What is it?
The Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace is a seven-seat extended-body variant of the brand’s popular compact SUV.
Seven seats, all-wheel-drive available, high specification
Extending the bodyshell and adding two extra seats to create the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace adds an extra practicality option to the model without taking away any of the qualities that have made the core model such a success for the brand. The Allspace is a complete package that answers the needs of those wanting SUV presence but needing MPV capacity.
However, the Tiguan Allspace is expensive alongside the one model it has to beat, the Skoda Kodiaq, and the VW is also more cramped in those rear seats than the rival from its sister brand. Despite this, the Allspace will without doubt further extend the Tiguan success story.
The compact SUV has over the last couple of years virtually replaced the MPV as the family vehicle of choice, buyers swayed by the higher-up driving position and more imposing presence on the road that such vehicles offer – any school car park at chuck-out time is today a commentary on what choices the SUV buyer has.
In creating their new SUVs, however, most manufacturers have chosen to ignore one aspect that was formerly a feature of many a people-carrier – seven seats. MPVs were created as family vehicles, and when said family’s offspring wanted to bring a couple of school friends home for tea, they could easily be accommodated in the third row. Few SUVs offer that flexibility.
The quality of the Tiguan is already well known – it is today VW’s third best-selling car behind the Golf and Polo. And with so few potential rivals – principally the Peugeot 5008 and in particular the Skoda Kodiaq – the Allspace appears on paper to be a winner.
This is a different vehicle to its five-seat sister – VW has not merely tried to squeeze two extra posterior-placers into the boot. Instead, the designers stretched the wheelbase by 11cm, in the process making the car as a whole 22cm longer, and the length of the rear doors was extended accordingly to ease access into the third row.
The stretched wheelbase requires some exterior modifications. In the interests of balance, the Allspace has a taller bonnet line, extended above the radiator grille level. This is evolved from the Atlas, a large SUV which VW sells in America.
The roofline is bespoke too, with distinct lines instead of a smooth surface, while Volkswagen anoraks will also be able to identify the Tiguan Allspace by a kick-up in the body line at the base of the rear side windows, something the stock Tiguan doesn’t have. It all hangs together very well, portraying the upmarket image its designers clearly desired.
Buying and owning a Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace
Volkswagen expects the Allspace to claim around 15% of all Tiguan sales, and is pitching it as a high-specification model, initially only available in SE Navigation and SEL versions. An even more upmarket R-Line variant will follow quickly, available from March 2018.
Buyers will, however, have a wide choice of powertrains. These include 2.0-litre diesels of 150, 190 or 240hp outputs, the latter a bi-turbo unit. Petrol buyers can choose between the 150hp 1.4-litre with VW Group’s now familiar Active Cylinder Technology – effectively turning cylinders off when not under load to improve emissions and economy – and a 2.0-litre of 180hp.
Depending on model, there are six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic gearboxes, and the Tiguan Allspace also delivers on its off-road credentials by offering an all-wheel-drive transmission on all the diesel variants. VW expects, like the five-seat version, that all-wheel-drive versions will outsell those with front-wheel-drive.
In fact like the five-seater, AWD version of the Tiguan Allspace can be bought in two distinct formats, on-road, or with an optional ‘off-road package’. This includes engine underbody protection that extends to bespoke bumpers. In the process ramp angle – how big an obstacle the car can drive over without grounding – improves by seven degrees.
The high specification of the Allspace includes a strong safety package – five-seater versions of the Tiguan having already gained a top five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating in 2016. Autonomous emergency braking is there, as part of the standard-fit adaptive cruise control. Other features include a driver fatigue alert, lane assist and parking sensors front and rear.
Volkswagen’s major potential problem in this area is that the Tiguan Allspace’s prime rival can offer virtually all of this equipment, at a slightly cheaper price. The Skoda Kodiaq has full access to the same finish and technology pool, and Skoda also offers lower-specification versions of its seven-seat SUV.
Inside the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace
While the two extra seats head most Tiguan Allspace headlines, the car also will also appeal to another subset of buyers – those who want a five-seater, like the Tiguan, but who also desire just a little more roominess.
Second-row passengers will enjoy the extra wheelbase length, as will anyone loading the boot to capacity. When the rear seats are folded down – not the easiest thing to do without leaning over the rear bumper – the Allspace offers significant luggage capacity.
The 700 litres of space is 85 more than the five-seater. And it extends to 1,775 litres when one flattens the second row as well. Put up the rear seats, however, and boot space slips back to a mere 230 litres – less than in the Kodiaq.
These rear seats are not exactly spacious. On the launch event, Volkswagen personnel described them as “occasional seats”, adding that they best suit occupants under 5ft 2in tall – so basically children. There’s not much room above the head, or for the legs.
Volkswagen instrument panels are known for their combination of quality and practicality and the Allspace is no different. Of course, it replicates the layout of the five-seater, and the upmarket placing ensures there are plenty of toys available.
Our SE Navigation model features a very efficient satnav system accessed through an eight-inch touchscreen that also looks after several functions, including a combined variant of the Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Mirror Link smartphone compatibility. This is called CarNet and also accesses useful information such as traffic, weather and even where to find a parking space.
Of course if one is prepared to spend, a whole lot more is available. SEL models include the ‘Active Info Display’ that adds a 12-inch digital screen ahead of the driver in place of the analogue instruments. Extra info available on this screen ranges up to displaying the satnav map between the speedo and rev counter dials.
On the options list, meanwhile, are such niceties as voice activation, wireless smartphone charging and a head-up display.
Driving the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace
Our test car is fitted with the 150hp diesel and all-wheel-drive – it is a measure of the Tiguan’s serious SUV status that this combination is expected to be the best-selling version. We know all about the efficiency of Volkswagen diesels and this unit combines enthusiastic acceleration with refinement – only at low revs does its audio note become really noticeable.
When we tested the five-seat Tiguan back in 2016, we praised the car for its road manners, which were exceptionally well-behaved, but without being exciting. Our Allspace is 115kg heavier than its sister and slower by just over half a second to 62mph.
However, the car feels no different to the five-seater. It accelerates in eager fashion and combines this with exemplary ride quality, smothering bumps highly impressively.
There is a Dynamic Chassis Control system available on the options list with normal, sport and comfort modes available to adjust the chassis settings, but our car coped very well without this option.
In corners, the Tiguan Allspace is not exactly exciting to drive, but it remains well-composed, again targeting comfort over handling prowess. Overall this remains a very accomplished SUV, with the stretched body and extra weight having no effect on its on-road performance.
Volkswagen did not offer a seven-seat version of the first Tiguan but one can see why it’s deemed an effective expansion of the Mk2 model.
The Allspace adds an extra option to an SUV that is already a major success for the brand, and competes against less than a handful of rivals – it will, without doubt, continue the Tiguan’s sales prowess.
Volkswagen’s problem, however, is that the one major rival to the Tiguan Allspace is the Skoda Kodiaq. This is a vehicle that offers all the same features that the Tiguan does, but in a slightly bigger package (especially in those rear seats) and at a cheaper price. Directly compare the two and only badge snobs will choose the VW…