­ily freighter, the Tiguan Allspace has ev­ery­thing you need to make life easy and keep the lit­tle ones safe, en­ter­tained and happy. As a drive, the VW/Skoda twins are also the best seven-seaters out there.

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