25 Oct 2018

Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace 110TSI Comfortline 2018 new car review

VW's new Tiguan is all about space
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Take one five-seat medium SUV, stretch it out like a slinky, and this seven-seat 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace will result.

For what sounds like a simple extension for a Tiguan nameplate that has been around for a decade, and has now switched to its second generation, the arrival of a Volkswagen SUV with beyond five seats has been anything but.

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The Tiguan Allspace is the local division of the German brand’s first seven-seat SUV, with its Skoda sibling leading the way for larger families first with its similar Kodiaq.

Now, however, this entry-level 110TSI Comfortline undercuts it on pricing, owing to a front-wheel drive (versus all-wheel drive) configuration and a smaller (1.4- plays 1.8-litre turbo) engine. Yet on paper at least, this longer Tiguan doesn’t appear to fall short of expectations...

Vehicle Style: Medium SUV

Price: $40,490 plus on-road costs

Engine/trans: 110kW/250Nm 1.4-litre turbo 4cyl | six-speed dual-clutch automatic

Fuel Economy Claimed: 6.6 l/100km Tested: 8.6 l/100km

OVERVIEW

In virginal white and sans options, this Tiguan Allspace 110TSI Comfortline totalled $40,490 plus on-road costs.

That’s $2500 below both the Kodiaq 132TSI 4x4 and a Hyundai Santa Fe Active (also 4x4), yet the front-drive Volkswagen is pricier than seven-seat versions of the Honda CR-V and Nissan X-Trail, for example.

Compared with that latter Japanese duo that simply add a sixth and seventh seat, however, this German-badged and Mexican-built contender actually gets a physically stretched body to enable greater rear legroom and boot space.

As reflected by its pricetag, and even equipment, it sits neatly between CR-V/X-Trail and Kodiaq/Santa Fe. Impressively, an electric tailgate, LED headlights, front and rear parking sensors with automatic reverse-park assistance, and keyless auto-entry with push-button start joins 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, tri-zone climate control, and satellite navigation as standard. All of which means you can pick a Tiguan Allspace, without ticking any option packages (though three are available as discussed below), and it will still be loaded up.

THE INTERIOR | RATING: 4.5/5

Standard Equipment: Keyless auto-entry with push-button start and electric-folding door mirrors, automatic on/off wipers and LED headlights, electric tailgate, tri-zone climate control, cruise control, and power windows and mirrors.

Infotainment: 8.0-inch colour touchscreen with Bluetooth connectivity, three USB ports, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone mirroring, satellite navigation and eight speakers.

Options Fitted: None.

Cargo Volume: 414 litres.

If you’re feeling fancy, you can tick a $4000-optional Luxury Package featuring leather trim, heated front seats, an electrically adjustable driver’s seat and panoramic sunroof. If you need more technology, there’s a $3200-optional Sound and Vision Package with ambient interior lighting, colour widescreen display ahead of the driver, Dynaudio sound system and a surround-view (replacing the standard rear-view) camera.

And if you need extra active safety kit, a $1600-optional Driver Assistance Package lobs in adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitor and a rear cross-traffic alert.

At $49,290 (plus orc) fully loaded, the 110TSI Comfortline might feel out of its depth, but pick one or two packs and it still looks competitive – although we would buy base, no options, simply because it is so well-equipped already.

Meanwhile, compared with the five-seat Tiguan, the Allspace body is a substantial 215mm longer, and yet at 4701mm it stretches no further than similarly priced, five-seat and far less practical medium sedans. No wonder SUVs are so popular...

Flexibility is the word here.

The sixth and seventh seats are ultimately still ‘occasional’ chairs for young kids, but even when using them there’s still a credible 230-litre boot volume behind their backrests. To look at, it’s basically identical to the pricier Santa Fe while comfortably eclipsing the 150L and 135L of a CR-V and X-Trail respectively.

Yet when not in use, and with the sliding middle-row bench positioned forward, a 700L luggage area is available, complete with a removable torch. Most medium sedans and five-seat medium SUVs offer circa-500L.

Slide that bench right back, though, and there’s a fantastic amount of rear legroom for passengers three, four and five, along with a separate climate zone, overhead storage panels, even aircraft-style tray tables that can be tilted on an angle to rest tablets on, plus air vents – although these disappointingly aren’t offered in the third row like Hyundai does.

What Volkswagen does offer, which the South Korean brand doesn’t, is curtain airbag coverage all the way to the furthermost seats – which is arguably of greater importance.

Back at the other end, and the Tiguan offers easy ergonomics and a simple, stylish design let down only by a small centre console storage bin and some cheap plastics. That said, the Mexican-built Allspace offers similar fit-and-finish to any other German-made Volkswagen.

The two front and single rear USB ports are handy, and the high-resolution touchscreen works instantly and effortlessly, backed by climate controls that ensure this base model grade feels anything but basic.

Indeed, this 110TSI Comfortline could be the pick of the whole Tiguan range inside, purely in terms of space and the balance of standard equipment for the money.

ON THE ROAD | RATING: 4.0/5

Engine: 110kW/250Nm 1.4-litre turbo petrol 4cyl.

