Volkswagen has added 20 cm to this Tiguan model, creating much more than just additional space.
The Tiguan Allspace is not replacing the existing Tiguan range, but instead offers an additional choice to buyers. With the Allspace, Volkswagen is suiting caravanners even more. Because apart from more legroom in the back, the boot is also bigger – so much so that two fold-down seats are fitted. That makes the Allspace a model in its own right that slots in perfectly between the standard Tiguan and Volkswagen’s flagship SUV, the Touareg. The Allspace is therefore the perfect family vehicle; and with its turbocharged 2 ℓ petrol engine, you can hitch with complete confidence, because any caravan will have to try its best to keep up with this Tiguan.
1 of 4 options
The Allspace is available in four models with two engine sizes. The 1,4 ℓ is the only model with a six-speed manual gearbox and also without all-wheel drive – Volkswagen’s so-called 4Motion. The rest (one diesel engine and two petrol) all have seven-speed DSG transmissions and all three are certified to tow caravans weighing up to 2,2 t, so you can hitch almost any caravan available on our roads. Even the 1,4 ℓ is only limited to a none-too-shabby 1,8 t. The electric-release Westfalia fold-away hitch is optional on all four models, and costs an additional R7 818. The hitch is hidden behind the bumper, but you can deploy it with little effort. You simply pull on a switch on the left inside the boot which releases the hitch, causing it to drop down. Then you need to pull the hitch up by hand until it clicks into place. To stow it, you do the same: pull the switch, and then push the hitch out of sight. The trailer plug sits diagonally in the neck of the hitch, and the Tiguan detects the caravan when you plug the lights into the socket. The Tiguan’s computer even knows when one of the caravan’s lights is faulty and will give a warning, along the lines of “Check left trailer light”. When you lock the Tiguan and turn on the alarm while the caravan is hitched, the computer will keep an eye on the caravan as well. If someone disconnects the trailer plug, the alarm will sound. ( This doesn’t work for caravans with LEDs, though.) Trailer sway assist comes standard on all models, and is activated automatically when you switch on the car. This system is built to work effectively on caravans with overrun brakes, and kicks in when you’re towing faster than 60 km/h. The same goes for the engine’s automatic on and off mode when you’re standing still in traffic. When you hitch the caravan, this mode deactivates and the engine stays on. If the car doesn’t detect the caravan, you have to deactivate this function manually. The button is to the left of the gear lever.
Volkswagen shines when it comes to their rear-view camera system. The screen is super-bright, and besides the view from the back displayed on the screen, Volkswagen makes it even easier when you’re reversing to within 30 cm of the coupler. The camera can be aimed onto the ball, so you can see the coupler directly from above. Three semicircles, each about 10 cm, will appear on the screen around the hitch, so you can see exactly how far the coupler is from the ball. There’s even an orange line from the ball across the screen; as you turn the steering wheel, the line curves in the direction you’re reversing, and you can aim like a pro. Volkswagen takes this reversing technology even further. The Tiguan’s computer can also help you reverse with the caravan, and can take over the steering. It’s a similar system to the one in the new Land Rover Discovery; but considering that the Discovery is more than double the price of the Tiguan, the system is unique in this market segment. Push the Park Assist button next to the gear lever when you want to engage reverse. Don’t touch the steering wheel; you’ll deactivate the automatic reverse mode. A grey silhouette of the Tiguan and the caravan will appear on the dashboard, showing the real-time angle between the car and the caravan. Now press the side-mirror button, in the direction you want to reverse. Another image (in orange) of the caravan will appear showing the angle you’re aiming for. When you release the brake, the Tiguan will reverse in the chosen direction, and will keep moving while the computer maintains the angle between the car and the caravan. It’s calibrated to avoid jack-knifing. Another unintentional benefit of the function is that when you get into the car and immediately want to reverse, it will do so at exactly the angle you parked with the caravan. So if you parked in a straight line, it will reverse like that, with the caravan in tow.
The big difference
As with most vehicles, there’s space for bottles between the front seats. Often these cupholders are too wide for the smaller cans, but Volkswagen has added an extra plastic guide that slides out for this purpose. Besides the convenience of having USB sockets for the front and rear passengers, there are also lights for the people in the back. Caravanners are used to towing long distances, and it’s not uncommon to spend a lot of time in the dark behind the wheel. But if the kids want to read in the back, it can be a problem. In the Tiguan the rear light is above the door, shining directly onto the rear passengers, and the driver is unaffected. Full marks for this. The Allspace is 21,5 cm longer than the standard Tiguan, which makes the wheelbase 11 cm longer. It also adds 6 cm of legroom to the middle row. A tray unfolds from the back of each front seat, a lot like an aeroplane tray. It can be tilted to a 45° angle, if you want to use it to prop up a book.
In some of their models Volkswagen has been using a digital instrument panel – called Active Info Display. One of the big bonuses of the system is that you can see the satnav map right there in front of you, behind the steering wheel. That means you don’t have to divert your eyes to the centre console. VW has added an extra convenience called Head-up Display. A see-through glass screen slightly smaller than an A5 piece of paper rises from the panel in front of the driver. Information such as speed and cruise control data is projected onto it from the console, appearing as a hologram in front of the windscreen. Besides the water temperature, you can also see how hot the oil in the engine is. During peak traffic (and without the caravan) the oil was 110 °C and the water temperature 90 °C. About halfway through the tow test the oil temperature averaged around 110 °C, while the water reading didn’t budge.
VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN ALLSPACE 2.0 TSI 4MOTION HIGHLINE
PERFECT LINES (EVEN UNDER THE BONNET). This car turns heads, but beauty is only skin-deep. Unless it’s an Allspace, which is beautiful all the way down to the bone.