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Volkswagen Taigun: First Drive Review

Volkswagen has always had a separate fan-following among a particular section of car enthusiasts. Be it a hatchback like the Polo or SUVs like the T-Rock and Tiguan, all have wooed the customers with their excellent build quality, agile driving, and never-aging sophisticated design philosophy. And now, the German automaker is all set to foray into the highly-anticipated mid-sized SUV segment with its highly localized Taigun SUV that has been specially designed as per the Indian taste. So is the Taigun good enough to gain an edge over segment-leaders like the Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos? Let's find out.

2021 Volkswagen Taigun – Looks

There is no doubt that the VW Taigun looks quite elegant. It will grab your eyeballs with its elegance and well-bred design elements like chrome finished twin-slat horizontal front grille with the new brand’s logo in the middle, sleek LED projector headlamps with integrated LED DRLs, larger sporty air dam with blacked-out finishing, along with a silver skid plate and RAJPUTI styled chrome moustache, adding to its macho appeal. Although Indians are fond of chrome, it may be too much for someone.

Moving to the sides, the SUV features sharp creases, slanted roofline, flared wheel arches, and striking dual-tone alloy wheels with red calipers for the tops-pec GT variant. Unlike its concept version, it doesn't feature the honeycomb mesh decal on the C-pillar. Even the alloys have been downsized from 19 to 17-inches units while preserving the same design. There is also black cladding along the bottom edge of the Taigun.

At the back, the striking pair of C-shaped LED taillamps with a width-spanning LED light bar enameled in black applique are the main attraction. Though it looks beautiful, especially in darker light conditions, it makes the rear profile look busier. Also, we cannot overlook the sporty blacked-out bumper with a flashy chrome bar and silver skid plate.

Overall, the German SUV looks quite stylish that will surely gratify most of the buyers. However, sharing its underpinnings with the Skoda Kushaq makes it look smaller than its direct opponents. But it actually sits on a class-leading wheelbase (2,651mm) that grants it a generous cabin space, even for taller passengers. Click here for more details. 

Premium Interiors

Similar to the exterior, the Taigun's cabin also has an aristocratic appearance and shares a few elements with its sibling Skoda Kushaq. Its dashboard looks very clean and tidy with a smartly integrated infotainment system. It flaunts a pleasing dual-tone theme, coupled with faux carbon fiber inserts and a matte finish panel on the dash as well as piano-black touches around the central display, adding to the premium-ness of the car. However, unlike the Skoda Kushaq, it gets a three-spoke steering wheel that is splendidly finished with high-quality material. While it doesn't get any soft-touch material on the dash, the glossy red color inserts available with red body color give it a vibrant character.

All in all, I'm pretty impressed with how the interior is put together.

Great Comfort & Practical Cabin

The fabric seats of VW Taigun are well-contoured and supportive. It gets a height adjustment function for the driver's seat as well as reach & rack adjustment for the steering wheel, making finding a perfect driving position very easy. 

The rear seats too, are very comfortable and offer great knee-room, legroom, and under-thigh support, even for taller passengers. However, the headroom is just adequate. There are also three adjustable headrests at the back, along with a central armrest with two rear armrest cup holders, dedicated rear AC vents, and two C-type charging sockets for added convenience. However, seating three adult passengers at the rear would be quite difficult, especially on longer journeys. But the SUV is quite comfortable for four adult passengers.

Besides, there are lots of practical storage spaces around the cabin. It gets big door pockets, a decently sized cooled glove box, magazine holders behind the front seats, cup holders between the front seats with rubber padding is a great touch. It also gets a cubby pocket just ahead of these central cup holders to keep your tiny stuff or place the car's key inside. Further, there's a wireless smartphone charging pad in the central console tunnel.

As far as the boot space is concerned, it may sound insignificant on paper, but it is considerably deep, which makes it pretty useful to fit in a lot. It also gets 60:40 split-folding rear seats, but they don't fold completely flat. Plus, there is a bulky ridge that could create a little difficulty with large stuff.  

Features 


 

With Taigun, Volkswagen has taken into account the needs of Indian buyers. Apart from the above-mentioned features, its top-spec GT 1.5-liter variant comes with notable features, like a 10.1-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and pre-loaded apps like Gaana, Sygic, audiobooks, and booking.com that works using your smartphone’s internet.

