DEFYING the downward UK car sales trend through 2017 and rising to become the second best selling brand in the country, Volkswagen is out to make a bigger impression this year as it plugs gaps in its range.
One of the spaces falls between the Tiguan SUV and the large Touareg 4x4 and VW is about to fill it with the Tiguan Allspace.
A new bonnet, rear doors and tail end treatment set it apart from the existing Tiguan SUV as does a stretched wheelbase and greater overall length than its sibling so it can take more people and luggage. There are subtle bodywork differences front, back and along the sills.
To be precise, the Tiguan Allspace is 4,701 mm long (Tiguan: 4,486 mm) and has a wheelbase of 2,787 mm (Tiguan: 2,681 mm).
A third row of fold-flat occasional seats means the Tiguan Allspace can carry up to seven people and still boast a luggage capacity of 230 litres or, with five people the luggage capacity is 700 litres, an increase of 85 litres over the ‘regular' Tiguan (615 litres).
Thoughtfully, the Tiguan Allspace middle row of seats can be slid fore and aft by 18cm, and can also fold flat so with both rows folded. The luggage capacity of the Tiguan Allspace is a cavernous 1,775 litres and that's over 130 litres more than the Touareg.
Three high specification trim levels make up the Tiguan Allspace range, SE Navigation models, SEL and sporty R-Line.
There will be initially 15 models priced from £29,370 to £39,950 with a sporty R-Line version joining the range later this year.
The engines are broadly similar to those of the regular Tiguan with two petrol and three diesel options.
On the petrol side, the 1.4-litre TSI ACT engine has a peak power output figure of 150ps with Active Cylinder Technology, which means two of the four cylinders shut down when the car is cruising to save fuel.
The second petrol option is the 2.0-litre 180ps TSI unit, available only with 4MOTION all-wheel drive and a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox.
There are three 2.0-litre turbocharged engines, with power outputs of 150, 190 and 240ps. The 150 unit is particularly versatile, with the choice of front-wheel drive or 4MOTION all-wheel drive and six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG gearboxes.
Fuel economy on the combined cycle ranges from 46.3 mpg for the 150ps TSI to 43.5 mpg in the 240ps TDI diesel engine while CO2 emissions range from 131g/km for the 2.0-litre 150ps TDI with a manual gearbox and front-wheel drive to 175g/km for the 2.0-litre 180ps TSI engine with 4MOTION all-wheel drive.
From its UK launch in June 2016 to the end of 2017 more than 40,000 second generation Tiguans have been sold and the Allspace aims to further strengthen that sales performance as a standalone car estimated at 15per cent of Tiguan sales in 2018.
In the UK last year Volkswagen moved into second place behind Ford but ahead of Vauxhall.
The German brand posted a 0.69 per cent rise in a market down 5.65 per cent among new cars and VW finished 2017 with an 8.21 per cent market share after selling 208,462 new cars.
The Tiguan Allspace with its extra seats and loadspace area will appeal to growing families.
The bigger rear doors give improved access and children will like their own space in the third row once they climb into their seats while there is still a fair amount of space for shopping behind the tailgate with its low-height load area.
We have just sampled the Allspace in 150ps diesel 4Motion DSG guise which with extras such as keyless entry, integrated security and a winter pack including heated seats and washer jets, had a price of £34,890
The engine is a staple powertrain of the VW Group and it offers good acceleration with particularly strong mid-range pull for heavy work or towing, even if in the Allspace it had a muted buzz when cruising.
The Tiguan Allspace handled well, steered easily and slowed without drama while its ride was firm but compliant with limited body roll.
For those who like the Tiguan, the Allspace brings a new dimension - literally - to the choice and without sacrificing anything it adds a fair bit more.