All the space, all so good

ROAD TEST/ Mark Smyth finds the Volk­swa­gen Tiguan Allspace to be a su­perb all-rounder

Business Day - Motor News - - MOTOR NEWS -

Peo­ple of­ten ask me what I would buy if I was buy­ing a car. It is, of course, a gen­eral ques­tion. Am I buy­ing a sports car or an SUV to drive through Africa? Usu­ally we nar­row it down to an ev­ery­day car, one that can do the daily com­mute, carry all the fam­ily stuff at the week­end and still de­liver a lit­tle bit of fun.

For years my an­swer was al­ways the same — the Audi A3 Sport­back. It not only pro­vides scope to choose any­thing be­tween an ef­fi­cient diesel and the stonk­ing RS3, but the model also stops short of be­ing a full sta­tion wagon while hav­ing more boot space than a reg­u­lar hatch. The styling is great, the in­te­rior the best in the busi­ness and in spite of be­ing Ger­man, the costs won’t break the bank.

But now when faced with the ques­tion, I am faced with a dilemma over my usual an­swer and it comes from within Audi’s ranks. It is the Volk­swa­gen Tiguan Allspace.

I’m not nor­mally a fan of seven-seater ve­hi­cles. Many are mas­sive SUVs that peo­ple never use prop­erly and which pose a se­ri­ous rollover safety risk if you carry seven peo­ple in them and have to per­form any kind of emer­gency lane change.

But lately we have been see­ing smaller SUVs that are closer to the ground, have bet­ter elec­tronic safety sys­tems and which don’t pre­tend to be full seven-seaters but rather five­plus-two mod­els.

The Allspace is one of th­ese. The reg­u­lar Tiguan is a bril­liant ve­hi­cle to be­gin with but the Allspace gets an ad­di­tional 215mm to bring it to 4,701mm in length. Some 105mm has been added to the rear but it is the ad­di­tion of 110mm be­tween the front and rear axles that also makes a marked dif­fer­ence. The pro­por­tions re­main in keep­ing with the reg­u­lar vari­ant en­sur­ing that the Allspace does not look like a Tiguan su­per­sized.

The in­crease in size al­lows for that third row of seats, but it also pro­vides up to 180mm of room to move the mid­dle row. It in­creases the boot space to 760l with the third row down and to a mas­sive 1,920l with both mid­dle and rear­most seats folded into the floor. Put them all up though and boot space drops to a city car ri­valling 230l, although this can be var­ied by slid­ing ei­ther row fur­ther for­ward. In th­ese days of get­ting value for money, 215mm ex­tra gives you a great deal. It gives you an ex­tra row of seats, al­beit ones that are re­ally only for oc­ca­sional use.

But that is the thing, you don’t want to have seven peo­ple in your car all the time, un­less you are a Toy­ota Avanza taxi driver. And if you only have five then you have masses of bootspace which is ideal when you want to get away at the week­end or pick up some­thing larger from Builders Ware­house for the week­end DIY.

You get all of this for R32,900 more than the equiv­a­lent Tiguan model which to me makes it a bit of a no-brainer. You might only use the oc­ca­sional third row seats, oc­ca­sion­ally. You might only put 760l of gar­den com­post in the boot, oc­ca­sion­ally, but know­ing you can makes that ex­tra over the reg­u­lar model worth­while.

Equally im­por­tant is the fact that you get ev­ery­thing a Tiguan has to of­fer. For some rea­son, the Nis­san Qashqai+2 never had the ap­peal of the Qashqai and sold in lim­ited num­bers in spite of the ex­tra seats and larger bootspace when they were

One of the great things about the Tiguan Allspace is it looks just like — a Tiguan. Left: The third row of seats are for oc­ca­sional use.

The Allspace barely shows its ad­di­tional 215mm of length, above. Left: The in­te­rior is spa­cious and com­fort­able enough to even be a de­cent workspace.

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