One of the best mainstream SUVs on the road today now comes in a more family-friendly package, with something for everyone.

Sometimes the purpose of a car is clearly stated in the name. It’s as clear as day in Volkswagen‘s Tiguan Allspace, which offers the promise of extra space in the cabin.

Based on VW’s best-selling compact SUV, the Allspace offers a handy advantage over the standard Tiguan.

An extra 22cm between the front and rear wheels makes for a much more spacious cabin, and an extra 10.6cm of luggage space results in a useful load area.

It’s a smart choice for families, as the Allspace also has an extra pair of seats in the trunk.

When the third row of seats is folded away, the Allspace has a handy 700 liters of luggage space, 65 liters more than the standard Tiguan. Fold up the spare seats and there is still 230 liters of storage space behind.

As with the latest Golf, the easiest way to pick the new Tiguan in traffic is to look for a horizontal strip of light between the headlights. Volkswagen says “light is the new chrome” in modern car design.

The cheapest Allspace Life 110TSI costs $44,590 plus on-road costs (about $49,500 driving) and costs $3600 more than last year’s model and about $2200 more than a five-seat Tiguan.

The entry-level model is powered by a hard-working 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo engine that sends 110 kW and 250 Nm to the front wheels via a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.

That’s not a lot of grunt for a seven-seater, so VW expects customers to dig through the couch cushions to find the extra $4,000 for a 132TSI model with 132 kW and 320 Nm, a superior seven-speed gearbox and all-wheel drive.

The Allspace Life comes standard with automatic emergency brakes, active cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear intersection warning and more.

There is an 8-inch infotainment screen with wireless phone charging, plus wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and a digital dashboard. Practical details include a power tailgate and three-zone climate control, useful amenities in a family car.

There’s a big step up to the mid-range Allspace Elegance, priced from $56,990 plus on the road (about $63,000 driving), which features a more powerful 162 kW/350 Nm motor, 19-inch alloys, matrix LED headlights, heated and cooled delivers leather seats, multi-mode suspension, mood lighting and a larger 9.2-inch touchscreen with gesture control.

The top-of-the-line R-Line adds 20-inch rims, variable steering ratios, a beefy body kit and prettier taillights.

The cabin is upholstered in premium leather, a black headliner and more for $60,190 plus on the road (about $66,500 driving).

R-Line and Elegance customers can exchange their petrol engine for a 147 kW/400 Nm 2.0-litre turbo diesel for an additional $1500.

All three models are polished on the road and combine refined engines with sharp responses to driver input.

The R-Line is the driver’s choice, combining direct steering with a sweet petrol engine and surprisingly well-sorted suspension, aided by the longer wheelbase and adaptive dampers as standard.

We also got on well with a mid-grade Elegance model at launch, although VW’s chosen driving route flattered the diesel and dual-clutch combination, sidestepping city traffic in favor of open roads.

There are no nasty surprises to the car’s driving experience – it’s a slightly longer, heavier version of VW’s impressive Tiguan. The clue is in his name.

PRONOUNCEMENT 4/5

The Allspace adds welcome versatility to an already class-leading SUV.

VOLKSWAGEN TIGUAN ALLSPACE 162TSI R-LINE

PRICE Drive away from about $66,500

ENGINE 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo, 162 kW and 350 Nm

SAFETY 7 airbags, automatic emergency braking system, active cruise control, lane assistant and blind spot assistant, rear cross traffic alarm

GUARANTEE Five years/unl’td km, $2950 for five years

THIRST 8.6L/100km

LOAD 700/230 litres

RESERVE space saver

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