Seven seats, stonking speed, Allspace is much more than just allright!
It’s laughably fast: VW claims 0-100km/h in 6.8 seconds, and that’s exactly the time we achieved.
IT MAY BE A LITTLE CONFUSING, BUT VW’S Tiguan compact SUV now comes in a seven seater, while the larger VW Touareg moves just five. But the Tiguan also offers five seating; though it’s a different body to the Allspace. Still with us? Let’s just focus on the new seven-seat Tiguan Allspace for a moment, because as far as previous experience and expectations go, they have both been blown away.
Admittedly, we tested the top-spec R-line petrol model, which at $73k is certainly pricey, but the choices are many: five engines and six variants are available in the Allspace range, starting with the FWD 110kw 1.4-litre turbo 2WD at $47,990, up to the AWD 176kw twin-turbo diesel R-line at $76,990, a $4k premium for the diesel, which provides a 0.1 improvement in the 0-100km/h time and a 1.6l/100km economy gain.
We sampled one step down, the AWD 162kw R-line petrol, replete with aggressive bumper and body, rear spoiler and 20-inch wheels. The package also adds Vienna leather, power memory driver’s seat, brushed stainless pedals, front scuff plates, steering wheel and seats featuring the R design, along with shift paddles.
Model sharing with the Skoda Kodiaq, our favourite drive of 2017, VW ups the game with more power and a few minor points of difference, such as the multi-size centre cupholders and the dashboard that allows the gauges and layout to be configured to each specific key. There’s lots to play with, and navigate within the dash and display, with smaller/larger main dials configurable with, for example, the centre-screen showing the nav map or the active cruise control distance. There’s even a pop-up glass head-up display replicating important driving data.
While the front is certainly comfortable and fully equipped, the rear seats also get heating, along with USB/12V power, zoned climate control, plus fold-down tables and cup-holders, which make the kids (or big kids) feel very accommodated.
The third row is also well appointed, and though similarly sized to the Kodiaq, that’s a good thing, with short-trip comfort for adults, for both leg and head room, and some storage bins.
Open the automatic tailgate and the boot uses the same Skoda smart thinking, with handles and levers to lower the third and second row seats, shopping hooks and a removable magnetic torch. Plus a cover to stow the parcel shelf, a simple concept but not always accommodated.
With five driving modes, from eco to a customised driver-tailored combination, the 2.0-litre petrol engine offers laughably fast performance: VW claims 0-100km/h in 6.8 seconds, aided by 17psi of boost, and that’s exactly what we tested, which is not far off a Golf GTI; though it requires the use of launch control. With a conventional street start (foot from brake to accelerator), the time extends to 7.4 seconds, plus another 0.2 if it’s dormant in start-stop mode. Which brings us to the first minor complaint: the start-stop doesn’t reignite the engine when the brake is lifted, only when the throttle is touched, which adds a few tenths to a take-off.
The only other irritation is the big 9.2inch touchscreen: it looks fantastic when clean, and is great for all the functions including a big reversing screen with around view and parking guidelines, but it also leaves dirty finger marks. There’s wavemotion control of the screen, but as effective as it is, we ended up deactivating the feature after too many radio stations were accidently changed by simply moving the left hand from the wheel, despite the wheel adjusted to full reach.
Apart from those trivial issues, we just love the Allspace: from the big overhead storage bins, to the lined door bins, the super quick steering that’s just two turns lock-to-lock, the park assist system and impressively, those glorious 20-inch wheels, which impressively offer superb ride quality and prove it’s possible to have both looks, performance and comfort.
For all its attributes, the speed does come at a cost, however, and though VW claims 8.1l/100km, we struggled to get under 9-9.5l/100km, even when resetting the trip computer and cruising around 50-60km/h. It’s still decent economy for its size, and manages it without worrying about diesel/road User Charges.
The overriding opinion is that the Allspace is just a fantastic package, mixing looks, power, performance, comfort and decent economy. The R-line’s price is high, but so is the equipment level. Put simply, VW Allspace is one of our favourite drives of 2018.