Two weeks ago, we were invited to sample the 2020 Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace R-Line on our road. Launched in August 2020 as a CKD model, the main highlights of the Allspace are the additional seat in the third row (effectively making it a 7-seater) and also a new 2.0-litre TSI engine similar to the Golf GTI.
The Allspace is long overdue for our market, having been overshadowed by its other competitors. Now with more space and grunt, does the Tiguan Allspace R-Line has what it takes to fight other offerings in the 7-seater C-segment SUV market such as Mitsubishi Outlander and Mazda CX-8?
Before we begin, we would also like to state that the Tiguan Allspace is also offered in the 1.4-litre guise (Highline trim). But, since it’s the same engine as before with no changes whatsoever in the mechanical bit, VW decided not to include the variant as part of the main media drive.
However, we got to sample it during the dynamic driving activity against the 2.0-litre variant, so read on and hold onto your popcorns.
Exterior – R-Line gives it a fresh outlook
At 4,701 mm, the Tiguan Allspace is 215 mm longer than its 5-seater sibling, and the 2,787 mm wheelbase is 106 mm longer. At a glance, it’s not easy to spot the increased length. Apart from the elongated rear door, did you know VW raised the bonnet section above the radiator grille to balance out the proportion?
It’s in the name – the R-Line variant means the Tiguan Allspace is decked out with full kit which comprises of a redesigned front bumper with a black finish, side skirts, dual tailpipes, rear spoiler, R-line badging and rear bumper.
To top it off, the alloy wheels are an inch bigger than its sibling, measuring at 19’ (dubbed ‘Sebring’) on all four corners.
The combination makes the Tiguan Allspace looks fresh and stylish, yet retains an elegant look to it. It highlights the wedge design even further than a standard Tiguan.
Moving on to the rear, there are dual tailpipes and the taillights are full-LED, complete with new 3D graphics that apparently enhance visibility in less-than-ideal driving conditions.
Interior – like an old friend, but with a new trick
Inside, the dashboard layout retains the signature wedge theme with a few new additions, namely the sportier new flat-bottomed steering wheel and a new 9.2-inch Discover Pro touchscreen infotainment system with 3D view, Apple Carplay & Android Auto as well as voice and hand gesture control.
The seats get reupholstered in the R-Line design with 'Vienna' leather, which also comes with 12-way electric adjustment on both the driver's and passenger's seats. Keen eyes will notice the R-Line aluminium sports pedal, black headliner and front/rear aluminium scuff plates.
Personally, we really like how the leather seats feel like. It is supportive and holds you comfortably even when taking sharp corners.
Plus the Discover Pro infotainment system is quick, smooth, and easy to use. Connecting my phone with the Android Auto function is seamless, although we do think the voice and hand gesture command is not intuitive enough.
As the best-selling SUV in Europe, the practicality of Tiguan is what we would call the Honda CR-V equivalent. They have done a good job in maximizing interior space as there are plenty of storage spaces, USB ports, cupholders, 12V sockets and the signature rear fold-down tables.
The highlight of the Tiguan Allspace is…the space. Starting from a decent 230 litres with all 7 seats up, it grows to 700 litres with the last row down, and it stretches up all the way to an impressive 1,775 litre with all the rear seats down.
Fitting in luggage, bicycle and a big cabinet is not an issue at all. Plus, the side boot light doubles as a portable torchlight shall you need it. Handy stuff.
Build quality, material, fit and finish is top-notch as expected, so there’s no complaint here.
Driving Experience and Handling – fast and agile for its size
The first driving activity of the day started with a quick drive from Volkswagen Puchong to the dynamic driving activity at MAEPS, Serdang.
Here we have your usual ABS braking, lane change, and slalom activity to showcase what the Tiguan Allspace can do under hard driving. As a driving instructor myself, this kind of activity is perfect to experience how the car feels under sudden movement.
First off, we got to sample the 1.4 litre Highline before switching to the demonic 2.0 litre R-Line. We won’t go too deep into this one, but with 150 PS and 250 Nm – it is underpowered.
No surprises here as the Allspace is a tad heavier than the regular Tiguan. Plus, being front-wheel driven only over the 4MOTION all-wheel drive equipped R-Line variant, it is not as agile nor as fun.
Fun we said? Yes, the inclusion of 4MOTION all-wheel drive is no gimmicky. Despite the extra length and weight, the system helps the Tiguan Allspace R-Line to move like a figure skater during lane change and slalom as the rear end exhibits a playful behaviour, much to the joy of the writer. Steering feedback is ample as it is responsive and linear. There is no dead off-centre too.
Even if the chassis design is old, there is an impressive amount of feedback from the chassis with such progressive and linear response.
With 220 PS and 350 Nm, the explosive torque from low and accompanied by a loud induction roar propels the R-Line like an angry muse. And boy, this behemoth of an SUV does stop really well.
The R-Line comes with Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) with Driving Mode Selection, which provides up to 15 driving style preference in four driving modes – Comfort, Normal, Individual, and Off-Road.
I personally tried fiddling around with it and every selection provides different feeling to the engine and transmission response as expected.
Peek down below the 7-speed wet-clutch DSG gearstick, there’s a Hill Descent Control selector knob that allows assists the driver in brake application to keep the vehicle moving at a controlled, stable speed depending on road's surface.
Ride Comfort - firm and busy like most VWs
Once the dynamic drive is done and dusted, we then took a good one hour drive towards Janda Baik, utilizing Karak Highway and its winding road. Honestly, the Tiguan Allspace R-Line behaved pretty much like what you would expect in a modern Volkswagen – firm and busy.
Sure, it can handle carving corners like a fine brush stroke which is the trademark of the Tiguan, but you’ll feel all the bumps and undulations along with you. It was still an enjoyable drive though if you love driving.
In urban and highway driving conditions, the Tiguan Allspace R-Line is a composed and quiet cruiser.
The ‘Vienna’ leather material and stitching are supportive, comfortable, and hugs you around well, better than the one in the Highline variant which is a little slippery.
Even sitting on the second row is comfortable with decent thigh support, although the same can’t be said on the last row. It is meant for small children at most.
Safety - what year are we at again?
Unfortunately, there is still no ADAS. In this day and age, one would expect at least autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitor or adaptive cruise control to be featured. For some, this could be a deal-breaker.
Conclusion - buy or bye?
Having driven the regular Tiguan before, the Allspace model adds more value to what we think is a well-rounded package.
With the introduction of the R-Line variant that offers more style, powerful drivetrain, and more refined handling, it makes the Tiguan one of the most exciting offerings out there.
However, we still think the lack of ADAS is its biggest deal-breaker here. Mind you, the regular Tiguan was first launched in 2017 with similar safety kit.
Fast forward to 2020, we personally feel that buyers are more finicky and would prefer such driving assistance features as the competition has grown leaps ahead.
With that being said, we would recommend the Tiguan Allspace R-Line as an alternative buy to those looking for a non-Japanese 7-seater SUV and also for pure performance.