Seven seats, stonk­ing speed, Allspace is much more than just all­right!

New Zealand LCV - - CONTENTS -

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.

Story & Pho­tos: Dean Evans

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