Road Test: Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace 1.4 TSI ACT SE Nav
Is the seven-seat Tiguan a genuine MPV alternative? Alex Grant isn’t convinced.
SECTOR Large SUV PRICE £29,370 FUEL 46.3mpg CO2 137g/km
In the decade since it launched, the Tiguan has become big news for Volkswagen. It’s the brand’s third best-seller in the UK, and second in true fleet ahead of the long-serving Passat, with businesses taking half of the total volume. With the seven-seat Allspace, the opportunity gets even bigger.
It’s a product based on global demand. The Tiguan Allspace is built in Mexico, rather than Wolfsburg like the rest of the Tiguan range, and arrived in North America and China before coming to Europe. That the castellated grille bars, Range Rover-esque ridge along the leading edge of the bonnet, and the creases along the roof link it to the US-market Atlas SUV (sold as the Terramont in China) is no coincidence.
It’s a diverse segment. Volkswagen has added 109mm to the wheelbase and 215mm overall, extending the cabin and back end, which means the already large Tiguan has grown to roughly the same length as an Audi Q5. Rivals range from large five-seaters like the Renault Koleos and Honda CR-V, seven-seaters like the Peugeot 5008 and Nissan X-Trail, and the Skoda Kodiaq and Seat Tarraco within its own sister brands.
The extra length is well hidden, spread over the longer rear doors and into the larger rear quarter panels, and disguised by the still-tapered roofline. However, this makes the Allspace a five-plus-two rather than a proper seven-seater, with the restricted third-row headroom leaving no room for adults, and the very basic seats only suitable for short journeys.
They’re also only part of the offer. The Allspace offers more second-row legroom than the five-seat Tiguan, and there’s enough to not feel cramped with the bench slid forward to extend the boot or third-row legroom. It has more boot space, a longer load area once the rear seats are folded, there’s under-floor storage for the cargo cover, and an electric tailgate is standard too.
Price differences between five and seven-seat Tiguans are blurred slightly by the smaller range on the latter. SE Nav, the mid-spec Tiguan trim, is the entry point for the Allspace, so the equipment levels are quite high, including Volkswagen’s intuitive touchscreen navigation system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, adaptive cruise control, and front and rear parking sensors. It’s well appointed and feels solidly built, if a little over-keen on the black and grey materials.
There’s also a strong engine line-up. This 148bhp 1.4-litre TSI turbo is a good alternative to the likely best-selling 2.0-litre TDI equivalent, with only a 6g/km advantage for the more expensive diesel. It’s remarkably quiet and vibration free at idle and, seamlessly slipping into two-cylinder mode when it’s not under load, it’ll return between 40 and 45mpg on a motorway run. Comfort that’s only let down by surprisingly unsettled ride quality, even on small wheels.
But there are compromises compared to an MPV. The second row folds in three sections but slides in two, whereas the Touran has three individual seats. Because children have to use booster seats until they’re 12, families of five would have to use the third row, which has no ISOFIX points and, when upright, leaves less boot space than a Volkswagen Up. For even older kids, the boxier roofline means the Sharan wins hands down for large families. Today’s buyers might be favouring an SUV, but for large families there’s still no substitute for an MPV.
What We Think:
Occasional third-row seating and extra load capacity is certainly useful, but the Tiguan isn’t as versatile as an MPV and faces stiff competition from its cheaper sister brands.