This month the Driven team heartily welcomes the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace to its garage on a more extended stay. For the next 12 months, the team will be putting the model through its paces under varying conditions. From karting kids to school, to taking the family on a holiday sojourn and everything in-between. Suffice to say, it has its work cut out for it and we will be bringing you all our findings on these pages in future editions. For now, however, let us see what our test car brings to the table.
Launched in the first quarter of 2018, the Tiguan Allspace was answering a question that no one was really asking at the time. Would a more practical seven-seater variant of the much-vaunted model be equally appealing – stylistically speaking – while also adding a quota of practicality courtesy of the additional third row of seats? The answer is a resounding yes in my book.
The Allspace suffix entails a 110 mm longer wheelbase over the standard model, while the rear overhang of 105 mm thankfully hasn’t made the vehicle look awkward and cumbersome. Overall, the vehicle is 215 mm longer than the standard variant. Practicality wise, the Allspace has 700 litres of boot space with the third-row seats folded forward and 230-litres with them in place. Should you require even more space, both second and third rows can be folded to offer a cavernous 1,775 litres of utility, which was recently put to good use to haul catering equipment et al for a wedding. The second-row seat bench can slide forward to create more legroom for the third-row passengers.
Our Allspace comes with the optional Off-road Package, or you can opt for my favourite specification, the R-Line Package, but since we will be exploring some rather far-flung and possibly treacherous terrain conditions, we reckon the Off-Road Package is more apt. So, what do you get with this rugged package, then? For starters, you get slightly higher 24-degree front and rear approach angles, undercarriage plating and black plastic wheel arch covers and side sills. While on the shoe side, our test unit comes with an off-road intermediate tyre, which houses a 19″ Auckland alloy wheel and gives the model a fairly compliant ride on tarmac and over speed bumps and undulations.
There is also the 4Motion all-wheel-drive system with four terrain modes; Tarmac, Snow, Mud, Rock. Depending on the terrain, the ECU tweaks things like throttle response sensitivity, activates Hill Descent Control and ABS Off-road settings. Of course, the Tiguan was not designed to conquer long spells of off-road driving, which can have a negative bearing on the DSG gearbox, which, in turn, can overheat.
Other convenience amenities fitted to our test unit include Vienna heated leather seats with electric adjustment for the driver, a full panoramic roof, and an Active Info Display digital instrument cluster. There is also a Trailer Assist System that comes with a suite of driver assist functions such as front and rear Park Distance Control and Rear-view Camera. There is also Adaptive Cruise Control, an Electronically Detachable Towbar and a 230V socket located in the boot. All these will be put to the test in the coming months.
Powering our test unit is a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol unit that also does duty in the perennial Golf GTI and musters a healthy 162 kW and 350 Nm through a seven-speed DSG gearbox. Yes, I concede, it is not the ideal engine for this application as it is rather thirsty around town, guzzling between 9.4 and 10.1 litres per 100km. Thankfully, things are relatively more palatable on the open road with the vehicle returning as low as the 7.7-litre mark and an average of around 8.4 litres per 100km. Frankly, we recommend the 2.0-litre turbo diesel variant, which should offer more frugal fuel consumption, not to mention a more relaxed driving style to boot, thanks to the inherent low-down torque of diesel engines. That said, we have covered just over 2,000 km since the vehicle arrived this past month with the odometer now reading 4,896 km, so we expect the fuel consumption to improve with more mileage under the wheels.
The Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace offers all the styling virtues of the standard model, but with a slightly more practical bent thanks to the additional third row of seating, which should be ideal for slightly bigger families and soccer moms looking for a practical, well-engineered SUV that is not based on bakkie underpinnings. At a base price of R604,800 for our test car, it offers excellent value for money although we feel that the diesel variant would sweeten the deal even further. That aside, the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace is a worthy addition to the *Driven* long-term review garage.
Report by LERATO MATEBESE | Images © VOLKSWAGEN SA