Volkswagen expects nine out of 10 buyers to opt for diesel power. There’s a choice of three engines: a 2.0 TDI in either 150 (148bhp) or 190 (187bhp) trim, and a range-topping 2.0 BiTDI with 236bhp. Two petrol options are also available in the UK, although both the 1.4 (148bhp) and 2.0 (177bhp) TSI models will be a rare sight. Incidentally, we’ve already experienced the big-hitting twin-turbo diesel in the Arteon, where it felt effective but pretty uncouth.
Trim levels are similar to those of the Tiguan, although the Allspace range forgoes base SE trim and begins at SE Navigation. That means plenty of chrome and body-coloured trim and an 8.0in touchscreen and cloth upholstery within. SEL trim brings VW’s 12.3in, Audi-style Active Info Display in lieu of conventional dials, as well as four selectable profiles for the 4Motion four-wheel drive system. Top-spec R-Line cars get 20in wheels (rather than 19s) and sports suspension, and although we’ve yet to test that model, neither of those additions sounds wholly beneficial for the Allspace’s remit as a family car.
What's it like?
With sound rationale, Volkswagen expects the 148bhp 2.0 TDI to be the big seller; it’s an adequately strong, frugal engine that’s well suited to duties in a larger car. We’ve previously described it as "striking the best balance of speed and economy in the line-up", and given that it manages near-enough 50mpg and a sub-10.0sec 0-62mph time, it’s hard to argue with that.
Going for the mid-ranking turbodiesel tested here – the same 2.0-litre unit, only stoked to deliver 187bhp – trades some aural refinement for a little more poke, although the differences in the overall experience are subtle.
Is it worth the extra £1250? Well, a more powerful engine is a nice thing to have, and through its mid-range this TDI makes short work of the Allspace’s 1845kg bulk. Peak torque of 295lb ft – on offer from just 1900rpm – also allows the seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox to calmly default into a higher, quieter gear when you’re pottering about. The same applies on the motorway, where the Allspace feels as undemanding as a car of this size is ever likely to be and solid as a rock. The cushioned ride, which is a highlight of the five-seat Tiguan, remains intact (as you’d expect, given that mechanical differences between the two amount to nowt).
Much the same can be said for the 2.0 TDI 150, though. Fuel economy? Officially it’s identical for the two cars, at 47.9mpg combined, although the easy-going NEDC test is responsible for that spec-sheet peculiarity. In the real world, enjoying the benefits of the TDI 190’s higher state of tune will of course increase fuel consumption, and that tuning also lends the engine’s timbre a slightly rougher edge under load. All things considered, we’d stick with the TDI 150.