By Robin Roberts (and Miles Better News Agency).
Defying the downward UK car sales trend through 2017 and rising to become the second best selling brand in the country, Volkswagen is out to make a bigger impression this year as it plugs gaps in its range.
One of the spaces falls between the mid-sized Tiguan SUV and the largeTouareg 4×4 and it’s about to be filled by the Tiguan Allspace seven-seat model range. A new bonnet, rear doors and tail end treatment set it apart from the existing Tiguan SUV five-seater.
Derived from the Tiguan SUV and using the VW MQB AO modular platform, it has been given a stretched wheelbase and greater overall length than its sibling so it can take more people and luggage. There are subtle bodywork differences front, back and along the sills.
To be precise, the Tiguan Allspace is 4,701 mm or 15.42 ft long (Tiguan 4,486 mm or 14.72 ft) and has a wheelbase of 2,787 mm or 9.14 ft (Tiguan 2,681 mm or 8.80 ft). A third row of fold-flat occasional seats means the Tiguan Allspace can carry up to seven people and still boast a luggage capacity of 230 litres (8.12 cu.ft) or, with five people the luggage capacity is 700 litres (24.72 cu.ft), an increase of 85 litres (3.00 cu.ft) over the ‘regular’ Tiguan (615 litres or 21.72 cu.ft).
Thoughtfully, the Tiguan Allspace middle row of seats can be slid fore and aft by 18 cm (7.09 in), and can also fold flat so with both rows folded, the maximum load space capacity of the Tiguan Allspace is a cavernous 1,775 litres (62.68 cu.ft) and that’s over 130 litres (4.59 cu.ft) more than the Touareg.
Three high specification trim levels make up the Tiguan Allspace range, SE Navigation models, SEL and sporty R-Line. There will be initially 15 models from £29,370 to £39,965 with the sporting R-Line joining the range after orders open for them late spring this year.
As well as the third row of fold-flat seats every model has standard 18-inch alloy wheels, parking sensors and 3Zone climate control. All have Volkswagen’s Discover Navigation infotainment system with an 8.0-inch colour touchscreen, satellite navigation, DAB radio and a CD player, as well as Bluetooth smartphone connectivity.
Driver assistance systems fitted across the board come in the form of Adaptive Cruise Control, which tracks the speed of the car ahead and automatically accelerates and brakes the Tiguan Allspace while keeping a safe gap ahead, as well as Lane Assist, Front Assist and City emergency braking.
SEL adds Active Info Display, Volkswagen’s 12.3-inch TFT screen mounted in the instrument binnacle. It offers customisable menus that display a range of different information about the car such as speed, gear, fuel consumption, navigation instructions or map, and much more. SEL uses 19-inch alloy wheels, front sports seats with 14-way adjustment, hands-free boot opening, and a panoramic sunroof.
When it comes, the R-Line will add a variety of sporty styling cues to the Tiguan Allspace, including 20-inch ‘Suzuka’ alloy wheels, sports suspension lowered by approx. 15 mm (just over half an inch), a body-coloured rear spoiler, and black interior rooflining.
As you might expect, engines are broadly similar to the Tiguan. The 1.4 litre TSI ACT petrol engine has a peak power output figure of 150 hp with Active Cylinder Technology, which means two of the four cylinders shut down when the car is cruising to save fuel. A second petrol option is the 2.0 litre TSI 180 hp unit, available exclusively with 4MOTION all-wheel drive and a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox.
There are three 2.0 litre turbodiesel TDI engines, with power outputs of 150, 190 and 240 hp. The 150 hp unit is particularly versatile, with the choice of front-wheel drive or 4MOTION all-wheel drive and six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG gearboxes.
Fuel economy on the combined cycle ranges from 46.3 mpg for the 150 hp TSI to 43.5 mpg in the 240 hp TDI diesel engine, claims VW. The CO2 emissions range from 131 g/km for the 2.0 litre 150 hp TDI with a manual gearbox and front-wheel drive to 175 g/km for the 2.0 litre 180 hp TSI engine with 4MOTION all-wheel drive.
Interestingly, the Tiguan Allspace includes an optional off-road pack with remodelled front bumper design to increase the approach angle from 16.9 degrees to 24 degrees, additional underbody protection and chrome door-sill protectors. A new bonnet, rear doors and tail end treatment set it apart from the existing Tiguan SUV.
