Volkswagen Taigun Road Test Review – Make it Happen?

Volkswagen had showcased their Compact SUV the Taigun in its concept form early last year. With the global pandemic taking its toll and delaying the entire auto industry timeline now the final production version of the 5-seater SUV was showcased to us in March at Goa. No denying the fact that the Taigun is a very important car model for the German car maker that can make or break its future here in India and Volkswagen has gone all out with it. We went out of Mumbai for the very first time after the 2nd lockdown in the city of Lakes Udaipur to get under the skin and to find out what the Volkswagen Taigun really is.

Food for Thought

The Taigun is the 5-seater SUV from Volkswagen that will be launched under the SUVW strategy. Incidentally the Taigun shares a lot of underpinnings with its Skoda sibling the Kushaq which was launched recently. The VW Taigun will also rival the likes of Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos, Tata Harrier, and MG Hector in the Compact SUV segment. The Taigun and the Kushaq both are built on the MQB A0 IN platform which is the Indian version of the MQB platform from the Volkswagen group. The Taigun will also have 95% of localization from day one to keep maintenance and running costs low.

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Exteriors

First things first, one look at the Taigun and instantly it reminds you of the elder brother the Tiguan which is Volkswagens Premium flagship SUV. The SUV looks very trendy, has loads of sharp character lines and has the premium rich feel to its styling and design. The SUV also boasts a class leading wheelbase of 2651mm. In terms of looks upfront you get a wide latest design Volkswagen grille with chrome strips and the latest slim VW logo on it. The Taigun we drove was the GT trim which had its ‘GT’ badging on the grille. The headlights are chunky in size and come with all LED glow and DRL’s in them. The dual tone front bumper gets a unique thick chrome insert band that runs around it kind of defining the face. The front also adorns a faux skid plate and large triangular fog lamps. The flat bonnet comes with sharp creases on it highlighting its SUV character.

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Coming to the sides the Taigun flaunts a sharp crease that starts from the fender and goes behind bisecting the door handles mating with the tail lights, this crease defines the sides along with the GT badge insert in chrome on the fender. Door handles get chrome treatment while the B pillar gets glossy black finish along with a tiny Volkswagen branding on it. Chrome beltline on the glass area adds character to the SUV. The wheel arches get fiber inserts along with the lower section of the doors completing the SUV like brute look. You also get this faux fixed quarter glass on the C pillar that makes the glass area look large.

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The roof gets glossy black treatment for this the GT trim of the Taigun and also comes with practical aluminum roof rails along with a shark fin antenna. The Taigun drives on 17 inch progressive design dual-tone alloys mounted on 205/55 R17 spec meaty Goodyear tyres.

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Coming to the rear, the Taigun gets this all wide tail LED tail lamps that run across the width of the boot area giving that very unique look to the SUV, Volkswagen calls this the Infinity Tail Lamps, these lights come with a very unique styling that is unseen and looks very trendy.

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The rear windshield is large and also gets a big spoiler in body color. The boot lid adorns the TAIGUN badge in chrome placed in the centre along with the GT badge.  The rear bumper also gets the dual tone effect along with the neat chrome inserts running on it. Faux skid plate is also placed here along with slim type stop reflectors.

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Interiors

To start off the cabin area is typical Volkswagen like with black interiors and a premium feel. Unique USP of the cabin is that the cherry red colored car we drove gets a special body colored inserts on the dash, transmission console and door pads while other body colored Taigun’s get silver inserts instead. In terms of features the Taigun gets ventilated seats, 10 inch touch screen AVN system, customizable all digital instrument cluster, single color ambient lighting, and wireless charging etc on the feature list. The non GT DSG trim comes with an analogue instrument cluster. The steering it’s a flat bottom design with leather wrapping and hand stitching on a three spoke design which comes with metal inserts and a nice matt finish boss pad with VW logo on it.

