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Drive Review: MQB magic with (2018) Tiguan Allspace

Tiguan with a growth spurt?

Not only that, the Tiguan Allspace carries a substantial exterior redesign with the inclusion of the 132kW TSI under the bonnet but let’s not get hung up on those details now because for all intents and purposes this is a 7-seater version to be sold concurrently with the standard version, now referred to as Tiguan NWB.

A case of product cannibalisation…

Indeed, the drawbacks of the Allspace versus the standard Tiguan are minimal. There’s enough price-to-spec parity once you’ve committed to the idea of spending R600 000. To our eyes the 7-seater looks better, has a bigger boot with greater flexibility…the list goes on.

But is there a market for mid-sized 7 seaters?

VW’s product research says so, but then again it’s the same bunch of guys who thought the now defunct Golf SV would work in SA… The Allspace doesn’t invite serious competition in this segment: Nissan Xtrail (too boxy), Hyundai Santa Fe (ageing and expensive) but possible and credible outliers like Toyota Fortuner and Ford Everest do boast robust physiques.

Are those last seats for adults?

Not from those chiselled exterior lines can any engineer possibly contort the metal into an adult-friendly 7-seater but the third row will be fine for kids. Even if you never use them, it’s the extra 115-litres of boot space, to go with the whole junior Touareg tag, that we like.

A XXL hot hatch to drive?

That’s half the genius of the malleable MQB platform – 110mm of wheelbase goes by unnoticed from behind the wheel. We didn’t attempt parking lot gymkhanas but out on the road the steering and body control is crisp – you can string the Tiguan Allspace up a mountain pass without it feeling like a bendy-bus.

We drove the ‘new’ 132kW TSI engine Comfortline replete with 4Motion which breezes along but is vocal when pushed and rather vanilla when cruising. A good engine but uninteresting. The 162kW is married to the Highline specification or you can get the 1.4 TSI which, let’s face it, is perhaps better suited to the NWB. Diesel? VW’s still doing that with 110kW 4Motion – even though diesel sales are nose-diving.

Verdict

The bigger Touareg, when it arrives, is going to cost over a million so this Tiguan Allspace plugs a pricing chasm in the 7-seater market. It’s everything we like about the standard Tiguan (design, modern equipment, trim packages) brilliantly executed in a slightly niche segment. ANDREW LEOPOLD

SPECIFICATION

  • R523 800
  • 1984cc turbo petrol 4cyl, AWD, 132kW, 320Nm
  • 7.7l/100km, 175g/km CO2
  • 0–100km/h in 8.2secs, 208km/h
  • 1775kg
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