Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace Road Test Review | Compact Full Family SUV
Big SUVs get a lot of love in India, and for good reason. They’re comfortable, can accommodate big families, and are often a status symbol. But, they’re also very large and sometimes difficult to manoeuvre and park in the city. The Allspace aims to provide all the convenience in a more compact, urban-focused package that’s easier to live with and offers the promise of German build quality and luxury. It’s priced close to the stalwarts in the class – just in the middle of the Ford Endeavour range and a little under the Toyota Fortuner range. Stealing the big SUV’s lunch money will be a big task for the Allspace, so let’s see if it’s up to it.
The design language of the Tiguan is typical Volkswagen, with straight lines and nice creases along its sides. The LED headlamps, DRLs, and the LED tail lights remind us of the Passat, which is not surprising, considering it’s based on the same MQB platform. It may be muted in terms of design, but thankfully, there are some bright colours (Ruby Red, Habanero Orange, and Petroleum Blue) to lend a little more flair. In terms of highlights, there are 18-inch alloys, a panoramic sunroof, body-coloured external mirrors, and that’s it. Very simple, very Volkswagen.
Something that’s not as obvious in our images is how stretched out the Allspace looks in the flesh. It’s a good 215mm longer and sits on a 110mm larger wheelbase than the 5-seater Tiguan. When compared to a full-blown SUV like the Endeavour, for example, it’s a complete size smaller all around and looks more like a tough estate than an SUV.
German build and practicality
That understated style extends to the cabin as well. The design is minimalistic, but what it lacks in flair, it makes up in quality and materials. There’s soft touch everywhere, with the light-coloured Vienna leather on the seat making the cabin feel spacious. All the buttons and control points have a tactile feel, and the car feels solidly put together.
The infotainment screen is snappy, and the interface is simple and easy-to-use (once you get used to the many menus). It supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as well. What’s cool is that you can connect an iPhone & an Android phone simultaneously and switch from one to the other from the touchscreen. There’s also the Digital Cockpit for the driver, with an Active Info Display that’s customisable (you can choose the info you wish to see), clean, and intuitive.
The seats are large and comfortable, but there are a few complaints. The driver’s seat is electronically adjustable and even has electronic lumbar support. But, what may irk some buyers who have spent over Rs 40 lakh for the Allspace is that the passenger seat isn’t powered. What’s a little more annoying is the lumbar angle adjustment of the said passenger seat is not the regular lever but a rotating knob, which is hard to use on the go. Adding fuel to that fire is the fact that both the front seats sport a heating function but no ventilation — a feature that will have to be saved for that trip to Ladakh, we guess. There are three-zones of climate control and heat-insulated glass all around, but the AC performance is average compared to that of its rivals.
All the space for seven?
For five adults, there’s plenty of space with acres of legroom in the second row. It has a 40:20:40 split, and slides forward and back for more legroom. The recline and legroom angle on offer is more than enough for a proper snooze on a road trip. Three abreast is also possible even for long trips. With the comfort of the second row in mind, we could easily see this being a chauffeur-driven car as well. In a five-seat configuration, there’s even plenty of luggage space in the boot, with the third row folding down nice and flat.
It’s when you want to use all seven seats that some planning is required. For this, the second row will have to first slide forward to where there is very little knee room left. It helps if the driver compresses his legroom as much as possible. The angle of recline of the seats will also have to be set to upright.
This will finally allow an adult to fit in the third row, but there are some caveats.
For starters, the adult would have to be small and flexible. As the seats are placed practically on the floor, forcing your knees up around said adult’s chest.
It will only be comfortable for a short trip within the city.
In reality, it’s a space where only small children will be comfortable.
A point to note is that even with both rear seating rows upright, there was still enough boot space to fit our small and medium-sized test luggage, and that’s impressive.
There are some other practical touches too. The second row has a picnic table attached to the rear of the front seats. These fold up and down easily and lock into many different positions, making working with a tablet or a light laptop easy. And the cup holders up front can be retracted to allow the space to be used for larger objects.
Powerful but firm riding
The Tiguan is powered by a 190PS, 320Nm, 2.0-litre TSI Petrol, paired with a 7-speed DSG and 4Motion all-wheel drive. There are also drive modes and terrain configurations for the all-wheel drive, so getting up to some green laning shouldn’t be a problem at all. The engine is nice and peppy, with the Tiguan sprinting forward at a small prod of the throttle. For a long car on an extended wheelbase, the handling is pleasant and neutral. The steering is weighted, and the brake pedal is predictable too. So there are no surprises behind the wheel at all, except when you really push the throttle. Then the Tiguan Allspace is quite quick, sprinting from 0-100kmph in 8.67 seconds — a time that would leave its more stout rivals a good second or two behind. It is fairly efficient for a big powerful petrol motor, delivering 11.14kmpl in the city and 14.54kmpl on the highway during our test.
It is, however, quite firm riding, when not loaded up with the family. So, when driving around town at slower speeds, you tend to feel a little up and down movement in the cabin. Sharp bumps like level changes, expansion joints, and minor road imperfections can also be felt and heard through the suspension. There is ample suspension travel to absorb larger bumps like speed breakers. But, if you go over a speed breaker a little too fast, you will hear the suspension complain with a thud. At highway speeds, it’s much more stable with little movement in the cabin, which stays nice and quiet.
One of the big additions to the new Tiguan Allspace is its impressive safety package. Seven airbags, ABS, ESC, and hill descent control are all standard features. But then, the list continues to include park distance control, dynamic cornering lights, rear-view camera, two-way adjustable front headrests, TPS, lane assist, and front assist autonomous braking. We managed to use the lane assist function on the expressway. It works pretty well, keeping the car in its lane and correcting the steering when it comes close to veering from its course. If you keep your hand off the wheel for too long, it will dab the brakes for a fraction of a second. It’s enough to prompt you to grab the steering wheel again or wake up from your slumber, but not long enough to change speed or disturb traffic around you. Also, note that this is intended to be a safety system, alerting a drowsy driver who may have spent long hours behind the wheel to take a break. It’s not a convenience-feature that allows you to take your hands off the wheel.
The Tiguan Allspace is a spacious, powerful, elegant car that ticks many boxes. Its clean styling ensures it flies under the radar yet looks classy. The feature list gives you everything that you really need and even offers some ‘wow’ bits, like the panoramic sunroof, for example. The interiors are comfortable, feature thoughtful touches that will keep everyone in the family happy on long trips.
Third rows are always a compromise in most SUVs, even in the Endeavour and Fortuner. And in the Allspace, the third row is only good for small children or pets. If you wish to travel with your family often, you may want to look elsewhere. But if you do want something that isn’t as common, packs in a lot of space, practicality and performance, and is easier to drive in our space-starved cities, then the Tiguan Allspace could be worth a shot.