What is it: Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace 162TSI
Why we’re driving it: VW’s sort-of seven-seater offers something a little bit more than the stock Tiguan, and not just how many people you can fit on board
Volkswagen’s EA888 is to the world of engines like the micro-USB cable is to the charging world; it’s ubiquitous, entirely practical, quite flexible and even though it’s an older technology, it’s more relevant than many others that have followed it since.
Why is it such a popular power unit? Well, making hundreds of thousands of one particular thing is relatively easy, and that simplicity (hopefully) guarantees reliability.
Via the magic of engine control units (ECUs), engineers can also control how much power the engine can deliver, and how it delivers it, depending upon the application.
Even though the two engines share the same 162kW power output, the Golf GTI, for example, will have a different, more aggressive fuel and throttle position map, while our Tiguan is designed to deliver its power in a more languid, progressive way.
Living on the edge
Changing engine maps can also help improve fuel economy figures. Allan averaged 11.3L/100km over the first 525km full tank run, against a claim of 8.1L/100km. With a 60-litre tank, it’ll cost between $80 and $100 to fill, depending on where you live… but it needs the dearer 98 RON fuel to work at its best.
You should easily get over 520km per tank in the Allspace
When is a Tiguan not a Tiguan? When it’s a Tiguan Allspace, of course! Let me explain… the regular five-seat Tiguan is a regular mid-sized SUV, based on the same platform as the Golf and other VW products.
The Tiguan Allspace is also built on the same MQB platform, but it’s around 20cm longer and has two more seats than the Tiguan. Not only that, it actually has a subtly different design ethos as well.
A more robust, squared-off bonnet, narrower rear windows and that extra wheelbase length plays nicely with less fussy trim treatment to give the Allspace a more overtly macho character. Add this all up, and the Tigaun Allspace is a pretty different proposition to its five-seat brother.
Key difference, of course, is the number of seats. The second row still offers room for three, and you can add two ISOFIX baby seats to the outside seats for the young ’uns. In the rear cargo area, though, is where the magic happens.
A pair of reasonably sizable jump seats is designed into the boot floor, folding away completely flat when not required. A tug on a loop of fabric swings them into place and also acts to lower them back down, while the second row is mounted on fore/aft rails, to enable some wiggle room.
It’s not, to be fair, a lot of wiggle room, as evidenced by pics of our (very tall, it has to be said) Miss 12, who volunteered for a ride in the third row. By squidging the second row forward a bit, we made a little more room, but Milly needed to sit cross-legged to get even partway comfortable.
Headroom is a compromise for taller passengers, too, as evidenced by the pics.
But it's worth putting the trip into context - we'd picked up an unexpected extra passenger for a five-minute drive to a nearby cafe, and for that length of journey, the extra seat came in very handy.
VW calls the Allspace a ‘5+2’ seater, rather than a seven-seat SUV, and we’d agree. If you need to occasionally tote members of the Under 7 netball squad to an away game, the Tiguan will work perfectly, but it’s not a full-time seating solution for taller goal-attack types.
For our next long term tester, we've picked a Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, pictured here in all its Pure White 162TSI Highline glory.
You already know what a Tiguan is - VW's mid-sized SUV competitor that goes up against category heavyweights like the Mazda CX-5, and against older but still strong-selling rivals like the Kia Sportage and Mitsubishi Outlander.
But it's not technically a Tiguan; it's a Tiguan Allspace. The two cars are built with most of the same bits, sure, but park them side-by-side, and the extra length of the seven-seat Allspace - neatly hidden by its well-balanced design - becomes apparent.
It's also blockier and edgier than the softer, more rounded five-seat Tiguan.
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Our Tiguan - henceforth known as Allan the Allspace - is a top-spec beastie, and costs $58,890 before on-roads. Allan also features a $2900 R-Line kit which gets us stuff like powered memory leather front seats, a sporty front bumper and rear spoiler, 20-inch rims, progressive steering, flappy gear paddles and lots of black interior bits.
It also gets a Sound and Vision package, which gets us a digital dash, auto parking, a 360-degree camera and a nicer stereo.
It runs a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine which drives all four wheels through a seven-speed DSG. I might have said "140kW" in my video (hey! It was hailing!) but it actually makes 162kW and a healthy 350Nm of torque.
VW prefers to call the Allspace a 'five plus two-seat' configuration; the two jump seats in the back are really meant for small humans only. It still has room for 700 litres of stuff with the seats up and - interestingly for us - a not-unreasonable 2500kg braked trailer towing maximum.
Stay tuned for frequent small updates on Allan and how it adapts to life in the Robbo household. What will that entail? Towing race cars, lugging bicycles, long commutes and more!