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VW Tiguan Allspace: a true all-star

By Rory Daley
Observer writer
daleyr@jamaicaobserver.com

Friday, December 29, 2017

THE Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace wipes the family car's unfortunate stigma of dull practicality clean in one fell swoop. It easily meets all the demands placed upon it as a compact SUV in the area of drivability, usability and refinement. It also adds a rare proposition to its ownership: seven seats in a five-seat market.

On the outside, it's old Tiguan, meet the new Tiguan. For 2018, the look has been overhauled like that friend you were familiar with in school, but showed up at the reunion “chiselled”. Even with an extra inch, the wheelbase of the Allspace is a stylish design with a distinctive fascia, marked by futuristic LED headlights and a very upmarket and rugged clam shell bonnet. This gives it a low-slung, sleek, muscular look. The large 18-inch wheels also hide its natural raised ride height well.

Inside, the design language is clean, classy and premium. Even the cloth seats on the tested model had contrasting stitching. All materials exude quality and durability. Storage is plentiful. However, the Allspace quietly starts to lift itself above the class standards. The large central infotainment screen is all aces. Connectivity through all the major methods is standard and a breeze. It scores really high with perfect iPod emulation via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto responsiveness, clear graphics and pseudo-telegraphic on-screen controls as the car can sense when the user's fingers approach bringing up the appropriate icons. It has to be, since all major controls are handled through it.

Second-row passengers aren't left out. They get their own climate controls, USB ports. The luxury treatment arrives when one folds out the picnic tables, with integrated cup holders, from the back of the front seats. The third row is mostly for kids and pre-teens, but can handle adults in a pinch. Drop all the rear seats and the Allspace lives up to its name with a cavernous 1,775 litres.

It takes the fading light and night to make the Tiguan shine, literally. Owners are met with a suite of lights. Unlock the doors and soft lights shine from the door mirrors as the cabin lights come on to match. Once open, the lower door sills are lit, as are the driver and passenger foot wells.

On the road, at night, the cabin is bathed in a relaxing strip of soft illumination from behind the door handle panels around the vehicle. The light functionality continues up front as the headlights automatically adjust their pattern and brightness, move with the steering wheel and for an added extra, during signalling or sharp turns the fog lamps come on for some extra light on the corner. In stop-and-go traffic, auto-hold means it brakes, automatically lowering driver fatigue. Three-hundred-and-sixty degree sensors provide early warning to any dangers and make parking an ease.

The constant sense of luxury doesn't end with the features as the Tiguan is comfortable at any speed, as refinement is good. However, a prod of the throttle causes the Allspace to show its other side. Paired with the 2-litre turbocharged engine and the DSG gearbox, it's a pleasure to drive fast. Large swaths of traffic can be dispersed easily. Corners can be carved as the standard four-wheel drive provides it with plenty of confidence-inspiring grip.

This then is the essence of why the Allspace cleans the dull family car slate. It is practical, yes. It's packed with plenty of technology, practicality, luxury refinement, and real sporting capabilities. Combined together it's a genuine pleasure to drive in whatever conditions it's used in.