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We Indians love our SUVs. The sheer variety of SUVs on sale in our market stands testimony to this. We've got everything from micro SUVs to large full-size SUVs and even premium SUVs. However, the hottest SUV segment is the mid-size SUV segment. The competition here is just something else.
Volkswagen has decided to jump onto the mid-size SUV bandwagon with its latest offering - the Taigun. It is based on the MQB-A0-IN platform and promises to be Volkswagen's bestseller. It is also Volkswagen's first product to come out of the India 2.0 plan. Volkswagen is promoting the Taigun as the car for hustlers, with the #HustleModeOn hashtag.
Is it really a workhorse for the hustlers? For those who do? What does it feel like to drive? Is it anywhere close to its cousin - the Skoda Kushaq? How different does it feel? We got behind the wheel of the Volkswagen Taigun with all these questions, and here is our review of the Volkswagen Taigun.
Design & Style
At first glance, the Taigun is easily recognisable as a Volkswagen. It has all the Volkswagen styling cues one would expect a VW to have, but it is not packaged in a mid-size SUV. On the whole, it is a mature design language that the Volkswagen Taigun uses.
It is quite clearly one of those Volkswagen cars that will age gracefully and will not show its age even after a few years. Up front, the Volkswagen badge takes prominence on the two slat Chrome grille. Volkswagen has used lots of chrome bits and pieces all over the car to make it look more premium and this is more pronounced at the front end.
The front bumper has a lot of elements to it. The unique bit though is the chunky chrome strip that runs between the fog lamps and then ends up as the fog lamp surrounds. The other element in the front bumper is the blacked out honeycomb grille.
The SUV sports chiselled lines on the bonnet that make it look muscular. The same chiselled lines are seen on the side of the Taigun too. The wheel arches are flared and that further adds to the styling.
However, the elements that immediately grab your attention on the side of the SUV are the wheels. The 17-inch alloy wheels are very stylish and get you admiring them. It also gets double crease lines that run in parallel across the door and then end in the rear fender in a tapered manner.
At the rear, there is a chrome strip that runs across the width of the rear bumper. The crease line towards the bottom of the tail gate adds some style to the rear. However, the tail lamp is what makes the SUV look super premium.
The tail lamp runs across the width of the entire rear and this even accentuates the width of the car. It is a backed-out design that envelops the red lighting elements. This is something that makes the SUV stand out even in the face of tough competition in the segment. The Taigun's rear-end looks like it belongs in an SUV that costs 2-3 times as much. Fancy stuff, this.
Cockpit & Interior
Tug on the unique handlebar with the chrome strip and you're welcomed by a premium interior. There are a variety of colours and materials inside the Volkswagen Taigun. There are contrasting colours as well on the seats and dashboard.
The main element on the dashboard is the silver strip that runs across the entire dashboard. It envelops all the other elements on the dashboard. Taking centre stage on the dashboard is the touchscreen infotainment system.
Towards the front passenger side is a faux carbon fibre element that makes the design look rather interesting. On both ends of the dashboard are some fancy AC vents. Right underneath the touchscreen are the central AC vents, which when compared to all the other elements on the dashboard, look a bit boring.
The climate control panel with the haptic touch element looks quite premium and under that are the USB ports as well as a cubbyhole with wireless smartphone charging. The 10-inch touchscreen infotainment unit comes with VW Play and boasts of a long list of features. It also comes with smartphone connectivity.
Instrumentation is taken care of by an 8-inch TFT screen on the top-spec model. It displays a lot of information including the speed, average speed, average fuel efficiency, odometer, range left, etc. The steering wheel feels nice and chunky and comes with controls for the infotainment as well as cruise control mounted on it. It feels rather premium and gets premium elements as well.
The Volkswagen Taigun comes with dual-tone seats and these seats are ventilated as well. The SUV also comes with an electric sunroof and AC vents for those seated at the rear.
Comfort, Practicality & Boot Space
Volkswagen's cars have always been very comfortable for its occupants and the Taigun is no exception. The seats don't really look sporty. Instead, VW has tailored it more towards the comfortable and luxurious end. As aforementioned, the front seats also feature the ventilation function.
It provides good lateral support, lumbar support, and thigh support to the driver as well as the front passenger. At the rear, the Volkswagen Taigun keeps its passengers even more comfortable. The legroom is great and so is the headroom.
Occupants at the rear get a fold-down armrest at the centre, complete with cupholders. There are dedicated AC vents for the second row passengers in the centre console. Under the AC vents are two Type-C ports to help charge up your smartphones.
On the whole, the cabin feels spacious. The presence of the electric sunroof further enhances the roominess of the Volkswagen Taigun.
Engine Performance & Driving Impressions
Powering the Volkswagen Taigun are two turbo petrol engines. One is the 1.0-litre TSI and the other is the 1.5-litre TSI motor. The car we drove was powered by the 1.5-litre TSI engine and was paired to a 7-speed DSG gearbox.
