SEVEN AT A STRESS-FREE STRETCH

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page - Richard Black­burn

VALUE

Our front-drive 110TSI with 1.4-litre turbo four­cylin­der starts from about $45,700 drive-away. Adding all-wheel drive and a more pow­er­ful 132kW 2.0-litre pushes the price up by about $5000. If you don’t need the ex­tra grunt and trac­tion, the 110TSI is well equipped for an en­try level ver­sion. It has a smart, well laid out cabin with high-res­o­lu­tion cen­tre touch­screen, smart­phone mir­ror­ing, sat­nav, a tail­gate that opens at the press of a but­ton and deft touches such as tray ta­ble for the out­board sec­ond row seats and three-zone air­con. No vents for the rear­most seats, though. Ser­vic­ing is rel­a­tively dear at about $1700 for three years but the fiveyear war­ranty is a bonus. Metal­lic paint is $700.

COM­FORT

The front seats are sup­port­ive and well padded, the in­stru­ments are all easy to read and the in­fo­tain­ment menus are easy to nav­i­gate, mak­ing for a stress-free com­mute. There’s de­cent head and legroom in the sec­ond row, where the kids can ad­just the air­con to suit. The third row seats are fid­dly to clam­ber into and not rec­om­mended for adults or large teens but they’ll do the trick for the lit­tlies. The Tiguan soaks up bumps and cor­ru­ga­tions well around town and the cabin is quiet, with lit­tle engine and tyre noise in­trud­ing.

SAFETY

The stan­dard safety pack­age is pretty good but not as com­pre­hen­sive as some ri­vals. Cur­tain airbags cover all three rows, while stan­dard driver as­sist tech in­cludes auto emer­gency brak­ing, rear cam­era and sen­sors and lane keep as­sis­tance. A $1600 driver as­sis­tance pack in­cludes, among other things, adap­tive cruise con­trol and rear traf­fic alert. The Allspace has a five-star crash rat­ing, scor­ing 96 per cent for adult oc­cu­pant pro­tec­tion.

DRIV­ING

The turbo four is smooth and will­ing and, for the most part, the six-speed dual-clutch auto shifts quickly and de­ci­sively. There can be an oc­ca­sional hes­i­ta­tion on take­off but most of the time it works ef­fec­tively to keep the engine in its sweet spot. The Tiguan strikes a good bal­ance be­tween com­posed cor­ner­ing and com­fort. One of the more en­ter­tain­ing SUVs to drive on a coun­try road, it’s suit­ably re­fined around town.

AL­TER­NA­TIVES NIS­SAN X-TRAIL FROM $36,052 DRIVE-AWAY

Sharply priced and spa­cious, with qual­ity fin­ishes in the cabin. Non-turbo 2.5-litre four­cylin­der, matched to a CVT, isn’t the most pow­er­ful in the class but gets the job done. No all-wheel drive at this price and not as en­ter­tain­ing to drive as the Tiguan.

SKODA KO­DIAQ $47,490 DRIVE-AWAY

Shares sim­i­lar un­der­pin­nings but is larger than the AllSpace, with more lug­gage space and legroom in the third row. Its 132kW turbo four is matched to a seven-speed auto. At this price you get all-wheel drive, Al­can­tara leather, sat­nav and full safety gear.

PEU­GEOT 5008 FROM ABOUT $48,800 DRIVE-AWAY

Rel­a­tively ex­pen­sive but fully loaded with dig­i­tal in­stru­ment panel, smart­phone mir­ror­ing and more com­pre­hen­sive stan­dard driver as­sis­tance tech. Re­fresh­ingly dif­fer­ent in­te­rior styling and in­no­va­tive seat­ing that can be re­moved to ac­com­mo­date loads.

VER­DICT

If your need for seven seats is only oc­ca­sional, the AllSpace is a qual­ity op­tion that feels smaller than it is.

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