So you like the look of the Volkswagen Tiguan, but occasionally need seven seats.
You could look at the Skoda Kodiaq, which is essentially a seven-seat Tiguan with a different badge, or explore options such as the Hyundai Santa Fe.
Volkswagen Australia also has another option for you. Introduced in 2018, the Allspace is a Tiguan with, well, more space.
But it still packs a third row of seats for occasional use and a bigger boot than the standard Volkswagen Tiguan – not to mention the option of Volkswagen’s excellent turbocharged petrol engines.
How does it fare in range-topping 162TSI R-Line guise?
The Tiguan Allspace range kicks off at $40,490 before on-road costs for the base 110TSI Comfortline, and extends to $52,490 before on-roads for the range-topping 162TSI Highline on test here.
Adding the R-Line package optioned here will set you back an additional $3000, as will the Sound and Vision package, while premium paint is an additional $800.
With options included, our tester comes in at $59,290 before on-road costs.
The range-topping Tiguan Allspace wants for little. Tri-zone climate control, heated seats (front and rear) with electric adjustment up front, a powered tailgate, leather trim, and a 9.2-inch infotainment system are all included from the factory.
Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and in-built navigation are all part of the standard technology package, along with a reversing camera and parking sensors.
There’s keyless entry and start, automatic headlights and high-beam, automatic windscreen wipers, autonomous emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control.
The R-Line Package brings 20-inch alloy wheels, a racier bodykit, unique seats and a flat-bottom R-Line steering wheel hooked up to sport-tuned progressive steering.
Meanwhile, the Sound and Vision package adds an uprated surround sound system, surround-view camera, and the excellent 10.25-inch Active Info Display digital instrument cluster.
The Tiguan Allspace wears a five-star ANCAP rating based on testing carried out in 2016.
Standard equipment in the Highline includes low- and high-speed autonomous emergency braking, lane-keeping assist, rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control. It features eight airbags, too.
The Tiguan scored 96 per cent for adult occupant protection, 80 per cent for child occupant protection, 68 per cent for vulnerable road user protection, and 68 per cent for safety assist.
At risk of sounding uninventive, the Tiguan Allspace is very Volkswagen from behind the wheel. The climate control binnacle, column stalks, steering wheel, and various buttons all feature elsewhere in the brand’s stable, which means there are no surprises.
That isn’t a bad thing, because the fundamentals in modern Volkswagen interiors are excellent.
The driving position in the Tiguan Allspace is likewise excellent, with plenty of adjustment in the seat and wheel allowing drivers great and small to get comfortable. The seats in the R-Line are again, excellent, with plenty of under-thigh support and slightly more bolstering than you might expect of a family SUV.
Despite sharing its bones with the $35,000 five-seat Tiguan, the Allspace feels like a quality item. The leather seats and wheel feel expensive, while all the buttons, column stalks, and touch points are nicely damped – perhaps with the exception of the rotary controller for drive mode selection, which has a cheap, plasticky movement.
Storage options abound, from the spacious door bins and centre console, to the clever space on the transmission tunnel and its magic rotating cupholders. There’s also a decent space below the climate controls, although there isn’t a wireless smartphone charger.
Expect that to be rectified in the mid-life facelift expected to drop later this year.
The second row is also excellent, provided the bench is slid to its rearmost position. There’s enough legroom for average-height people to sit behind average-height drivers, although taller families might want to look at a larger seven-seat SUV or proper people mover.
I’m six-seven, and wouldn’t be able to sit behind another six footer – not that I’m representative of most teenagers, of course.
Headroom is excellent, and the map pockets and airline-style tray tables are neat touches that will come in handy on road trips. The heated outboard seats and climate controls are also thoughtful inclusions. There are ISOFIX anchor points on the outboard rear seats, too.
The third row is undoubtedly the Tiguan’s weakest. It hasn’t been designed as a full-time seven-seater, but the pop-up rear is tight, even by 5+2 standards.
They’re best reserved for small kids, gymnasts, or adults you really don’t like. There are no vents or speakers, although there is one cupholder.
Boot space is surprisingly good with the third row in place. There’s 230L on offer, expanding to 700L with just the second row in place, and a whopping 1775L with them folded.
There are a few neat touches back there. The luggage blind can be stowed under the boot floor when not in use, and there are pop-out LED torches for when the children inevitably drop something on dim, cold, rainy night.
The Tiguan shines on the technology front. The digital instrument binnacle is crisp and clean, and Volkswagen has refined it to the point where it no longer feels like information overload.
