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Car reviews - Volkswagen - Tiguan Allspace

Our Opinion

We like
good chassis, strong drivetrains, excellent equipment, huge load bay, 162 TSI and 147 TDI performance, great interiors
Room for improvement
very tight third row, flaky CarPlay integration, service pricing, spotty specification supply, hard to get one

VW’s mid-size seven-seater facelift arrives with new variants and upgraded tech

30 Jun 2022



SINCE its local launch in 2017, the Volkswagen Tiguan has carved out an impressive niche for itself in the Australian automotive landscape. While not as affordable or – initially at least – well-equipped as its immediate competition, it did enough of what its predecessor did on badge-value alone and convinced buyers to spend extra. It was bigger than most of its rivals, far better to drive than some of them and, in an extremely competitive segment, distinguished itself.


A couple of years later came an oddball idea that Mazda tried out and, to be fair, Kia paved the way for with the Rondo. Seven-seaters had traditionally been quite large and the Rondo started a niche trend of having those extra seats, but without going to town on the acreage. Cramming seven seats into a Tiguan was easier than Kia’s task with the smaller, MPV-style Rondo, but the concept was the same. 


The interesting part is when you discover that while we have the Allspace suffix here, the American market doesn’t even get the short wheelbase version, so the long wheelbase is known simply as Tiguan. The first version even had a different bonnet design to make it look bigger – to suit US tastes, of course.


The Allspace facelift follows the update to the standard model launched last year. It’s been a rocky couple of years for VW as its supply situation lurches from shortage to shortage, with stock nowhere near keeping up with demand. It’s a common story in today’s market, of course, but one that is particularly galling given the sheer size and resources of the VW Group.


For 2022, there are seven distinct variants of the Allspace. The range starts with the cloth-trimmed 110 TSI Life at $44,590 (plus on-road costs), which is a front-wheel-drive 7-seater powered by a 1.4-litre turbopetrol engine mated with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic (DSG) transmission. It comes with a comprehensive safety package, digital instrument cluster, satnav, LED headlights, three-zone climate control, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as wireless phone charging. 


For another $4000, you can have the 132 TSI Life, which is the first in the range with a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine and all-wheel drive (it’s also fitted with a DSG, but a 7-speed version).


A big jump to the Elegance 162 TSI lands you the most popular engine in the Tiguan ranges – the 162kW/350 Nm version of the 2.0 litre. VW’s supply problem is most acute at this point, with the local operation struggling with getting Elegance and R-Line specs in meaningful numbers.


This triggered a search for a solution to VW Australia’s problem of not being able to secure enough 162 TSI cars to satisfy market demand. Enter the Tiguan Allspace Adventure – oddly, it will be delivered as a five-seater on 17-inch wheels and some mild ruggedisation in the form of predictable cladding, bash plates and an accessory range that includes snow chains. 


Based on a combination of the Life and Pro Line trim levels, it doesn’t consume as many precious chips and VW Australia hopes it will satisfy the needs of buyers pining after the powerful 162 engine and with $51,900 (+ ORCs) to spend. The Adventure variant (due to arrive here around August) seems an interesting idea and might also tempt a few Passat prospects…


The Elegance petrol ($56,990 (+ORCs) and diesel $61,190 (+ ORCs) additionally feature a leather interior, a larger (9.2-inch) touchscreen, some chrome, bigger wheels, adaptive suspension, Matrix LED headlights and heating for front and outboard middle row seats.


Moving on to the R-Line – now its own spec after the popularity of the R-Line pack equipped Elegance – you’ll pay $58,490 (+ ORCs) for the petrol and $61,690 (+ ORCs) for the diesel. 


The R-Line comes with 20-inch alloys, progressive steering rack, animated LED headlights and taillights (with a “click-clack effect”), plenty of R-badging on the leather interior, R-Line steering wheel (with touch-control buttons and haptic feedback), as well as a body kit.


Standard safety kit includes the usual complement of airbags (including curtain airbags that reach the third row), forward AEB with pedestrian detection, adaptive lane guidance, forward- collision warning, forward AEB, lane assist and driver-attention detection.


Eagle-eyed spec fiends will notice that reverse cross-traffic alert and side assist are missing from the spec list... Unfortunately, the continuing story of chip shortages means that a batch of about 4000 Tiguans has these items, but subsequent lots will not – until later this year. 


These will eventually be returned to the standard specification, so talk to your dealer about your options. If you already have an order, there are various levels of compensation available to you, as well as the option to cancel or delay delivery until you’re satisfied.


