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Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace vs Kia Sorento vs Skoda Kodiaq 19 Mar 2018




As SUVs continue to dent sales of conventional cars, families are flocking to seven-seat versions in a bid to secure MPV practicality without compromising on style.

Volkswagen is after a slice of this lucrative market and has turned to its versatile MQB platform to create the new Tiguan Allspace. It’s a seven-seat version of the brand’s Tiguan 4x4, but this class of car is far from a new trend.

Another marque that’s ploughed this furrow for a while is Kia, with its Sorento. It’s a former Auto Express favourite, but a few years after its launch and with the arrival of newer models, it’s slipped slightly in the rankings.

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Still, the Sorento has recently been updated, featuring a new GT-Line trim level and an eight-speed automatic gearbox we’re testing here. But these two models will have to fend off the challenge of our current diesel seven-seat SUV champ, the Skoda Kodiaq.

It offers value, practicality, decent performance and efficiency, so its new rivals will be judged by the same tough criteria. Which comes out on top?

Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace

 

 

Model:  VW Tiguan Allspace 2.0 TDI 190 4MOTION DSG SEL
Price:  £37,730
Engine:  2.0-litre 4cyl turbodiesel, 187bhp 
0-60mph:  8.4 seconds
Test economy:  44.0mpg/9.7mpl  
CO2:  153g/km 
Annual road tax:  £140

The popularity of SUVs shows no sign of diminishing, so Volkswagen has developed the seven-seat Tiguan Allspace to fill a gap in its range. Here we test the higher-powered 2.0 TDI 4MOTION DSG SEL, which is the priciest car of our trio at £37,730.

The adaptive dampers aren’t quite a necessity, but we’d strongly consider them because they give the Allspace a much broader operating window than standard. By that we mean we’d leave them in Comfort mode for 99 per cent of the time. The Tiguan’s slight harshness over poorer road surfaces is reduced, and this makes the car more forgiving and comfortable to travel in.

It doesn’t unduly affect agility, either. In fact, the VW is better in this setting thanks to the take-up in the suspension. You can reduce roll and make the chassis more taut by selecting Sport, but while the throttle is a little sharper and the powertrain keener to seek out revs and hold a gear, the steering isn’t exactly communicative in any of the modes.

 

 

It’s therefore best to leave it in Comfort and make progress using the respectable torque. The 2.0 TDI goes about its business audibly, but then so do the other cars’ engines, yet it at least offers decent poke. At the track the Allspace accelerated from 0-60mph a tenth shy of the Skoda, in 8.4 seconds. In effect it matched it in gear, too, with only a few slight differences between their performance, which are difficult to pick up.

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For a family SUV there’s more than enough performance and thanks to the seven-speed DSG box’s snappy response, it actually stands up to a bit of punishment relatively well. But it’s the comfort of those dampers, especially on a motorway, that makes this a solid effort at a seven-seat family SUV by VW.

Testers’ notes: “Unless four-wheel drive is a real necessity for you, there’s a front-wheel-drive 2.0 TDI 150 Tiguan Allspace available with a DSG box that’ll save you around £3,000 on both trim levels in the range.”

Kia Sorento

 

 

Model:  Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi GT-Line
Price:  £36,495
Engine:  2.2-litre 4cyl turbodiesel, 197bhp
0-60mph:  9.6 seconds 
Test economy:  43.0mpg/9.5mpl
CO2:  170g/km
Annual road tax:  £140

A long-time Auto Expresss favourite, the Kia Sorento is no longer the new kid on the seven-seat SUV block, so the Korean brand is hoping that this updated model – tested here in a new GT-Line trim level and with a new eight-speed automatic gearbox – can topple the Kodiaq.

The answer is mixed. There’s no doubt that at higher speeds, two more ratios in the gearbox compared with its predecessor mean it’s a quieter cruiser. But put your foot down and the vocal engine is hard to ignore; the VW suffers from a similar problem.

There’s lots of torque from the larger 2.2 unit, with a peak of 441Nm from just 1,750rpm. Yet the 1,953kg Kia has more mass to shift, so performance was the most sluggish on test; it took 9.6 seconds to accelerate from 0-60mph. It feels laboured, too, but with more ratios fitted, the Sorento’s in-gear performance surpassed both its VW Group rivals’. The 10.6-second time from 50 to 70mph in seventh was a highlight compared with the VW and Skoda’s respective efforts of 17.9 and 18.0 seconds in that test.

 

 

While the new transmission shifts smoothly, it can’t match the speed of its rivals’ DSG units. This is frustrating if you need a dose of acceleration, because the box takes a while to kick down, which delays performance. There’s little point in using the shift paddles that are specific to GT-Line and GT-Line S because the gearbox still feels lethargic. The ride is equally as relaxed, but more welcome here. Helped by its weight, the Sorento smooths out less jagged road surfaces, which means progress is calm.

Yet sharper bumps cause those 19-inch wheels to thump as the Kia loses control over its unsprung mass. It’s clear that cruising round sedately in relative comfort is where the Sorento’s focus lies.

Testers’ notes: “As with the VW and Skoda, the Kia has selectable driving modes. However, they don’t have much of an effect on the responses of the engine and gearbox to your inputs, even on this sportier GT-Line model.”

Skoda Kodiaq

 

 

Model:  Skoda Kodiaq 2.0 TDI 190 4x4 DSG Edition
Price:  £36,570
Engine:  2.0-litre 4cyl turbodiesel, 187bhp 
0-60mph:  8.3 seconds
Test economy:  44.7mpg/9.8mpl
CO2:  151g/km
Annual road tax:  £140

If you’re after a diesel-powered SUV with seven-seat capability, the Skoda Kodiaq is our current favourite choice, so it’s this car the Allspace has to beat. At £36,570 in 2.0 TDI 190 4x4 DSG Edition spec it has price on its side, but this class is about more than just affordability, so how does it fare?

At our test track, the Skoda delivered a strong turn of straight-line speed. It accelerated from 0-60mph a tenth faster than the VW, in 8.3 seconds.

The Czech model was marginally quicker in gear than the Tiguan Allspace as well, but to all intents and purposes, there’s very little to split the two VW Group products when it comes to straight-line performance.