You can scroll through a range of views, from circular speedo and rev counters designed to mimic more conventional gauges, to a pared-back display putting navigation front and centre. They’re all useful and thoughtfully designed.
It’s a big selling point for the Volkswagen Tiguan – provided you can stump for the Sound and Vision Package, of course.
The central touchscreen isn’t standout, but it’s functional and feature-packed. It can be a bit slow to start up, but once up and running it’s quick to respond. Apple CarPlay works without a hitch, and gesture control – which allows you to flick between screens with a swipe of your hand – adds a dash of cool to proceedings.
The mid-life facelift slated to be revealed later this year is likely to bring an updated infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay, but there’s very little wrong with the existing setup.
Power in the 162TSI comes from a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine making 162kW of power and 350Nm of torque, the same basic engine used in the Golf GTI and R hot hatches. The only transmission on offer is a seven-speed dual-clutch.
It’s put to all four wheels through a 4Motion all-wheel drive system. It can be locked into more off-road focused modes, but the system is front-biased by default, sending power rearwards when the front wheels slip.
Volkswagen claims it will hit 100km/h in just 6.8 seconds, and uses 8.3L/100km on the combined cycle.
At risk of stating the obvious, the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace drives like a slightly bigger Tiguan.
Given the regular Tiguan drives like a slightly taller, longer Golf, that’s a good thing.
The 162TSI engine is a peach, with bags of low-down torque making the big Tiguan feel like an overgrown warm hatchback when you bury the throttle. It has a decent growl, too.
It’s mated with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission as standard. Although it’s not quite as natural around town as a torque converter, the punchy engine means there’s rarely any awkwardness off the line. With time comes familiarity, and once you’re keyed into the driving style required the dual-clutch transmission won’t cause any headaches.
The advantages of the DSG are clear when you’re up and rolling. Shifts are eye-blink fast in Sport, but even in Normal mode there’s a crispness about the the transmission you just don’t get with a torque converter.
As is common in 2020, it’s tuned for efficiency. That means it will shuffle to the tallest gear possible and stay there under light throttle, which can make the car feel as though it’s been neutered in day-to-day driving.
Stamp on the accelerator, though, and it snaps down a gear and into the meat of the engine’s torque. There’s also paddle shifters for when you want to take manual control.
Although it’s a seven-seater, the Allspace is smaller than rivals such as the Hyundai Santa Fe, which makes it slightly easier to drive around town.
Visibility is excellent, and the clear surround-view camera works in tandem with light low-speed steering to make tight city parks and underground garages a cinch. The whole low-speed driving experience is very car-like, which is a very good thing.
Up the pace and the steering has enough weight to inspire confidence. It feels stable and planted on the highway, and the cabin is impressively refined. Very little wind noise or tyre roar sneaks through to spoil the serenity. The engine is also hushed at a highway cruise, ticking over below 2000rpm in seventh gear.
The ride is impressive, but there’s no hiding the fact the Allspace R-Line is riding on 20-inch wheels. It’s relaxed in Normal mode and errs towards becoming floaty in Comfort, but big hits like potholes undermine the smooth feel.
Realistically, that’s the price of style. Flicked into Sport, the Tiguan has impressively tight body control. The ride is probably a bit firm for day-to-day use, but when the road gets twisty you can hustle the Allspace along with some conviction, and enjoy everything the punchy engine has to offer.
Just make sure the kids are prepared.
Quicker than expected
The 162TSI Tiguan hits 100km/h in just 6.8 seconds
Volkswagen backs the Tiguan Allspace with a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.
Maintenance is required every 12 months or 15,000km. Volkswagen offers a three-year service plan for $1350 and a five-year plan for $2300, including a free first service.
It’s worth bearing in mind the Tiguan Allspace drinks 95 RON fuel, not cheaper 91 RON regular unleaded.
There’s very little wrong with the Tiguan Allspace, especially in 162TSI trim.
The engine is a winner, with enough punch to win over parents forced to ditch their hot hatches for something more practical. The fact it handles like a longer, taller Golf helps as well.
With the right options boxes ticked it offers a high-tech cabin to rival more expensive German metal, and the rear seats are fit for part-time use – but nothing more.
The car’s biggest problem is its strong set of rivals. The range-topping Hyundai Santa Fe is $61,050 and packs more interior space, there’s a tech-laden new Kia Sorento coming, and there’s also the thorny issue of the related Skoda Kodiaq.
Although it’s less powerful, my preference is for the Kodiaq over the Tiguan Allspace. I prefer the interior design, even though it’s functionally very similar to the Tiguan.
If it’s lots of space you need, the Santa Fe is a better bet.