Used Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace long-term test: report 1

The Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace is a very recommendable seven-seat SUV, but does choosing a low-mileage used example put you at an advantage over buying new? We're living with one to find out...

Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace long-term photography

The car Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace Match 2.0 TDI 4Motion Run by John Bradshaw, senior photographer

Why it’s here To see how much more practicality and kit buying used gives you for your money, and to see if a traditional diesel engine can still make sense today. 

Needs to Be practical in all weather conditions, cut the mustard as a photographer’s workhorse, prove comfortable and economical on a mixture of journeys.

Mileage 1500 List price (2020) £30,704 Price as tested £36,845 Value Now £31,995 Options fitted Dynamic Chassis Control (£860), Trailer Assist (£855), towbar (£750), Active info display (£630), Car-Net communication system (£355), Winter Pack (£290), Tyre pressure monitoring system (£150) Test economy 39.3mpg Official economy 40.4mpg

28 January – Allspace, all the time

It’s just as well that there’s so much variety in the myriad of cars you can buy today; everybody’s different, and I’ve come to realise that my requirements in a car seem particularly hard to satisfy, and can change from season to season. So, in choosing this Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace, I’ve deliberately made a bit of a change of tack by opting for a substantial SUV after a run of sizeable estate cars. 

Right now we’re under the restrictions of a strict lockdown, but that won’t always be the case. My work demands that I’m mobile; I could literally need to go anywhere in the quest to put photos on What Car?’s pages and website, and that means fending off whatever the elements throw at me. Having a car that can shrug off the threat of snow and flooding isn’t just a good idea this time of year – it’s pretty much essential.

Volkswagen Tiguan terrain select control

So, the Tiguan Allspace, in four-wheel drive format, ought to keep me mobile. As a large SUV it has enough ground clearance for a good chance of passing through standing water on country lanes, and also gives me a nice raised driving position – something my recent estate cars have denied me. The four-wheel drive system should be an advantage when the going gets snowy and when duty calls for me to stray from the Tarmac, too. And the fact that it’s an Allspace promises more space inside than the regular Tiguan.

It’s a seven-seater, the Allspace, but while the third row may see some use, more important to me is the extra loadbay length that this elongated version of Volkswagen’s large SUV brings. My photographic equipment comes in the most ungainly and inconvenient of shapes, and the dimension I particularly seek in a boot is length.

Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace boot in use

Unfortunately, because the Allspace range follows a different trim level hierarchy to the regular Tiguan (while you can buy the latter in price-leading base and Life trims, better-equipped Match is the entry-level trim for the Allspace), adding the extra length and third row of seats effectively adds around £2000 on a spec-for-spec basis. Cunningly, though, I’ve got around this by going for a nearly-new car rather than a brand new one. With 1500 miles on the clock, my Allspace Match weighed in at comfortably less than a brand new regular Tiguan of comparable spec would have cost. 

There were cheaper examples available, but mine also has a few choice upgrades that pushed its forecourt price up a bit. Among these, the Winter Pack (£290 when new), with its heated front seats and heated windscreen washer jets were a must-have for the changeable weather that plagues us this time of year, and the Active Info Display (£630) has previously impressed me by putting navigation instructions right at the end of my nose – very handy for those out-of-the-way shooting locations. And while I particularly wanted the high driving position that comes with an SUV, I didn’t want to risk sacrificing the agile handling I’ve got used to in more low-slung vehicles; my car’s Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) (£860), with its Sport, Normal and Comfort modes, ought to address that. 

Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace winter pack

Now, while the Allspace is available with a 1.5-litre, 148bhp petrol engine, you can’t have that in conjunction with four-wheel drive, so I’ve gone for the 2.0-litre diesel. Its power output is the same, but it’s delivered at lower revs and backed up with a decent slab of grunt when pulling away – just the job for effortless mobility on poor roads.

I’ll be very interested to see what kind of economy is served up; it’s a very substantial machine, this, and I’m not expecting miracles of the magnitude that my previous Skoda Superb iV served up when its plug-in hybrid technology came to the fore, but I’m not keen on burning fuel for the sake of it. So far I’ve averaged 39.5mpg – just below the car’s official 40.4mpg figure.

Whether I’ve made the right choice by going for diesel and buying used to offset the extra cost of opting for the Allspace over the regular model, will soon be proven one way or the other. Right now, though, I can’t help but feel like I’m winning already.

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