It’s the first time a turbocharged 2.0-litre Tiguan has been available in Malaysia in over a decade, and it comes with two extra seats.
The Tiguan holds a special place in my heart. While there are many examples of crossovers over the years that have been based on largely successful hatchbacks, the first generation Tiguan was one of the earliest ones that felt like the perfect blend of practicality, driving dynamics, and refinement. It was approachable and easy to love, and the second generation built on those core strengths while evolving the Tiguan image into something more stand-alone.
While the name doesn’t make much sense – a combination of Tiger and Iguana – the crossover does so in a variety of ways. The Tiguan was always available as a five-seater from the first generation, but this second generation adds a little variety with the Allspace option that throws in a third row of seats for a total capacity of seven. Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia launched the crossover not too long ago, in both 1.4 TSI Highline and 2.0 TSI R-Line variants.
As part of a showcase of their R-Line models, VPCM provided both the Arteon and the Tiguan Allspace to test over the course of a day. For the Tiguan Allspace R-Line, the obvious talking points are regarding its performance with 220 PS and 350 Nm of torque being sent through a 7-speed wet-clutch DSG gearbox to all four wheels via the 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system. Let’s not forget the third row of seats – though we didn’t really have much time to test this out over the course of the drive.
The drive started with a quick jaunt down the highway from Puchong to Serdang, where the ever popular MARDI MAEPS car parks played host to a dynamics and handling cone course. It was fairly bread and butter stuff, but it’s always enjoyable to throw a crossover or SUV into things they’re not really meant for. With total competence under hard braking – no surprises here – the only possibility of unsettling this larger-than-life Tiguan would be in the lane change and slalom exercises.
But alas, the Tiguan Allspace R-Line made it through unscathed. Part of that is down to the 4MOTION system shuffling power to the right axle at the right time, while the other part of it is down to just how well the chassis works – even if the core design is nearly two generations old. There is a remarkable amount of progressiveness and predictability that lets you stay confidently in control, right up to where the safety systems have to step in.
Beyond this, our drive took us on towards Janda Baik via a combination of Karak Highway and certain sections of old trunk road. Again, the Tiguan Allspace R-Line performed as the Tiguan would – unflappable, taking the bumps and undulations in stride, while still being able to enter corners with eagerness and precision. Everything we love about the vanilla Tiguan is present here – but of course, you wouldn’t be driving spiritedly if you had a pair of passengers in the third row or they may end up losing their lunch. A quick demonstration of the off-road mode after lunch was par for the course; the hill descent control works as well as it would in dedicated off-road machines.
That brought us to the end of our test drive – but if it seems all-too-brief, perhaps that was the point. The Tiguan Allspace R-Line builds on the established strengths of the Tiguan we know and love, with an extra row of seats and the performance that the Tiguan arguably deserved from the outset. Elements like the virtual cockpit and the larger central infotainment screen are great features to have, although they blend in and become more of an expectation and part of the background of the experience than something that demands your attention.
Even if you choose the 1.4 TSI Highline model, you won’t be disappointed (fun fact: the lighter engine actually makes it a little more agile), as we once again have a seven-seater Volkswagen available for Malaysian consumption.