Volkswagen intends to rule the car world and to do that it needs to tap emerging markets to draw the volumes. And, the introduction of a sub-brand, which would offer more affordable cars for these markets including India, is one of the steps in that direction. What it also needs is more affordable cars from the Volkswagen brand itself. But, not just any car; it needs an SUV. The latter is, after all, one of the fastest growing segments.
Now, it has one. Or, will have one based on the Taigun concept showcased recently at the Sao Paulo Motor Show. The Taigun is based on the “New Small Family Platform” on which the up! small car is also based. The concept’s exterior look follows the very concise and clear Volkswagen SUV design DNA. This gives the Taigun a sophisticated and powerful appearance. It’s 3,859mm long, 1,728mm wide and 1,570mm tall. Between the front and rear bumpers, the vehicle sports a wheelbase of 2,470mm, which is large given its short overall length. The result: short overhangs and appealing proportions. As for the looks, it surely looks like a miniature version of the Tiguan and Touareg, but carries what will be the new face of VW SUVs. The all-LED headlamps will certainly not make it to the production version, but the overall edgy design along with the large grille giving this miniature SUV tremendous road presence.
In profile the high ground clearance and short overhangs are evident. The rear door also does away with a conventional door handle, and in place is one very similar to the one found on the Chevrolet Beat. This too will make to production. At the back the tail gate is a two piece affair for easier loading and more flexibility. It’s, however, an expensive option. So chances are that it might be ditched for a standard tail gate at least for markets like India where cost is key. A close look also reveals skid plates both up front and at the rear to give the Taigun a butch aura. Last but not the least, roof rails with integrated lights finish off this tiny monster.
Inside, the Taigun looks smart and simple. The three dials on the smooth flowing dash look sporty and so does the little instrument panel. A touch screen interface is present in the concept which controls multiple functions like Bluetooth connection, audio player and the sat-nav unit.
The four-seat concept car is powered by a new 1.0-litre TSI engine with 110bhp. The Taigun engine extends the range of the three-cylinder petrol engines by adding direct fuel injection plus turbocharging technology, which opens a new chapter in the downsizing strategy at Volkswagen. The engine delivers a high peak torque of 175Nm at a low 1500rpm. The lightweight concept car, weighing in at 985kg, has a claimed top speed of 186kmph and can accelerate to 100kmph from a standstill in 9.2 seconds. Moreover, the Taigun is expected to be very fuel efficient offering around 22kmpl.
VW’s baby SUV, which runs 17 inch alloy wheels shod with 205/50 R17 tyres, should be up for a bit of offroading as well, thanks to its light weight, high ground clearance and good low end torque. There’s however no four wheel drive on offer. What it does get though is ESC - electronic stabilisation programme.
So, where will the Taigun slot in when it makes to production? It will sit above the Up! and should be priced similar to the Polo. It will also pose a threat to SUVs like the Ford EcoSport, Nissan Terrano, Renault Dusterand soon to be launched compact SUV from Maruti Suzuki.