Volkswagen has its sights set on the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento with its Tiguan Allspace seven-seater, set to touch down in July.
It might look like a regular Tiguan on the outside, but the Allspace is 215mm longer than the five-seater, supported by a 109mm increase in wheelbase. Volkswagen Australia's product manager, Glenn Reid, says the seven- and five-seat variants were designed side-by-side for a more "harmonious" range.
"This car was actually designed in tandem with the normal Tiguan," he told CarAdvice on the set of The Block in Melbourne.
"It's not like we just took the Tiguan and stretched it... That's why it looks quite good. All the extra space is put into the rear door to make it easier to get in and out of, so everything from the front-forwards is pretty similar."
There are a few styling changes, albeit subtle ones. There are unique badges, silver-painted mirrors, full-LED headlights (normally reserved for high-spec models) and a taller bonnet on seven-seat cars. Reid says that last touch was aimed at the American market, where the Allspace is the only Tiguan offered and, as we know, bigger is better.
Closer to home, Volkswagen sees the Allspace stealing sales from the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe, along with the Mitsubishi Outlander. Perhaps predictably, Reid says the bigger Tiguan – described as a 5+2 in official materials – is a more luxurious offering. Forget premium for the people, maybe it's premium for more people?
Astute followers of the Tiguan will remember it was hampered by supply issues last year. Reid doesn't foresee the same problems hampering the bigger model, telling us dealers should be well stocked with Australia's first seven-seat Volkswagen SUV from launch.
"Unfortunately, there was a bit of restriction on R-Line last year, which probably limited a bit of its sales," Reid told us, walking around a 162TSI R-Line, "we're hoping they've learned from that on Allspace."
"We have quite a bit of stock coming, we've built up a bit of a buffer there so we should be alright," he added.
Supply issues held the car back last year, with Volkswagen Australia chief, Michael Bartsch, telling CarAdvice the brand was "completely undercooked."
Bartsch flagged 1250 monthly sales as achievable once the Allspace arrives. Volkswagen shifted 956 units in March, and 838 in February.
Reid says dealers have been ordering R-Line models predominantly, reflecting the fact Volkswagen buyers typically gravitate towards higher-spec cars. That was one of the key drivers behind the decision to run only with Highline and Comfortline trim grades.
Our up-close look at the Allspace also included a brief drive. Stay tuned for more on that one.