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    Volkswagen Taigun 1.5 DSG First Drive Review

    Authors Image

    Sagar Bhanushali

    60,796 Views
    Volkswagen Taigun Right Front Three Quarter

    Why would I buy it?

    • Brilliant 1.5 TSI/seven speed DSG combo
    • Refinement

    Why would I avoid it?

    • Likely to be more expensive than its rivals
    • Missing some new-age features

    Verdict

    If the Hyundai Creta and the Kia Seltos are the trendy duo who are always keen to announce their arrival in a class, the Volkswagen Taigun is that quiet, capable kid who leaves a long-lasting impression while keeping it low. That’s how we see this all-new compact SUV which embodies Volkswagen in every possible manner right from the way it drives, feels and appears. Like all VWs, the Taigun has been discreetly styled and as a result, it may not appear as in-your-face as its arch rival, the Hyundai Creta.

    Left Front Three Quarter

    That said, it isn’t as meek or curvy looking as compact SUVs often do – it, in fact, exudes typical VW design cues with its sharp lines and creases across the front/rear, a taut shoulder kink and a compact profile. Speaking of which, the Taigun is among the smaller vehicles in its class, measuring 4,221mm in length, 1,760mm in width and 1,612mm in height. Its 2,651mm wheelbase though is among the best in class and that translates to a fairly comfortable rear seat experience. But is the rest of what the Taigun has to offer equally impressive? Let’s find out.

    Rear View

    Engine and Performance

    7.5 / 10

    Front View

    Buyers will have two petrol engine options to choose from – a 1.0 TSI, three-cylinder with 114bhp/178Nm or the 148bhp/250Nm 1.5-litre TSI four-cylinder motor that we got to sample for our first drive. The 1-litre can be had with a six-speed manual or torque converter whereas the 1.5 gets a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG. Now with the kind of pulling power the 1.5 TSI Taigun has, it’s no slouch in any situation. Put your foot down gingerly and the engine releases a gush low-end torque right when you want it. In fact, there is plenty of grunt post 2,000rpm which allows the Taigun to make quick progress.

    Left Rear Three Quarter

    With so much torque smoothly flowing in, darting in and out of traffic gaps is effortless in this car. Out on the highway, the strong pull is evident even when doing over triple digit speeds. The Taigun 1.5’s highlight, without a doubt, is the DSG automatic gearbox. Not as common as it once used to be in VW’s line-up, the 7-speed DSG is always up for the job; be it gentle cruise across the town or a quick adrenaline induced drive across your favourite set of roads. In ‘D’ mode, the DSG does a convincing job of shifting up smoothly and early in the rev band to squeeze out maximum fuel efficiency. But, the moment you move the lever down to ‘S’, everything changes and by now the engine is screaming for all its worth right before every upshift. The gearshifts itself are deceptively quick as usual and compared to the earlier versions of this gearbox, there is less hesitancy in stop/start traffic and the downshifts are better masked, too. On part throttle, this gearbox upshifts early at the meat of the torque band to make quick progress.

    Left Front Three Quarter

    Ride and Handling

    7 / 10

    Left Side View

    There is a sense of maturity in the way the Taigun rides and handles. In typical Euro car manner, it’s low speed ride errs on the firmer side and the suspension does feel clunky over sharp edged bumps and pot holes. Now we would like to add that we also spent some time driving a lower spec version of the Taigun with 205/60 16-inch tires and it seemed to ride a lot better than the GT which comes with a lower profile rubber. The former has an extra layer of cushiness to its ride and it doesn’t crash over bumps as much as the 17-inch GT version. One can feel the bumps on the road at low speeds but pick up the pace and the Taigun flattened Udaipur’s roads while exhibiting rock-solid stability with little roll, especially at high speeds. The only kink in its armour here is the suspension noise that filters into the cabin at low speeds.

    As for the handling, the Taigun remains well sorted. It feels stable and predictable through the corners with a steering that is light and weighs up ideally as you keep turning the wheel, with sufficient bite on center. We feel the steering might have been geared to make the Taigun easily manoeuvrable within city limits a little too much because it doesn’t have the same positive weight to it as the T-Roc or even cheaper VW models. While the steering may seem too light at city speeds, the overall body control is impressive and the Taigun feels nimbler than its size would have you believe.

    Wheel

    Interior Space and Comfort

    7 / 10

    Dashboard

    The Taigun’s interior design has a whiff of VW’s other premium models and that’s a great thing. Like the bigger T-Roc, chrome highlights and light coloured materials wrap around the dash, while a flat centre console and a large touchscreen infotainment system are visual draws. Like the exterior, the cabin is a solid, no-nonsense affair with clean lines and plenty of edgy details. What about the quality and finish, you may ask? Well, the quality is good for the most part but it could have certainly been better for the money. The buttons on the steering wheel and the doors lack that solid tactile feel you get in VW’s other products and even in this top-spec GT version you will find so many dummy buttons on the console and that’s never a good thing when it comes to first impressions.

    Front Row Seats

    The ergonomics though are spot on -there’s adequate space to keep your belongings on the centre console, arm rest and door pads. Then there are the large front seats with firm cushioning that offer spades of support and lateral bolstering. Even headroom is in abundant supply. Access to the rear seats is extremely easy thanks to the wide ingress as well the door opening. The Taigun has the longest wheelbase in its class and it shows once you are seated in the second row. There is more than enough legroom even with the front seat positioned to a 6-footer’s preference.

    Rear Seats

    The rear bench itself has a good deal of contouring to keep you in place and a nice backrest angle. We particularly liked how much under thigh support there is on offer here because usually that’s something even these fairly large mid-size crossovers struggle to get right. What’s really not so good is the limited shoulder room on the Taigun. Because it’s so narrow having three adults sit at the back is never going to be a comfortable experience (expect plenty of shoulder shrugging among yourselves). In comparison, the Creta is noticeably wider and a much better five-seater than the Taigun.

    Rear Seats

    VW hasn’t officially released Taigun’s boot capacity although we expect it to be the same as the Skoda Kushaq which is rated at 385-litres. It might not be the biggest boot in its class but it offers a deep cargo space with a fairly low loading lip height, unobtrusive boot space, and 60:40 split-folding seats as well.

    Bootspace

    Features and Equipment

    7 / 10

    Infotainment System

    The top-spec Taigun GT that you see here has everything that is expected from a compact SUV nowadays. You get LED headlamps with DRLs, LED taillights, ventilated front seats, leather upholstery, ambient lighting, a fully digital instrument cluster, a large touchscreen infotainment screen with phone mirroring, touch controls for the AC, electric sunroof, six airbags, ESP, hill hold control and a tyre pressure deflating warning.

    Sunroof/Moonroof

    Conclusion

    7 / 10

    Right Side View

    Let’s get one thing straight. Volkswagen has not reinvented the compact SUV with its new Taigun. What the brand has actually done is that it’s given buyers a solid potential alternative to the popular picks in this segment. Not everyone wants a flamboyant SUV with the latest in gizmos, but most of us expect certain things like quality, refinement, safety tech and good driving manners. With the Taigun, Volkswagen India has come pretty close to offering the ideal set of wheel for such buyers. Now if only the brand would reveal the pricing at the time of the drive. For now we will reserve our judgement and conclude that the Taigun is a strong contender in the race for top honours in the compact SUV space.

    Keep an eye out for our post launch comparison story where we will be pitting the Taigun against the Creta and score them for their real world performance, efficiency, features and of course, value.

    Pictures by Kapil Angane

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