Also, the powered tailgate reverts to being an option and the click-clack rear LED lights will also drop off the list before returning as an option.


The Tiguan Allspace’s prices appear fairly steep compared with those of rival models. The entry-level Life is more than $5000 dearer than a Mazda CX-8 petrol although a spec walkthrough may justify the VW’s premium. In the middle of the range, the story is similar against the Mitsubishi Outlander Exceed which, while vastly improved, is still no match for the Tiguan Allspace and offers less occupant space.


VW also thinks the Tiguan Allspace will attract full-size seven-seater buyers from models such as the Kia Sorento, Toyota Kluger and Hyundai Santa Fe where the pricing makes more sense, even if those cars are substantially larger. 


Service pricing for the Allspace comes in at $1400 for three years on the 110TSI and $2600 for five years. All other grades are $1650 for three years and $2950 for five, which is a little pricey, but these plans will save you between ten and twenty-five percent on pay-as-you-go servicing.


Driving impressions


Out of the four drivetrains available, three were available on the launch program, with just the 132 TSI missing in action. Perhaps the most obvious summary of that would be “it’s a slightly slower version of the 162 TSI”, so it wasn’t a terrible loss.


The 110 TSI delivered probably the most surprising driving experience of the day. Despite having a 1600kg car to push, the 110kW and 250Nm powering the front wheels via a six-speed transmission does a decent job. When reasonably empty of people (and their things) it will still make the benchmark sprint from zero to 100km/h in under ten seconds.


Rolling on 18-inch wheels and higher-profile tyres, it’s a fairly relaxed machine, with a plush ride – no doubt aided and abetted by the longer wheelbase of the Allspace. The cloth interior is quite pleasant and the smaller touchscreen works just fine and has in-built satnav. It’s kind of tough to say a bad – or even half-positive – word about it, apart from the obvious observation that as it fills up with occupants and cargo, its performance will suffer and you can’t tow as much with it.


Moving on to the 162 TSI and 147 TDI Elegance, obviously there’s a richer feel to the interior with leather and the larger touchscreen to complement the digital instrument cluster. The 162’s acceleration is impressive for a buttoned-up medium SUV, with a 6.8-second dash to 100km/h (a second quicker than the diesel) and a sensible claimed fuel consumption (8.6L/100km).


Remarkably, the switch to 19-inch wheels fails to ruin the ride quality, but that’s bound to be down to the adaptive suspension, which also features on the R-Line. The 162 is clearly the most popular because it’s smooth, near-silent when cruising and delivers impressive performance.


Likewise, the diesel is smooth and unobtrusive; it emits a fairly distant grumble most of the time. As with the petrol, it delivers good performance, but without any extra towing capacity, its only real unique proposition is a near-1000km range if the combined cycle figure is anything to go by.


Both variants power along quietly and comfortably on the freeway, but the petrol’s impressive surge is only bettered by the diesel when executing fast overtaking moves on the freeway.


The R-Line’s performance is identical to similarly-engined Elegance-spec cars, but with another inch of alloy wheel and lower profile tyres. Twenty inches is a lot of wheel and doesn’t leave much room for bump absorption and you do notice the change between the versions. The ride remains mostly composed, however, but it’s got a hard edge and can fidget a little over poor surfaces. Compared eith the short-wheelbase version, it’s less intrusive, though.


Added to the R-Line spec is a progressive steering rack, which manages to feel quite natural.


Less natural is the CarPlay integration from the VW media system. That system cops a bit of stick, but it’s generally fine to use. However, sometimes the system stubbornly refused to pipe the sound from the phone through the speakers, preferring instead to let the phone’s speakers handle filling the cabin with your chosen audio. 


This has happened in a few contemporary VWs and it takes the shine off things (it doesn’t seem to matter if the connection is wireless or wired). It’s not clear to me if it’s a CarPlay problem or a VW media system problem, but I can say I haven’t experienced that problem in other brands...


The Tiguan Allspace is as good as its short wheelbase sibling, just slightly longer. The rear seats are fundamentally jump seats – they’re for occasional use when the middle-row passengers are happy to sacrifice their own leg and kneeroom for the greater good. 


It shines in just about every respect, with a handy chassis, a range of excellent drivetrains and all that space without being a behemoth. It’s the perfect seven-seater for the types of people who think they need one, but never actually use the third row or, if they do, it’s just the once.


And that goes for about nine out of ten people who ask me about seven-seat SUVs.

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