SUVs are a hugely popular type of car, partly thanks to the practicality they offer. And a seven-seat SUV is arguable the most practical car you can buy.
No wonder, then, that a number of car makers offer such vehicles, and after the huge success of the characterful Skoda Kodiaq, parent company Volkswagen launched a similar model in the Tiguan Allspace – a seven-seat version of the popular Tiguan family car.
Both offer plenty of room, pleasant interiors, a decent driving experience and reasonable running costs – but which is best?
Price and running costs
The Skoda Kodaiq is available with five seats, but most people go for the seven-seater, and to get your hands on one of these you’ll need £34,165 (all prices correct as of July 2022). You may want to upgrade to the mid-range SE L Executive model, which adds leather seats and LED Matrix headlights among other goodies, and for this you will pay £36,960.
Both of these models come with a 1.5-litre 150hp petrol engine, which should offer the right balance of pulling power and economy for most, but there’s a 150hp 2.0-litre diesel available for another £1,500 or so should you wish for greater economy, or possible want to tow. If you go for the SE L model you get more engine choice, with a 200hp diesel and 190hp petrol engine (both 2.0-litres in size) also available. Skoda has offered a six-speed manual gearbox with the Kodiaq, but at present only the dual-clutch automatic is available to order from new.
There are a further three models of Kodiaq available: the stylish Sportline, the luxurious L&K, and the performance-orientated vRS, which has a 245hp 2.0litre petrol engine. For these you’ll need £38,815, £44,550 and £47,690 respectively – although the L&K and vRS models come with an engine upgrade above the entry-level 150hp 1.5-litre petrol.
Four-wheel drive is available with the 150hp 2.0-litre diesel engine, while the 190hp petrol and the 200hp diesel are 4×4 as standard, as is the vRS model.
The VW Tiguan Allspace actually starts with a slightly lower price than the Kodiaq, with £33,785 securing a Life model with the same 150hp 1.5-litre petrol engine that kicks off the Kodiaq range – although this Allspace gets a manual gearbox, the an automatic being a further £1,500 or so. The next trim up – Elegance – requires a fair dollop more cash, starting at £38,600, although this has the automatic gearbox as standard, plus LED Matrix lights, a panoramic sunroof and a reversing camera.
There’s also a sporty-looking Allspace R-Line, although this isn’t the performance model that the Kodiaq vRS is – you’ll need the (five-seat only) Tiguan R for that.
Actually, the engine range for the Tiguan Allspace is essentially the same as it is for the Kodiaq: there’s a 190hp 2.0-litre petrol and 150hp 2.0-litre diesel, plus a 200hp diesel as well.
MPG, emissions and tax
The Kodiaq’s diesel engines make the most sense for long-distance drivers thanks to their greater economy, with the 150hp model officially returning 50.4mpg, dropping to 45.9mpg if you opt for four-wheel drive, and 42.5mpg if you choose the 200hp version.
Opt for a petrol Kodiaq and the 1.5-litre officially gets 39mpg, the 190hp 2.0-litre does 34.5mpg, and the performance vRS only manages 32.4mpg.
Those figures can as near as makes no odds be carried over to the Volkswagen (aside from the vRS model of which there is no direct equivalent with the VW) – for example, the 1.5-litre 150hp petrol Tiguan Allspace does 38.7mpg, as opposed to the Kodiaq’s 39mpg.
The first-year rate of road tax is based on carbon dioxide emissions and will be included in both cars’ on-the-road price. It will range from £230 (the 150hp petrol) to £1,420 for both the Tiguan and the Kodiaq.
Road tax will be a flat £165 a year for both cars after that, but be warned that if you specify either model to over £40,000 (including options) you’ll pay a further £355 from years two to six if the car’s life.
The Tiguan Allspace looks very similar to the five-seat model, so you might not even realise this one has an extra pair of seats. There are a couple of small changes if you look closely – the window behind the rear doors sweeps up instead of staying level, and the headlights look slightly larger than those on the five-seater.
The Kodiaq looks larger than the Allspace, perhaps because the window-line doesn’t rise up – but the Skoda is actually marginally shorter. Its squarer wheel arches make it look more rugged and, while the design isn’t exactly bold or outlandish, the Kodiaq is a handsome car and has quite a lot of road presence.
