Creating a roomier five-seat SUV that can take an extra two passengers shouldn’t be hard - just look at the Tiguan which has grown dimensionally and added two more seats to create the aptly-named Allspace.
It becomes the first seven-seat vehicle that the German brand has ever sold in Australia despite the already larger Toureg being on sale since 2002. With that in mind, it seems like VW has actually taken the hard route by shoehorning seven seats into its smaller SUV, but the end result pays off.
You either need a seven-seat SUV or you don’t – and the equation from there should be simple. But arriving with only a $3000 premium over the equivalent five-seater, the Allspace becomes an interesting proposition. If space is important, (what family with an SUV wouldn’t want to steal a little bit more room) the Allspace has a bigger boot and of course a handy extra two-seats. Just keep in mind the third-row is good for kids only.
And if you’re after a diesel Tiguan, the Allspace will soon be the only model to offer one, as the five-seat has culled its line-up to petrol-only models.
If you can afford the Tiguan then you should be able to afford the Allspace, as it brings just a marginal price increase to the equivalent variant. Available in two model line-ups, Comfortline and Highline, the Allspace does away with the Tiguan’s base Trendline grade. The equivalent models are around $3000 more expensive and engine options are three petrol turbos - the 110TSI, 132TSI and 162TSI - and two diesel turbos - the 110TDI and 142TDI. All are mated exclusively to a DSG automatic transmission.
Pricing starts from $40,490 plus on-road costs for the base 110TSI Comfortline and goes up to $54,490 for the 140TDI Highline. The 162TSI Highline on test, which is tipped to be the most popular model as per the five-seat Tiguan, is priced at $52,990 plus on-road costs.
The Allspace, at 4701mm long, is just 50mm shorter than the first-gen Touareg, which means it's longer than some equivalent mid-size SUV rivals like the Honda CR-V (4596mm) and Nissan X-Trail (4690mm), but just shorter than key rivals like the Hyundai Santa Fe (4770mm) and Kia Sorento (4780mm).
Visually there are not many differences from the front except for a raised bonnet lip and chrome grille across the range. On the side, the back doors are longer and the rear quarter window kinks up for a sleek wagon-like SUV stance.
Underpinning the seven-seat Tiguan line-up is the sporty 162TSI model on test that’s likely to be the volume seller.
As the top-spec model in the line-up the Highline comes with the most comprehensive kit which includes larger 19-inch alloys, three-zone climate control, automatic closing electric tailgate, leather interior trim, electric and heated front seats, heated outer second row seating, 9.2-inch infotainment system with Apple Carplay and Android Auto, automatic high beam LED headlights, adaptive chassis control, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, traffic jam assist, reversing camera, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and high and low speed automatic emergency braking with pedestrian recognition.
The Tiguan is in its second-generation and the Allspace is the same vehicle but with a 215mm longer body and 109mm longer wheelbase. Across testing of four different variants things like panels gaps and parts were well put together and consistent. There were no rattles and all touch points had a solid click and good feel to them.
Practical use is well thought out and there’s an adjustable cup-holder or storage pocket right where you want one and the boot is available with optional storage carrying layouts to keep gear tidy.
As standard, the cargo blind stows neatly under the boot floor so it’s out of the way where a rechargeable torch is conveniently located. The automatic closing tailgate is handy too - pressing a button and walking away with hands full the tailgate will automatically shut. It won’t let you lock keys in it either.
The Allspace’s extra third-row seating is the standout feature compared to its five-seat sibling. In its segment, the 230-litre boot with third-row up and 700-litre space with it down are near the top of the class – down only to the Skoda Kodiaq with three rows up and larger than all competitors with the third-row flat.
The front seats have a good range of adjustment and the driver’s position is versatile, while shoulder room between the front two pews makes for an airy cabin. The second row also sits on soft cushions but the third-row seats are flat and hard - as expected of a compromised fold-flat configuration.
Touch points are made from quality materials and the design throughout is contemporary and clean with items like a steering wheel that looks sharp while also being nice to hold.
The infotainment system is one of the best in class and with DAB+ radio, Apple Carplay and Android Auto Connectivity it has the latest connectivity.
Technology is terrific and features such as the 9.2-inch high-resolution, vibrant infotainment system and virtual instrument display cluster are impressive. The driver assistance tech is also comprehensive with a swathe of the latest convenience features like traffic-following radar cruise control, automatic steering assist and low and high-speed automatic emergency braking that works up to 250km/h - well over any Australian speed limit.
ON THE ROAD
The 162TSI unit is a derivative of the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol motor found in the Golf GTI and produces 162kW of power and 350Nm of torque. It tops the range for power and is the best-selling engine in the line-up. For an SUV of this size it has plenty of power and produces a subtle but enjoyable rasp in sport mode.
The Allspace, like the Tiguan, is built on Volkswagen’s latest MQB platform that underpins a variety of cars from the Golf to the Audi Q2. Here it has been stretched out, but the suspension set-up remains unaffected with good composure and a compliant ride on varied road surfaces.
Further changes to the Highline range include adaptive chassis control as standard which changes the cars attitude from comfort to sport mode via things like multi-stage suspension. Volkswagen says the adaptive dampers are a prerequisite to help the larger 19-inch alloys ride nicely and it’s effective in the real world.
Slackened off, the suspension soaks up bumps and coarse chip surfaces well with a calm ride that never feels too soft or wobbly. Put in sport mode, things sharpen up and patchy surfaces are transmitted in full. But there’s not much need for the setting unless going for a blast, and even then, comfort is a good compromise on poor surfaces.
The cabin is also well isolated from exterior noise and road roar, including on gravel roads, making it a nice car for long road trips. Highway driving is further eased by the adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist that keeps the car nicely centred in the lane and a good distance from leading traffic.
The engine performs well and has good power available low in the rev range though the DSG automatic can feel a little hesitant to get going in comfort and normal driving modes. Importantly, it isn’t slack when dropping down a gear on the road to overtake and get through traffic.
On a quick run up a twisting road the ride wasn’t as composed and even in sport setting the steering lost some accuracy in tight corners, with the car pushing towards understeer at a moderate pace – though this part of the test loop is unlikely to be the home ground of a family SUV.
TMR VERDICT | OVERALL
Entering the seven-seat segment for the first time in Australia, Volkswagen has put forward a compelling product with the Tiguan Allspace.
It’s well finished and rather than cram a third-row into the existing Tiguan shell the Allspace benefits from being dimensionally larger. It pays off in the boot that’s capacious and the second-row that gets extra legroom without the third-row up. And with all of the mod-cons of the normal Tiguan the Allspace will undoubtedly appeal to bigger families.
- Interested in buying Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace? Visit our Volkswagen showroom for more information.