If you’re looking for a reasonably compact family SUV with a couple of extra flip-up seats in the back, then the Volkswagen Tiguan should be on the shopping list.
The Tiguan Allspace is essentially a longer version of the popular Tiguan family SUV, with two extra seats. The range starts at $49,457 for the front-drive Life model, which comes with a 1.4-litre turbo four-cylinder making 110kW. That value looks questionable when our test vehicle, the 132TSI Life, costs just $49,990 drive-away and has a more powerful, 132kW 2.0-litre turbo paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch auto and all-wheel-drive. Indeed the 132TSI Life seems the sweet spot in a range that stretches to more than $68,000 drive-away for the diesel Elegance model. Our car had the $5600 luxury package, which includes a large sunroof and Vienna leather seats that are heated and electrically adjustable in the front. Standard fare on all models includes a fully digital driver display, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, wireless phone charging, satellite navigation and an 8-inch touchscreen. The Tiguan is covered by a five-year warranty and a five-year servicing plan costs $2950.
The white perforated leather front seats in our test car looked smart and provided plenty of adjustment for drivers to get comfortable. Middle-row passengers are treated to a USB-C port for charging phones, as well as a 12-volt outlet and aircon vents with individual controls. The seats also recline. The Allspace is 225mm longer than the standard Tiguan, allowing for a pair of third-row seats that are best left to the littlies. Knee and headroom are tight, although you can slide the middle seats forward to liberate more space. Entry into the third row requires some clambering. With the third-row folded, there’s roughly 15 per cent more luggage space than the standard Tiguan. The 18-inch wheels and well-sorted suspension soak up all but the rudest of potholes and road joins and the cabin is well insulated from engine and road noise.
There is no separate safety rating for the Tiguan Allspace but the Tiguan was last crash-tested in 2016, when it scored an impressive 96 per cent for occupant protection and 80 per cent for child protection. That five-star rating expires this month. The Tiguan has lane-keeping assistance, auto emergency braking and fatigue detection, but it misses out on the blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert that is common on rivals. There are seven airbags, but it lacks the front centre airbag that is becoming more common in new arrivals.
ON THE ROAD
The Tiguan has always been one of the more accomplished SUVs on the open road. Well-sorted suspension strikes an excellent balance between comfort, composure and cornering ability, while accurate, nicely weighted steering adds to driver confidence. The engine delivers decent response off the mark thanks to generous reserves of torque available from low in the rev range and the dual-clutch auto does a good job of keeping things on the boil with snappy shifts under heavy acceleration. It’s prone to hesitate occasionally when you kick down to find a gap in traffic, though. It’s relatively thirsty, though, using a claimed 8.9L/100km. In town, expect to see roughly 12L/100km, which equates to roughly 500km of range. On the open road, it will manage mid-sevens.
Comfortable, pleasant to drive and practical for a growing family, if a little thirsty.
Skoda Kodiaq Style, from about $53,990 drive-away. No longer the cheap option in the extended VW family. Same engine as the Tiguan and similar equipment.
Kia Sorento S, from $50,790 drive-away. More powerful but thirstier V6. Missing some comfort features and front-wheel drive only but bigger, with a more accommodating third row.
Mazda CX-8 Sport AWD, from about $52,000 drive-away. Powered by an efficient diesel with more grunt and longer cruising range. Cabin a little dated but classy.
TIGUAN ALLSPACE 132TSI LIFE
WARRANTY/SERVICING Five years, unlimited km, $2950 over five years
ENGINE 2.0-litre turbo petrol, 132kW and 320Nm
SAFETY Seven airbags, auto emergency braking, lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise, driver fatigue monitoring
LUGGAGE 700 litres