How often do you have to move five or six passengers around? If the answer is quite often then you know what a pain that can be, because it either means you need two cars – or something as unwieldy as a minibus.

That is unless you have a Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace that manages to combine seven-seat capability in a surprisingly compact body.

The Allspace’s wheelbase is 109 mm longer than the standard Tiguan sports utility vehicle and the overall length has increased by 215 mm. The resulting interior space gives plenty of room for a third row of seats which are fine for people up to 5ft 2in tall.

When that third row of seats is folded there is a whopping load space; flip down both the middle and rear rows of seats and you can load anything up to almost two metres straight into the rear.

While the space on offer has been given a substantial boost, equipment levels have also received a lift, literally. To make access to the luggage space easier, the tailgate opens electronically.

The beauty of all this versatility is that it comes in a package that rides and handles much like the vehicle on which it is based.

The Allspace range is built in Mexico, like the Beetle and comes in three high-specification trim levels – SE Navigation, SEL and R-Line. This is in contrast to the regular Tiguan – the third best-selling car in Volkswagen’s UK range – which begins with S and SE trims.

All have an infotainment system with an eight-inch colour touchscreen and a variety of navigation options. Also included is DAB digital radio, CD player, a Bluetooth mobile phone connection for two devices and two USB connections.

The car driven here, in SEL trim, also comes with a 12.3-inch digital dashboard that can display a range of information about the car, including fuel usage and consumption, navigation instruction, a rolling map and a classic speed and gear display.

SEL trim also brings a panoramic sunroof, LED ambient lighting, LED daytime running lights and headlights fitted with a system which uses a masking function to allow the main beam to be left on continuously without dazzling oncoming traffic.

Safety systems also feature strongly, with electronic stability control, traction control and lane assist standard on every model. Adaptive cruise control is also standard, along with a front assist system, which uses a radar to warn if a potential collision is detected and then prime the brakes in preparation for an emergency stop.

The Allspace line-up has a choice of five turbocharged engines, two petrol and three diesel. The petrol options include a 1.4-litre TSI 150 horsepower unit with a system that shuts down two of the four cylinders when the car is cruising, to lift fuel economy.

Each diesel engine is 2.0-litre and all use the AdBlue engine additive, a mixture of water and urea that is used to help remove oxides of nitrogen from the exhaust.

A 150 horsepower unit starts the range and the car driven here was fitted with the 190 horsepower unit, which is only available with four-wheel drive and a seven-speed semi-automatic gearbox. Topping the range is a 240 horsepower version.

While most people will not have a need to carry five passengers on a regular basis, the ability to do it is really handy – even though you might be lining yourself up as the go-to parent for every school/football/dance run.

Auto facts

Model: Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace SEL

Price: £38,060

Insurance group: 23E (1-50)

Fuel consumption (combined): 47.9mpg

Top speed: 130mph

Length: 470cm/185in

Width: 210cm/82.4in

Luggage capacity: 24.7 cu ft (with rear seats up)

Fuel tank capacity: 13.2 gallons/60 litres

CO2 emissions: 153 g/km

Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles