The Volkswagen Tiguan is a long established player in the ever popular SUV space. In its latest guise, the family SUV has grown up even more and is now a bestseller for VW in New Zealand. Enter the Allspace R-Line, the ‘creme de la creme’ of the Tiguan world. It’s badges promise a 7 seater SUV with a sporty bend but can it navigate those two worlds with poise or has it just lost its purpose? Time to find out!
Seven seater SUVs are traditionally big burly things that have little grace on the road but the Tiguan Allspace is a game changer in this sense because it offers a tidy design with a heap of practicality. The new lights and lines make it clearly identifiable as a modern Volkswagen which keeps the styling grounded. Admittedly, it’s only the keenest of eyes that will be able to differentiate the Allspace from the five seater Tiguan but that is one of this car’s big party tricks! Stronger wheel arches, grilles and that distinct rear quarter window make up the biggest giveaways. Apart from the Allspace badge of course.
From afar, the Tiguan Allspace doesn’t look jarringly big but on closer inspection, there’s isn’t much that could dwarf it on the road! It certainly has grown when compared to its predecessors.
The sizing isn’t the only proof that this car is the cream of the Tiguan range, it’s also dressed up in chrome. The front fascia, window frames, rear bumper and even those fake exhausts are outlined in the stuff. Don’t forget the large diamond cut wheels as well. It certainly looks like a premium car on the outside. And after a reassuring ‘thunk’ from the door, you will find that the interior isn’t much different.
At this sort of level, the bells & whistles are all to be expected and the Tiguan delivers very strongly here. There is a reassuringly generous amount of leather used across the cabin, found in the seats, door panels, gear boot and steering wheel. Soft plastics also cover the other important bits with a fake carbon fibre type material breaking up the textures a little. Solid build quality is one of VW’s hallmarks and this new Tiguan Allspace performs well in that respect, though it doesn’t quite equal that of my GTI. Perhaps, that’s sentiment kicking in, who knows?! Despite this being a brand new car, there were a few squeaks and rattles from the cabin but for the most part, the build quality was reassuring.
Either way, there’s no debating that the Tiguan is a comfortable place to be. Heated seats, wing mirrors and steering wheel were a welcome relief from the crisp mornings we had that week.
Though don’t think for one moment that the Tiguan is all tech and toys. The ‘4 Motion’ badging has some serious caliber to it. In addition, there are three off-road modes and some telemetry as well to really hammer home the rugged capability of this car. The furthest I got to testing it was some steep driveways which it handled with ease but knowing that this car is tested in tough climate proves that it’s ability stretches far beyond the city limits.
Now, onto the big question. Is the Allspace a purpose built 7 seater or are those pseudo usable chairs pictured above? Well, I put them to the test and they passed! At just under 6 feet, I could climb in the back and sit there comfortably for short rides. Be advised, you may want to reserve those last two seats for the kids on longer drives as they can get a little tricky for taller passengers. That’s why there’s always the five other seats if needed! All of which are truly comfortable for adults.
If you have little use for seats six and seven, these can be folded flat with a parcel shelf to cover the vast expanse of space. Said parcel shelf can also be hidden under the boot when not in use, recoverable by using the built in torch in the rear of the car! Don’t worry, I too thought I had just nicked the flashlight off another VW Group car but that wasn’t the case. The Tiguan is a clever car! And the boot is the biggest testament to that, complete with hooks and nooks for your shopping.
The other badge that sets this Allspace at the summit of the Tiguan hierarchy is the R-Line trim. Adding a sporty flair to the car, the trim level adds more aggressive styling components, sports steering wheel, blue interior lighting, wheels and many R badges all along the vehicle. While the jury is still out about VW’s liberal use of their R brand, I can confirm that the sporting credentials aren’t just for show.
The aspect of the Tiguan that surprised me the most was the way it drove. Throw it around corners and you almost forget about the two rows of passengers behind you and their shopping (sorry about the eggs, mum). Handling like that does come at a price which was a noticeably hard suspension set-up in the case of this car but the leather does cushion the blows a little. The engine on the other hand, pulls no punches. VW’s tried and tested 2 litre TSI engine powers this family SUV, putting out 162kW and 350Nm of torque. Numbers that make this large car pretty nimble off the mark.
Volkswagen’s 7 speed DSG dual clutch gearbox offers the best balance of on demand power as well as efficiency making the car especially comfortable on the motorway. However, as someone who has spent considerable time with a DSG, my only complaint is that the gearbox in this car was trying too hard to be a traditional automatic. It’s hard to quantify but the shifts were seamless, almost feeling like it didn’t have two clutches onboard. Another unique niggle was the fact that the car wasn’t so keen to downshift when climbing or under load so manual intervention was needed at times.
While I would be hard pressed to put myself in the target market for the Tiguan Allspace R-Line, I can certainly see its appeal. Offering 7 seater practicality, sporty driving dynamics and that unique VW feel for a sensible price of $75,990 with this optional paint. On the downside, the build quality was slightly ropey in places and the DSG was trying too hard not be one. A pretty good package otherwise.
2022 Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace R-Line: 3.5/5
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Words and pictures by Matthew D’Souza, car courtesy of Volkswagen New Zealand.