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How does VW's new seven-seat SUV stack up?

CarsGuide logo CarsGuide 5/09/2018 Nedahl Stelio

There are many seven-seat SUVs out there, but Volkswagen was fashionably late in introducing the new Tiguan Allspace, an extension of the popular five seater Tiguan.

It's not a large seven-seat SUV, it sits more around the space that Hyundai's Santa Fe and Mazda's CX-8 occupies, in that it's a big five-seater with an extra two bonus seats in the back.

Those two seats come in handy - when the grandparents are visiting, ferrying other kids to sport with your own, or just chucking yours back there if they're in trouble (I'm joking... kind of).

It's been a highly anticipated launch. So does the European contender bring all the party tricks? I drove the 132TSI Comfortline, which is second from the top of the petrol engine models, with my family for seven days to find out.

What does it look like?

From the outside it's one of the best looking SUVs in this price bracket. It's slick, shiny and has all the chrome on the front grille a girl could ever hope for.

It looks like a beefed up Tiguan. Like someone has been feeding it too many mini burgers and it's grown. But apparently it's not any wider than usual, only taller and longer, which gives it a sleeker rather than boxier shape.

The exterior definitely matches up to other cars even higher than the price bracket it sits in - those Europeans certainly know how to style their cars.

The interiors are good but quite basic. There's nothing flash or fancy, but everything fits in beautifully and the well-designed centre console area is clearly set out, I'm not fumbling to find anything.

There are plenty of seven-seat SUVs out there, but Volkswagen has introduced the new Tiguan Allspace; an extension of the popular five seater Tiguan.

There are plenty of seven-seat SUVs out there, but Volkswagen has introduced the new Tiguan Allspace; an extension of the popular five seater Tiguan.
© CarsGuide.com.au

You could call it understated chic, but it may feel a little below premium for some. The sense of refinement definitely grew on me over the week because you begin to notice how well things are finished and how everything makes sense.

I was in the Comfortline which comes standard with fabric seats, but mine had the 'Luxury package' optioned in, so it had leather seats and a panoramic sunroof.

The leather is not the highest grade so I wouldn't go out of my budget for those unless your children like to eat in the car (all of us, then).

There's a leather steering wheel (standard across the range) that feels beautiful under the hands and the digital dash is easy to use and switch between modes.

How does it drive?

The Tiguan Allspace doesn't feel like a big car to drive.  It's sizeable on the road, but the steering is nice and light, it turns swiftly and feels quite nimble for a car this size.

There's a 2.0-litre engine which will help you get up hills quickly and it certainly had enough power to get around town without any trouble.

The light steering makes parking and three-point-turns nice and easy. © CarsGuide.com.au The light steering makes parking and three-point-turns nice and easy. The 2.0-litre engine helps you get up hills quickly. © CarsGuide.com.au The 2.0-litre engine helps you get up hills quickly.

It's also all-wheel drive (AWD) which means it has good traction on the roads. That's important to me because I have been in trouble with traction before. It's also very smooth and quiet in the cabin and it feels good to be driving this car.

The light steering makes parking and three-point-turns nice and easy. Just as well because there is a fairly big turning circle and I am often trying to turn around to nab parks on the school run.

There's a high-def reverse parking camera and collision warnings but no 360-degree camera. If you're having a lot of trouble parking though, this car will park itself, and unlike some other cars this feature worked perfectly with the Tiguan Allspace every time I tried it. You just have to get used to letting go of the steering wheel.

How spacious is it?

The third row - and the main reason you'd be buying an Allspace - is quite tight. I'm 161cm and my knees were just touching the row in front, so kids will be fine but tall teenagers and adults won't want to sit in there for long.

But you can move the second row forward to give the back row more space. Ten centimetres will make a difference, and depending on what size kids you have, you should be able to come up with a configuration that makes everyone happy.

My kids, aged four and six, had loads of room in the second row, and there is definitely enough space in there to be able to move it forward and give rear passengers more room. I was comfortable in the second row too.

My 185cm husband had plenty of leg and head room, even with the sunroof.

My 185cm husband had plenty of leg and head room, even with the sunroof.
© CarsGuide.com.au

It really brought home the point that this car is a fabulously large five seat SUV with two spare seats in the back for when you really need them.

There is also enough space in the front seats for it not to feel cramped at all. My 185cm husband had plenty of leg and head room, even with the sunroof.

The boot is a decent size at 230 litres with all seven seats in use. It's not a huge amount of boot space but it's on par with even large seven-seat SUVs (if you're using them all the time as seven seaters).

With five seats in use, the boot opens up to 700 litres of space, which is huge for a five seat SUV and should fit most things a growing family needs.

How easy is it to use everyday?

The third row is accessed by sliding the second row forward, making it easy to climb in, and there is a decent amount of space to do this.

Back seats are a tiny bit heavy but easy enough to pull up and down. The boot can be opened via a button on the keys, a button near the driver's seat, a button on the actual boot, or a kick-open feature, all of which are super convenient and one of the things I love about new cars (it's always the small details).

There's also a gesture-control operated audio system but I am far too uncoordinated for it to work for me. Other people don't have issues apparently.

© CarsGuide.com.au

The Tiguan Allspace has all sorts of interesting storage ideas. There are two cupholders in the front, four in the middle and one in the back.

The second row has a tray on the back of the front seat so kids can rest books or colouring pads on it for in-car entertainment, which is a bit of a novelty.

There are bottleholders in each door and a centre storage bin, and then there is a drawer under the front passenger seat (helpful on long trips), a cooled glove box with a DVD player in it, and a storage spot on top of the dash with a lid that pops up.

The third row has no air vents, but the second row does, with climate control.

What's the tech like?

It comes standard with an 8.0-inch multimedia screen and Apple Carplay and Android Auto which sync your phone with the tech in the car so you can immediately make calls (just ask the car) or send text messages (dictate while driving!) and play music through apps like Spotify.

There's also a really great sound system without optioning up to a more expensive audio pack.

How safe is it?

There are airbags covering driver and front passenger, and side curtain airbags that extend to the third row which is more than you'll get in a Kia Sorento or Hyundai Santa Fe.

The Tiguan gets two ISOFIX points

You'll also get newer safety features like auto emergency braking (AEB), pedestrian detection and driver fatigue detection, and you can option up to get things like adaptive cruise control and cross traffic alerts.

There are two ISOFIX points for child seats and three top tether points.

How much does it cost to own?

The Tiguan Allspace Comfortline 132TSI that I drove comes in at $45,490, with the metallic paint an extra $700, the Driver Assistance package $1600 and the Luxury package $4000.

Claimed fuel consumption is 7.9L/100km, which is fairly decent for a car this size and it comes with a three year/unlimited km warranty.

Servicing is recommended every 12 months or 15,000km, with the first service at $426 and the following services going up in price from there.

Verdict

The Tiguan Allspace Comfortline was a great family car, with loads of interior space for my family of four, two extra seats in the back in case the kids got rowdy or we had extra passengers and heaps of boot space. It drives really well and has all the safety features you'd be looking for with a family.

I gave it an eight out of 10 because it fit so seamlessly into my lifestyle this week, my kids gave it an 8.5 - they were big fans.

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