The Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace offers more space and an extra two seats compared to the standard Tiguan; with a petrol powertrain, is it the ideal choice for the school run?
Green Car Guide exists to seek out cars that are efficient and great to drive. Based on that mission statement, there’s an argument to suggest that we shouldn’t review SUVs, but almost every new car today is an SUV. As evidence of this, the SUV segment in which the Tiguan Allspace sits grew by more than 22% in 2016 compared to 2015. And the Tiguan is the third best-selling car in the Volkswagen range in the UK. And you can now have a seven-seat version with the Tiguan Allspace.
The Tiguan Allspace, a stretched Tiguan with seven seats, has 700 litres of load space with the third row of seats folded flat (luggage to seat-back height), or 1,775 litres of load space with the middle and third row of seats all folded flat.
The Allspace also has lengthened rear doors, and if you think it looks it looks different at the front, that’s because the bonnet has been raised above the radiator grille.
The interior is predictably similar to the regular Tiguan and to most other Volkswagens. It features the latest infomedia technology including a touchscreen with sharp resolution.
There are three wide, flat seats in the second row, and there’s clever packaging with the way that the boot luggage cover can be stored under the boot floor. However there’s a large transmission tunnel for the middle passenger in the second row – even though our test car was just front-wheel drive.
Our test car came with a four-cylinder 1.4-litre petrol engine with ACT cylinder deactivation technology, a six-speed DSG automatic gearbox, and front-wheel drive.
As expected, the Tiguan Allspace delivers a similar driving experience to the regular Tiguan. That means competence overall rather than excitement in areas such as handling, and with decent tyre profiles, the primary ride is comfortable – although this feature doesn’t quite translate to the secondary ride when negotiating pot holes.
The 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol powertrain is generally fine for normal duties, but it doesn’t like being stretched. And if you need to get out quickly into a gap in traffic from a side road, the DSG transmission is slow to react (and even more so if you’re trying to reverse from standstill). To endow it with quicker responses, the car feels like it needs a Sport mode, which it doesn’t have, although you can select S mode on the transmission by pulling the gear selector towards you twice. This doesn’t seem to improve the response from standstill, but it does result in the engine revving very highly in normal driving. It would be better to have just one mode that sits in the middle of D (low revs and slow to respond) and S (high revs).
After the slow response from standstill, when the turbo eventually comes to life, the revs can shoot up, at which point there’s limited grip from the front tyres, resulting in wheelspin or the traction control system curtailing any movement.
The Tiguan was on test during the last cold snap before spring. It had standard road tyres with very little tread and they offered zero grip in the snow and ice. Combined with the traction control system, it was impossible to get the car moving on any form of slight incline in the snow, with the result that the car didn’t cover the mileage that it should have done during its week with us (we had to use a personal car for a long-distance trip into the eye of the storm, and this had no problems gaining traction in six inches of snow, even with standard road tyres).
The Tiguan has steering-wheel mounted paddles, so you can change gear manually, although the paddles are more like extremely small pads – the complete opposite to the paddles on an Alfa Romeo Stelvio, which are huge.
The official NEDC combined fuel economy for the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace SE Navigation 1.4 TSI ACT 2WD 150 PS 6-speed DSG (phew!) is 43.5mpg, with CO2 emissions of 148g/km. After a week of mixed driving – but not our typical 80% mix of motorways, because the Tiguan wasn’t able to summon any grip in the snow – we averaged 34.9mpg. The engine is able to go into 2-cylinder mode when it’s not under load, which helps with economy.
The Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace SE Navigation 1.4 TSI ACT 2WD 150 PS 6-speed DSG costs £30,970. Options on our test car included keyless entry (£450), alternative alloy wheels (£385), Car-Net ‘Security and Service’ (£340), winter pack – heated front seats and heated windscreen washer jets (£280), Park Assist and rear-view camera (£300), tyre pressure monitoring system (£135), and metallic paint (£570) – resulting in a total price as tested of £33,430.
Like the regular Tiguan, the Tiguan Allspace is also available in on-road and off-road versions. The latter combines an ‘off-road package’ together with special protection under the engine that extends to the bumper. The off-road front section improves the vehicle’s ramp angle by seven degrees.
The Tiguan Allspace is available with TSI (petrol) and TDI (turbodiesel) engines. The petrol line-up includes the 150PS 1.4 TSI petrol and a 2.0 TSI with 180 PS. The diesel range offers 2.0 TDI units of 150 PS, 190 PS, and the biturbo 240 PS. Gearbox options include a six-speed manual, and six or seven-speed DSG units. The Tiguan Allspace comes with front-wheel drive or the 4MOTION all-wheel drive system.
The range starts with the SE Nav model as tested; the best-seller in the UK is expected to be the SE Nav 2.0 TDI 150 PS 6-speed manual 4MOTION.
We’ve previously tested the Volkswagen Tiguan SEL 2.0 TDI SCR 4MOTION 150 PS 7-speed DSG; we liked it a lot, and it scored an 8 out of 10.
Like that car, the Tiguan Allspace is also practical, but, with more space and extra two seats, even more so.
The Tiguan that we tested had four-wheel drive, whereas the Tiguan Allspace just had two-wheel drive. This resulted in the Tiguan Allspace having very little grip from the front wheels.
The 2.0 TDI engine with 7-speed DSG also seemed to work well, whereas the 1.4 TSI engine and the 6-speed DSG combination didn’t seem as effective.
We appreciate that everyone wants an SUV, and a two-wheel drive SUV should be more economical than a four-wheel drive SUV. But we don’t see the point of having all of the heavy engineering that goes with an SUV, then ditching the four-wheel drive system. You’re left with the disadvantages from an efficiency point of view – ie. a big, heavy SUV with poor aerodynamics, but none of the benefits – ie. there are no improved levels of traction from your SUV.
And the four-wheel drive Tiguan 2.0 TDI averaged 43.5mpg over a week with us, whereas the two-wheel drive Tiguan Allspace 1.4 TSI only averaged 34.9mpg. We fully acknowledge that diesel isn’t the best fuel for use in built-up areas – ie. where a seven-seat Tiguan is most likely to be used – but our real-world economy tests show that the diesel model is more economical, even with four-wheel drive. And the fact that our front-wheel drive test car couldn’t be used in the snow because it wasn’t able to gain any traction means that it’s just not as capable as the 4MOTION variant.
However the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace SE Navigation 1.4 TSI ACT 2WD 150 PS 6-speed DSG remains a family-friendly item of transport and scores a Green Car Guide rating of 7 out of 10.