All Tiguan Allspace models equipped with 4MOTION all-wheel drive include 4MOTION Active Control that allows the driver to activate one of four driving modes: ‘Onroad’, ‘Snow’, ‘Offroad’ and ‘Offroad Individual’. It tunes the transmission of the car to meet the conditions the driver is facing and VW UK believes these will take half the Allspace registrations.
Towing capacity of 1,800 kg to 2,500 kg (3,968 to 5,512 lb) braked weight, depends on the engine and gearbox combination and Volkswagen’s clever Trailer Assist system combines the optional Park Assist and rear-view camera to make reversing and parking with a trailer easy and accurate. The optical display visualises actual and possible steering angles and reverse steering is automatic, with the driver side door mirror adjustment switch acting as a joystick.
From its UK launch in June 2016 to the end of 2017, more than 40,000 second generation Tiguans have been sold. Last year Tiguan was VW UK’s third best seller behind the leading Golf and smaller Polo and the Tiguan Allspace aims to further strengthen that sales performance as a standalone car and taking 15% of Tiguan sales in 2018. VW UK expects 70% of Allspace sales will go to retail customers and 30% to fleet and business user-chooser drivers, 95% will be diesel models and SE Navigation will be the most popular specification. The most popular engine will be the 2.0 litre TDI 150 hp unit.
In the UK last year Volkswagen moved into second place in terms of new car sales, behind Ford but ahead of Vauxhall. The German brand posted a 0.69% rise in a market down 5.65% for new cars.
They finished 2017 with 8.21% market share after selling 208,462 new cars and the Golf was the best-selling family hatchback, knocking the Ford Focus off its traditional top spot.
VW UK says a new Tiguan Allspace can be bought using their PCP (Personal Contract Purchase) programme from £285 per month over a four year period.
In tune with its name the Tiguan Allspace does offer a reasonably enlarged rear seat and load space area which will endear it to growing families.
The longer rear side hinged doors give improved access and children will like their own space in the third row once they climb into their seats while there is still a fair amount of space for shopping behind the tailgate with its low-height load area.
Our 2.0 TDI 4MOTION 150 hp manual model with SE Navigation specification, expected to be the best selling version, is priced at £33,115 and came well-equipped as standard adding options of keyless entry, integrated security and service along with winter pack of heated seats and washer jets, together with tyre pressure monitoring. In all it was £34,890 on the road.
There were no petrol models available at launch as UK sales are expected to be 95% diesel. The 150 hp TDI unit is a staple powertrain of the VW Group and it offers good acceleration with particularly strong mid-range pull for heavy work or towing, even if in the Allspace it had a muted buzz when cruising.
With a top speed of 124 mph and a zero to 62 mph acceleration time of 9.9 seconds it proved to be relatively lively accelerating through the gears, and with good mid-range response thanks to the 340 Nm (251 lb.ft) of torque available from 1,750 rpm. Officially this model will return 49.6 mpg in the Combined Cycle and our test drive around the country roads of Bedfordshire and some busier major roads around Milton Keynes, the test drive figure was 39.3 mpg.
Overall the Allspace handled well, steered easily and slowed without drama while its ride was firm but compliant with limited body roll. It’s an easy to drive, easy to live with family wagon but with that all-important must-have SUV styling.
For those who like the Tiguan, the Allspace brings a new dimension – literally – to the choice and without sacrificing anything it adds a bit more.
For: Interior space and versatile passenger and load carrying combinations, build quality, practical equipment, strong and responsive powertrain, desirable and fashionable SUV kerb appeal.
Against: Engine noise intrusion, firm ride over poorer road surfaces, adding extra cost options will push up the final price considerably, ungenerous warranty.
Milestones and wheels-Alive Tech. Spec. in Brief:
Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace SE Navigation 2.0 TDI 150 hp, 4MOTION, manual. Price: £33,115 (£34,890 as tested).
Engine/transmission: 2.0 litre, four cylinder, turbodiesel, 150 hp, 340 Nm (251 lb.ft) of torque from 1,750 rpm, six speed manual with 4Motion.
Performance: 124 mph, 0–62 mph 9.9 seconds.
Fuel consumption: Combined Cycle 49.6 mpg (39.3 mpg on test).
Emissions and taxation: CO2 150 g/km, VED road tax £200/£140, BiK company car tax 32%.
Insurance Group: 17E.
Warranty: Three years/60,000 miles
Dimensions/capacities: L 4,701 mm (15.42 ft), W 1,839 mm (6.03 ft), H 1,674 mm (5.49 cu.ft), boot/load space 230 to 1,775 litres (8.12 to 62.68 cu.ft).