It’s the same story on the inside, because both of these cars have interiors that are smart yet conservative. You will notice the difference in quality between the two, however, with the Tiguan offering more soft-touch materials and glossy metal-effect trims than the Kodiaq. Both are built to survive family life, but the Skoda’s lower price point should make up for the slightly harder plastics on the insides of the doors, for example.
In the technology stakes, it’s the Tiguan that comes out on top. Even entry-level cars come with satellite navigation, but spend a tad more and you’ll also be treated to a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display that replaces analogue dials. It’s as sharp as Audi’s Virtual Cockpit system and makes the VW feel bang up to date. The Kodiaq matches the screen size of the Tiguan’s eight-inch central touchscreen on all but entry-level models, but you can’t get it with a digital driver’s display. Otherwise, though, the Kodiaq holds its own and feels excellent value.
Considering it doesn’t look much bigger than the standard Tiguan, the Allspace packs a lot of space in and offers almost as much room as the Kodiaq. Its rearmost pair of seats flip up from the boot floor when you need them, and the seats themselves are only big enough for kids. In the middle row, there’s more space available than the five-seat Tiguan thanks to the longer body, but having all seven seats up does eat into the boot space quite a bit – you only get 230 litres of space which is less than in the tiny VW Up. With the Allspace in five-seater mode it has 700 litres of boot space.
The Skoda is a similar story – it’s just as commodious as the Allspace in the middle row, and has enough head and shoulder room to fit three six-foot adults side-by-side. Those middle seats slide forward to make getting in the third row as easy as possible, but again the third row is too cramped for adults – even on short trips. With all seven seats up the Kodiaq has more boot space than the Tiguan Allspace – 270 litres of it – which is in turn a bit less than you’d get in a Ford Fiesta. Flip the rear two seats down and you’re left with 720 litres of space – 20 more than the Allspace.
In terms of practicality then, the Kodiaq pips the Allspace in most areas.
Engines and driving
Both these cars offer a 150hp 1.5-litre petrol engine which makes quite a few appearances in our best petrol cars article. It’s still a great engine in the Tiguan Allspace and Kodiaq, but starts to feel ever-so-slightly underpowered if you’ve got the cars fully loaded with people and luggage. For those moments, or if you tow a trailer regularly or do lots of longer trips, you’ll be better off with the torquier 2.0-litre diesel engine.
The Tiguan is very easy to drive and its high seating position gives you a fantastic view out over the road. Pick the DSG automatic and it’ll be relaxing and smooth, and you’ll make comfortable and seamless progress. Despite its large size, the Kodiaq is responsive and you could even say it’s good to drive – it doesn’t roll too much, yet is compliant enough over most bumps. You hear a little more wind noise at motorway speeds than in the Tiguan, but it’s only a slight difference.
Safety and reliability
Both the Skoda and the Volkswagen scored five-stars when crash tested by Euro NCAP (the five-seat Tiguan was tested, though its score is applicable to the Allspace). The VW did perform slightly better the individual test categories, though:
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In terms of reliability, both models come with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty, which is reasonable rather than exceptional. If you’re buying second hand, look out for smooth changes from the dual-clutch gearboxes for both models, and be sure to check any recalls have been attended to using the Government’s checker tool.
Tiguan Allspace vs Kodiaq: verdict
Both these cars are excellent seven-seat family SUVs, and you won’t be disappointed with either. It’s tricky to directly compare these cars on price: the Tiguan actually begins at a slightly lower point, but the entry-level Kodiaq has an automatic gearbox as standard, so this comparison isn’t direct. Instead, we’d pitch mid-range models against each other, and here the Skoda has the edge, as the SE L model is around £2,000 cheaper than an equivalent Tiguan Allspace.
The Tiguan is a little more polished, classy and a smidge more premium inside, but the Kodiaq earns its merits by feeling rugged and characterful, and being a fantastic all-rounder. In fact, we’d argue the Kodiaq has a smidge more charm than the Tiguan Allspace and, as everyone knows, charm counts for a lot.