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The DSG version gets paddle shifters too. Manual steering adjust for height and reach is also available. The seats get a unique fabric upholstery with faux leather side inserts. Driver’s seat gets manual height adjust. Front seats offer excellent support and loads of space. The front seats also get a arm rest placed between the seats which has storage space under it. The rear seats also offer good space with loads of knee, leg and head room. The under thigh support is good and the back angle is upright. Seats have their padding on the harder side thus aiding support. The rear seats middle passenger gets a flat floor extending his comfort. You get two USB C charge ports in the front and two at the rear. The cabin feels very airy and has a very premium touch and feel in terms of quality and premium appeal.

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Very typical Volkswagen standards of safety is also included on the Taigun which includes 6 airbags, ABS with EBD, ESC, traction control, reverse parking sensors and camera, etc all on the safety list. What we missed is the 360 degree camera which could have been on the feature list.

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Engine – Transmission – Drive

Powering the Volkswagen Taigun are two petrol engine options both of which are the TSI engines. These engines also power the Skoda Kushaq. You have the 1.0L 3-cylinder TSI with 115PS of power and 175Nm of torque mated to either a 6-speed manual or a automatic transmission. You also get the chart topping 1.5L 4-cylinder TSI engine that makes 150PS of power and 200Nm of torque. This engine comes mated to the 6-speed manual or the 7-speed DSG automatic transmission options. This is the engine that powered our cars during our stint with the Taigun in Udaipur.

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We first drove the manual transmission version of the Taigun. First things first this engine has a very nice soft grunt to it when you rev it. Power loaded till the brim is its key highlight. This engine is an enthusiast’s delight, just floor the throttle and the Taigun flies ahead in pretty quick time. Speed buildup is pretty quick tho not instant or scary. This engine also gets the ACT (active cylinder technology) which we also saw on the Skoda Kushaq. This feature shuts off two cylinders when coasting or cruising as a result saving precious fuel. You can actually see when the ACT system is at work as displayed on the MFD display.

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This engine loves being driven hard. This is one of the best Turbo Petrol engines we driven. The Taigun drives very positively with typical Volkswagen benchmark style and grace. The SUV has tons of road grip at all speeds and the steering feels very well balanced. The manual gearbox is precise enough that you can find all six gears easily and precisely.

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Our stint with the DSG automatic Taigun was pretty comforting as well. The drive shifter is one of the smoothest in this class. The DSG shifts all happen seamlessly and effortlessly. The TSI engine teamed up with the DSG transmission makes a very good package with tons of power available plus you also get paddle shifters and a tiptronic shifts on here.

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The Taigun is perfectly capable when it comes to corners. In particular, its steering is precise and has plenty of reassuring weight, providing a good sense of connection to the front tyres at all times. The suspension set up is well tuned for Indian road conditions and the SUV behaved very nicely when going over bad roads and pot holes. The ground clearance stands at 155mm which may sound less but the SUV didn’t scrape or touch the underbelly during our test. The Volkswagen Taigun has one of the best drive quality in its class.

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Volkswagen Taigun Competitors

The Volkswagen Taigun enters the fiercely competitive segment where it goes up against its cousin the Skoda Kushaq, segment leader Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos and also against the likes of the Tata Harrier, MG Hector, Maruti Suzuki S-Cross, Nissan Kicks, Renaut Captur.

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Verdict

Volkswagen is pretty late to enter the Compact SUV segment but with the Taigun. The SUV shares a lot of its underpinnings with the Skoda Kushaq but Volkswagen have cleverly kept its styling and designing very different. We love the way the car looks, typical German, the way it drives, typical Volkswagen and the way it does its job, flawlessly. What is needed is some cut throat pricing for the Taigun to transform into the success story for Volkswagen in India and get it back into the reckoning which it so much deserves.

New photo by Ritesh Madhok / Google Photos

Words – Ritesh Madhok
Photos & Video – Govind Gadekar
Video Editing – Bhushan Joshi

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