This unit has a maximum power output of 150bhp power and a peak torque output of 250Nm. The 1.5-litre TSI engine can also be specified with a 6-speed manual gearbox. On the other hand, the 1.0-litre TSI unit produces 115bhp of power and 175Nm of peak torque. This motor is paired with either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed torque converter automatic.
Let's get straight to the 1.5-litre TSI unit that we experienced. Power delivery is linear initially, but it has got a good mid-range and top end. The DQ200 7-speed DSG transmission unit is excellent and shifts quickly through the gears. The current DQ200 has become more refined and is now much more reliable as well.
The gearbox comes with the S and D modes. In the D mode, the car will shift gears at a decent pace, and this makes the drive rather comfortable. It goes through the gears without allowing the engine to rev too much, thereby fuel consumption too is comparatively lower.
Things quickly change in the S mode, the shifts happen at a higher engine speed as it holds the gears for longer before shifting on to the next one. However, the all-new Taigun does not get any dedicated driving modes.
How does it ride? Well, we felt that the setup is slightly on the stiffer side. Volkswagen has done its best to make sure that the customers can enjoy the best of both worlds. Since it's a compact SUV, there is a little body roll thanks to the tall body and roof. However, it isn't as much as the others in the segment. The car absorbs all the bumps and potholes easily.
Braking is handled by disc brakes up front and drum brakes at the rear. The initial bite is great and the brakes do not feel spongy at all. The NVH levels in the car are decent and because of the good insulation, very little noise from the outside enters the cabin. However, post 4,200rpm, you will hear the engine noise creeping in the cabin, but at low revs, it rides very smooth and silent.
We could not test the fuel efficiency completely since we had the car with us only for a while. But, while we did some city and highway runs, the MID screen displayed a real-time fuel efficiency figure of between 8.4 to 10.2km/l. We will do a proper road test review soon and we will check for the real-world fuel efficiency when we drive the Taigun for a longer period.
Safety & Key Features
Volkswagen is the brand that popularised safety features for the mass market in India. Much like its other cars, the Volkswagen Taigun too is packed with safety features. Along with the long list of safety features, the Taigun features several key features that make life on the road much more convenient.
Volkswagen Taigun Safety Features
- Electronic Stability Control
- Tyre Pressure Deflation Warning
- Park Distance Control & Rear-View Camera
- Hill Hold Control
- Six Airbags (On the top-spec GT variant)
- ABS with EBD
- 10-inch Touch Screen With VW Play
- Apple Carplay & Android Auto
- Electric Sunroof
- Smart Touch Climatronic Auto AC with Pollen
- LED Lighting
- Volkswagen Build Quality
- Red Ambient Lighting
Volkswagen Taigun Key Features
Competitors & Fact Check
The Volkswagen Taigun enters one of the most competitive segments in the Indian market. The list of competitors include the Hyundai Creta, Kia Seltos, Skoda Kushaq. All of them are brilliant SUVs and it does seem like the Volkswagen Taigun has its work cut out for it.
|Specifications||Volkswagen Taigun||Skoda Kushaq||Hyundai Creta||Kia Seltos|
|Engine||1.0-litre Turbo Petrol / 1.5-litre Turbo Petrol||1.0-litre Turbo Petrol / 1.5-litre Turbo Petrol||1.5-litre Petrol / 1.5-litre Turbo-Diesel / 1.4-litre Turbo-Petrol||1.5-litre Petrol / 1.5-litre Turbo-Diesel / 1.4-litre Turbo Petrol|
|Power||114bhp / 147.5bhp||114bhp / 147.5bhp||113.4bhp / 113.4bhp / 140bhp||113.4bhp / 113.4bhp / 140bhp|
|Torque||175Nm / 250Nm||175Nm / 250Nm||144Nm / 250Nm / 242.2Nm||144Nm / 250Nm / 242.2Nm|
|Transmission||6-Speed Manual / 6-Speed Automatic / 7-Speed DSG||6-Speed Manual / 6-Speed Automatic / 7-Speed DSG||6-Speed Manual / iVT / 6-Speed Automatic / 7-Speed DCT||6-Speed Manual / CVT / 6-Speed iMT / 6-Speed Automatic / 7-Speed DCT|
|Prices||To Be Announced||Rs 10.49 lakh to Rs 17.59 lakh||Rs 9.99 lakh to Rs 17.70 lakh||Rs 9.95 lakh to Rs 17.65 lakh|
The Taigun is Volkswagen's first SUV under the India 2.0 plan. It is based on the MQB-AO-IN platform that is expected to underpin other cars in the future as well. With all this, there are lots of hopes riding on the Volkswagen Taigun.
The SUV looks great, is packed with features and gives out premium car feels in all aspects related to it. The engine and gearbox options are brilliant and it should make for a great car to own. All eyes are now on Volkswagen to see if they get the pricing right. Will it be able to take on the competition, is a question that is yet to be answered.