Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace review, test drive
Published on Mar 13, 2020 11:45:00 PM
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What is it?
The Volkswagen Tiguan, launched in India in 2017, has always been a likeable SUV. Its Germanic looks, high-quality interior and pleasant driving experience won it appreciation among a band of premium SUV buyers. In 2020, the Tiguan we’re familiar with makes way for the Tiguan Allspace you see here. You can think of the Allspace as an XL-sized Tiguan; it's 110mm longer in its wheelbase and 215mm longer overall. The added length has allowed the inclusion of the all-important third row of seats, and the promise is of a Tiguan with wider appeal.
However, there is a catch. Where the Tiguan ran on diesel, the fuel of choice for Indian SUV buyers, the Allspace has been launched as a petrol-only model. Question is, how does the package come together?
What’s it like on the outside?
At first glance, the Tiguan Allspace doesn’t look all too different to the standard Tiguan. The squared-out front end is unchanged and the only real point of difference here is the absence of cladding lower down. It’s in profile that the Allspace looks like the stretched-out Tiguan. The larger cabin section and longer rear overhang mean the proportions aren’t quite as appealing as the taut Tiguan, but the design is still neat and clean. The tail end is also similar to what we’ve seen before, with the addition of chrome surrounds for the faux exhausts.
What’s it like on the inside?
If you’ve been in a Tiguan, you’ll find yourself in familiar surroundings in the Tiguan Allspace. And the first thing you note, as before, is the level of quality. The reassuring thunk on door shut, the generous use of soft-touch materials, and the long-lasting feel of even the smallest buttons make you feel your money has gone a long way. Sure, the all-black theme makes things look a bit dull and even the dashboard doesn’t look cutting-edge today, but it is thoughtfully designed and puts all controls within easy reach. A small but important upgrade on the Allspace is the incorporation of an Audi-like digital instrument cluster. The readout is crisp and clear, and gives the option to toggle between layouts. You don’t sit all that high up (as SUVs go) but the large windscreen and big glasshouse still results in a great view out. The front seats are pretty firm but they are nicely sculpted and hold you tightly in place offering fantastic all-round support which keeps you fresh even after long drives.
The middle-row experience is rather nice too. The seats are supportive with generous bolstering to hold you snugly in place. There’s loads of legroom (with the 60:40 seats slid back, that is), and you even have the option to adjust backrest angle albeit via flimsy tags. There’s enough room for a middle passenger too, though the seat is best for two. Fold-out trays for the rear seats and a 12V charging socket at the back are handy inclusions, but sun screens for the large rear windows are missed.
And what of the third row? Well, for a car that is 4.8 metres long you can’t expect the space of an Endeavour or Fortuner. The size of the cabin is more in Kodiaq territory. As a result, access to the third row via the rear doors requires some twisting and turning, and once inside you’ll find space is strictly limited. You’ll need to be a great negotiator to work out a kneeroom compromise with the middle-row passengers, and headroom is also tight for anyone of above average height. The space is fine for children and perhaps adults on the occasional intra-city jaunt but no more. The 50:50 split third row is best left folded down, and doing so increases the Allspace’s reasonable 230-litre luggage space (with all seats up) to 700 litres. You can also fold the middle row seats to free up cargo van levels of room.
What features does it get?
The Tiguan Allspace is on sale in one fully loaded variant, and the feature list is quite long. Safety kit comprises 7 airbags, ESC and ASR (anti-slip regulation), while front and rear parking sensors and LED headlights with dynamic cornering function are also standard fit. Comfort features of interest include a full-length panoramic sunroof, three-zone climate control, leather upholstery, powered driver’s seat with memory, powered boot lid and park assist. Digital dials are part of the package and the Allspace also gets a slick 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Mirrorlink support.
What’s it like to drive?
The Tiguan Allspace is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged, direct-injection TSI petrol engine. Headline numbers include a power output of 190hp at 4200rpm and max torque of 320Nm at 1500-4100rpm. Power is channelled to all four wheels via a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission.
Drivers used to diesel SUVs might miss that ready low-end pulling power here, but, nonetheless, progress is brisk. Things get better as you press down on the accelerator, with the engine coming into its element post 2,000rpm. Like all TSI engines, the Allspace’s 2.0 unit feels its best in the mid-range with a thick swathe of torque at your disposal. Power comes in strong, making overtaking a non-event. Of course, the quick-shifting gearbox chips in by keeping the engine in the meat of the powerband. Press on, and it's a lot of fun extending the engine to 6,000rpm. Drive modes help alter the experience but you get the most out of the powertrain in its 'Sport' setting. Paddleshifters and manual shifts via the gear lever also add in a nice degree of driver involvement.
Tested against the clock, the Tiguan Allspace posted an impressive 8.8sec 0-100kph time, and proved to be pretty quick in kickdown acceleration too with a 5.26sec 20-80kph and 6.79sec 40-100kph time. Just for reference, the old Tiguan diesel with 143hp and 340Nm did the 0-100kph sprint in 10.55sec, 20-80kph in 6.63sec and 40-100kph in 8.63sec.
Of the other things, the Tigaun Allspace’s petrol engine is smooth but it doesn’t quite set the bar for quietness and gets a bit vocal at middle revs.
Handling is neutral with good grip at all times, but the Allspace is not as quick or keen to turn as the smaller Tiguan. The steering also feels too inert to really involve you in the proceedings. You can add weight to the steering via the settings on the touchscreen, but, even so, a more connected feel would be welcome given how willing the engine is.
The Allspace rides like a typical European car. That is a polite way to say that the suspension can’t filter out the worst of our roads with a firm edge at low speeds. On the plus side, high-speed stability is really good making the Tiguan Allspace a competent highway cruiser. In fact, for long distance trips, the swift, spacious and surefooted Tiguan Allspace is a great companion.
Like the standard Tiguan, the Allspace also gets off-road modes selectable via a dial that control engine, steering, AWD and electronics settings. Hill descent control is also included.
Should you buy one?
Priced at Rs 33.12 lakh (ex-showroom, India), the Tiguan Allspace is about Rs 2 lakh pricier than the outgoing Tiguan TDI Highline. Like the Tiguan, the Allspace is not an SUV for everyone. It’s not the largest of SUVs for the money, nor is it the best seven seater around. The absence of a diesel engine option is also sure to be a red flag for many.
Yet the Allspace is an SUV that’s hard to gloss over. The depth of engineering, the tough build, and the borderline exciting engine are qualities that appeal to discerning buyers. If you are one, act fast because the Tiguan Allspace is being brought to India as a limited-run import.
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