Also on offer is the 8-inch digital instrumentation cluster with multiple customizable options, automatic headlamps, rain-sensing wipers, keyless entry with push-button engine start, auto climate control, cruise control, six speakers, electric sunroof, red ambient lighting on the GT (white in other models) and a lot more. However, the driver's seat is not powered, and the GT variants also miss out on the ventilation function. The screen resolution of the driver's display is not the best in class and would have been better if it had come with navigation support.

What’s remarkable is that the Taigun gets electronic stability control (ESC) as a standard feature across all trims, along with mandatory safety features like dual front airbags, ABS with EBD, speed alert system, seat belt reminder, and reverse parking sensors. 

Furthermore, the top-spec GT line variant also gets side & curtain airbags, hill hold control, three-point seat belts for all three rear seats, two ISOFIX child seat anchorages, a tire pressure loss warning, and a reverse camera. However, the quality of the rear camera let us down. 

Ergonomics

The entire cabin is ergonomic, with the buttons and gauges nicely laid out. However, being a European car, the light switches are placed on the right of the driver's side, while the stalks are used to control the wipers and indicators. Also, its touch-sensitive panel of the automatic climate control system can be a bit disruptive, especially while driving. But once you get used to it, you will realize that they are actually quite easy to operate, thanks to the well-defined ridges for temperature & fan-speed control panel and their ability to support finger touch in a sliding manner.

Segment Leading Performance

Like the Skoda Kushaq, the Taigun is also powered by either 1.0-liter turbo petrol (115PS/178Nm) or 1.5-liter turbo petrol that generates a class-leading output of 150PS at 5,000-6,000rpm and 250Nm at 1,600-3,500rpm. While the former mill comes with a 6-speed manual and a 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission options, the latter gets a 6-speed manual and a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The bigger displacement unit also features cylinder deactivation technology which shuts down two cylinders in low-load conditions to aid fuel efficiency. 

While the 1.0-liter TSI unit is the same powertrain we have experienced on its sibling rival, it wasn't available for this media drive. In short, we have only driven the 1.5-liter TSI engine from the EVO family. The power distribution is the main character of this powertrain. It is quick to respond to throttle inputs, which will really help you in overtaking as well as in city driving conditions. And since this motor has loads of torque to offer from as low as 1000 rpm, you won't be required to shift a lot to make quick progress, and you can stroll around the borough regardless of which gear you're in. The engine also performs well on highways and cruising on triple digital speed is children play for it thanks to the tall sixth gear.

The engine is very refined and hardly produces any vibration inside the cabin. However, it is considerably vocal, especially over 3500-4000 rpm. But if you're gentle on the throttle, it shuts down two of its four cylinders to reduce fuel consumption.  And it happens so smoothly that you won't even know about it if you don't pay attention to the MID. 

Talking about the DSG, it upshifts and downshifts quickly, and the power comes in at a flash. This allows you to secure quick overtakes both in the city and on the highway. You also get manual mode and paddle shifters to take matters into your hands.

Ride Quality & Handling

The ride quality of the Tiguan is actually quite impressive, and it maintains the fun-to-drive element for which the Volkswagen GT cars are known. It feels stable even at high speeds and has minimal body movement. Its accurate steering feedback will allow you to take corners sharply with ease. But consequently, its suspension has been kept on the stiffer side, and thus sharp bumps are felt and even heard inside the cabin with a thud.

2021 Volkswagen Taigun – Pros & Cons

Things we like:

  • Impressive design. 

  • Superior ride quality and powerful performance. 

  • Comfortable seating. 

Things we don't like: 

  • Lack of premium features, like powered front seats, panoramic sunroof, a 360-degree camera, and a heads-up display (HUD). 

  • The cramped cabin width makes it rigorously a four-seater.

  • Quality levels of materials in certain areas aren’t Volkswagen level. Also, there were some rattling sounds when we took it off the road, meaning poor fit and finishing. 

  • No diesel engine option. 

Verdict

The Volkswagen Taigun is a decently loaded, fun-to-drive urban utility vehicle that will surely excite you with its performance. However, if you already own a Volkswagen car, then you will definitely observe a cut in its quality level. Also, if you desire a full-fledged 5-seater-vehicle, then this is not the right choice for you. But in the end, everything depends on the prices that will be announced next month.

Volkswagen Taigun Video Review: –