Volkswagen have been in the SUV game for a while with the Tiguan and big brother the Touareg but up until now theyâ€™ve steered clear of offering a seven-seat option. Last year at Geneva, however, they unveiled the Tiguan Allspace â€“ an extended version of their mid-sized model complete with bigger bodywork and two more seats.
A year later and itâ€™s now available in showrooms alongside the standard five-seat model.
VW Tiguan Allspace SE Navigation
Price: Â£30,695 (Â£33,325 as tested)
Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, diesel
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Top speed: 126mph
0-62mph: 9.8 seconds
CO2 emissions: 131g/km
Itâ€™s not just a matter of stretching the rear bodywork a bit to accommodate that extra row of seats, though. Thereâ€™s a lot more thought gone into it than that. The radiator grille and bonnet, for instance, have been made taller because elongating the back can make the front look droopy. The roof has also been reprofiled with new channels in it, and the rear windows reshaped to make the extension blend with the overall shape.
The wheelbase has also been extended to allow for the extra row of seats. Overall, the Allspace is 21.5cm longer than the regular Tiguan, with an extra 11cm in the wheelbase.
Despite that stretch, VW are still labelling the third row â€œoccasionalâ€ seats and itâ€™s easy to see why. They fold out of the boot floor easily and the second row of seats slides and tilts out of the way to allow entry but itâ€™s a tight gap to fit through and once youâ€™re in itâ€™s still limited for space. Kids will manage fine but an adult will struggle to get in or get comfortable. So, fine for occasionally giving your kidsâ€™ friends a lift but not for day-to-day use. The Skoda Kodiaq â€“ based on the same platform offers more usable rear seats, as well as more space in row two.
The extra seats aside, the other benefit of stretching the Tiguan is the increase in boot space. Up from 615 litres to 700 itâ€™s now a massive space and can be expanded to 1,775 litres if you donâ€™t need to carry second-row passengers.
That apart, itâ€™s business as usual in the cabin. Just like the regular Tiguan thereâ€™s a pleasing logic and clarity to the dashboard and controls, and a feeling of quality and longevity to everything you touch. The only thing Iâ€™m not sold on is the overhead console between the front seats in models without a sunroof.
With the Allspace VW are focusing on the higher end of the market and so it will only be offered in the three top trims â€“ SE Navigation, SEL and R-Line. All come with adaptive cruise control, front assist including city emergency braking, lane keep assist and parking sensors plus an eight-inch touchscreen housing media, sat nav and smartphone connectivity functions. Thereâ€™s also a wealth of storage and charging points, privacy glass and little touches such as airline-style tables on the seatbacks. Higher-end versions add luxuries such as dynamic chassis control, full LED headlights, a powered tailgate, panoramic sunroof and the crystal-clear Active Info Display that allows you to configure the instrumentation to your heartâ€™s content.
Acknowledging that many Tiguans never leave the urban jungle while others are bought for rougher use, VW offer the Allspace in on- and off-road guises. The off-road spec adding under-body protection a reprofiled front end to improve approach angle plus off-road settings for the 4Motion drive system.
Whether in on- or off-road finish, the best-selling Allspace is expected to be a 4Motion four-wheel-drive model with the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel. Despite all the chuntering about the death of diesel this remains a great engine, especially in an SUV like the Tiguan. It balances decent performance with good economy and bags of refinement. For the dedicated anti-DERV the 1.4 petrol promises the same power and economy of 43.5mpg thanks to cylinder deactivation tech. For those after more power thereâ€™s a tuned 187bhp version of the 2.0 TDI and a slightly unnecessary 237bhp bi-turbo if youâ€™ve got money to burn.
Thereâ€™s plenty to like about the Tiguan Allspace but the positives are mostly the same as its five-seat sibling â€“ It looks good, is nice to drive and oozes quality. The Allspaceâ€™s USP is meant to be the additional room and practicality. The extra boot space is welcome, as is the flexibility the extra two seats offer. If you have your heart set on a Tiguan then the Allspace offers an even more practical variant but there are rivals out there that do the seven-seat thing better, offering more space for those in the very back, often for less money.