TOW TEST

Volk­swa­gen has added 20 cm to this Tiguan model, cre­at­ing much more than just ad­di­tional space.

Go! Camp & Drive - - Contents - Text and pho­tos Leon Botha

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.

Even smarter

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.

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