Transmission: Six-speed dual-clutch automatic, FWD.

Suspension: MacPherson strut front and independent rear.

Brakes: Ventilated front and solid rear disc brakes.

Steering: Electrically assisted mechanical steering.

SUVs rarely get praised for efficiency. Too often they are overly big and too heavy, yet they lose packaging prowess to bulky all-wheel drive hardware underfloor. Finally, thankfully, this Tiguan Allspace 110TSI Comfortline provides sharp relief.

With a kerb mass of 1587kg, this Volkswagen weighs little more than a medium sedan. It’s also 90kg lighter than the Kodiaq 132TSI 4x4 already regarded as one of the most efficient and best seven-seat SUVs around.

Owing to this relatively fleet-footed stance, the 110TSI Comfortline needs only a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine to shine. The 110kW of power, produced between 5000rpm and 6000rpm, plays second fiddle to the 250Nm of torque critically delivered from just 1500rpm until 3500rpm.

We say critical because when loaded up with family and luggage, torque is most useful in helping a vehicle feel effortless. This Volkswagen doesn’t have a lot of it, but the fact it is produced so low in the rev band ensures the six-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox can grab taller gears early, aiding drivability and refinement.

And so it transpires. Where a CR-V and X-Trail (in particular the latter) can feel sluggish, the Tiguan is all smoothness and serenity – a beautiful fit for a family car.

Nevermind its 9.5-second 0-100km/h claim, then. Despite being 1.3sec slower than its 1.8-litre turbo Skoda cousin, it doesn’t feel like it. What only this engine can do is switch from using four cylinders to two when cruising, as illuminated by an Eco light on the dashboard to indicate that half the engine has been shut down – because you can’t feel it doing so.

The upshot is claimed combined-cycle fuel consumption of 6.6 litres per 100 kilometres, besting the Kodiaq 132TSI 4x4 by a full litre. That superb efficiency wasn’t quite achieved on-test, but we still managed a respectable 8.6L/100km.

Rolling on a longer wheelbase than the five-seat Tiguan, and with sensibly broad 18-inch tyres, the Allspace also delivers brilliantly cushy yet controlled ride quality.

There’s a distinct polish, a soothing calm and a depth of dynamic sophistication absent from its cheaper Honda and Nissan rivals, while the Volkswagen feels lighter on its feet and more pliant than the Skoda.

Only slightly too-slow steering with some inconsistent weighting mars the experience. But even then only slightly – response is still linear across the ratio and rarely vague. However, if this 110TSI Comfortline scored the variable-ratio ‘progressive’ steering available as an option in the pricier 162TSI Highline, which is sharper and superior, it would be even better.

SAFETY

ANCAP rating: 5 stars – this model scored 36.6 out of 38 possible points when tested by Euro NCAP in 2016.

Safety Features: Seven airbags, ABS, electronic stability control (ESC), autonomous emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, lane-keep assistance, reverse-view camera, and front and rear parking sensors.

WARRANTY AND SERVICING

Warranty: Three years/unlimited km (five years/unlimited km until December 31)

Servicing: With annual or 15,000km intervals, Volkswagen’s capped-price servicing plan costs $370, $566, $437, $1081 and $370 for each check-up respectively, until five years or 75,000km.

RIVALS TO CONSIDER

The CR-V VTi-L ousts the X-Trail ST-L as the better of the two sub-$40K, small seven seaters, being loaded with kit and offered with a punchy turbo petrol engine – though it can’t match the packaging and refinement of this Tiguan Allspace 110TSI Comfortline. Hyundai still offers the Santa Fe with a 2.4-litre non-turbo four-cylinder engine, but it packages it with heavy all-wheel drive, offers the least amount of standard equipment – although inside the nicest cabin of the bunch – and prices it from $42K-plus.

The Kodiaq 132TSI 4x4 costs similar coin, but it’s a sweeter package with a smarter drivetrain, all while offering more equipment and extra room compared with this cousin Volkswagen – if we had a larger brood, we would make the stretch to the Skoda for sure.

  • Honda CR-V VTi-L
  • Hyundai Santa Fe Active
  • Skoda Kodiaq 132TSI 4x4

TMR VERDICT | OVERALL RATING: 4.5/5

The Tiguan Allspace 110TSI Comfortline is absolutely Volkswagen’s new-generation medium SUV ‘sweet spot’.

Moreover, it nestles into a spot of the seven-seat market that few rivals can match, being roomier and nicer to drive than smaller but better equipped entrants, yet also much lighter and more efficient than bigger and sparsely-kitted contenders.

While a trio of option packages can push the price too far north, there’s so much equipment standard for a lick over $40K that buying one unoptioned can absolutely be recommended. It won’t feel like a base model, either, with enough convenience items to enjoy, if not indulge.

Best think of this 110TSI Comfortline as a five-seat Tiguan with bonus seats and/or a massive boot, though the fact that there’s the flexibility to choose from one or the other, and yet without an enormous price penalty, really the most usefully deployed Allspace ace card.

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