Fashionable, they might be, but for some, a regular SUV is no longer quite enough
Car Reviewed: Volkswagen Taigo R-Line 1.0-Litre TSI 110PS 6-Speed Manual 5DR
No, what you need to turn heads and cut it image-wise today is a coupe SUV.
Behold the Volkswagen Taigo, the car you see here. This is Wolfsburg’s junior entry into the go-to coupe SUV genre, pioneered by Porsche and BMW at the top end of the market.
So what’s the deal? Well, with its slightly racier rear-end treatment, the coupe SUV sets out to be sleeker, sexier and a touch more exclusive than your average blocky SUV. A bit more rarified and unique, or at least that’s the idea.
Hang on a minute, though…Taigo? No, not the name of some kind of lemonade or south American dance but the moniker Wolfsburg’s dreamt up for this Polo-based variant that’s not to be confused with Twingo (made by Renault), although some might well end up doing just that.
In the metal, the Taigo catches the eye and drives pretty well. And it’s compact, positioned mid-way between the T-Cross and T-Roc in VW’s ever-expanding SUV lineup (now accounting for over 40 per cent of UK sales).
Electric might be all the rage, but engines here are all conventional, petrol-based. The range kicks off with a 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit (95 ps) linked to a 5-speed manual box. Or, a peppier 110ps edition is offered with either a 6-speed manual (as here) or a 7-speed DSG box.
Ranger topper is the Taigo 1.5 with four cylinders, 1.5-litres, 150 PS and exclusively a 7-speed DSG box.
Trim levels? There are three, starting with the Taigo Life, then moving up to the more luxury-orientated Style.
But it’s the sportified R-Line 110 ps edition of the Taigo we’re looking at here.
This gets bespoke R-Line bumpers, body-coloured side sills, black roof rails and ‘Valencia’ grey 17-inch alloy wheels to up the visual edge.
The kit list is long and generous (even the base Life gets a digital TFT dash display, smartphone charging, front fog lights, LED headlights and more).
Even so, VW’s press car still had loads of extra gear added on. As in heated front seats (£313), Beats Audio and spare wheel (£640), and a panoramic sunroof (£880). And more…
All of which lifted the price to £32,460 versus £27,845 for the base, On the Road spec.
Open the door, sit inside, and ahead of you is a typically well-ordered VW dash with clear instruments, sensible, easy-to-understand controls, and a large 8-inch central touchscreen (with VW’s much-maligned sat nav software hopefully now behaving much better).
The mandatory raised SUV-style seating position is there. Cabin space, front and rear, is decent enough despite the compact body and slanted coupe-like styling.
Luggage space? Perfectly OK. VW quotes 440 litres (or 1222 litres with rear seats folded), almost the same as the T-Cross on which it’s based.
Driving the Taigo, you find a well-balanced, lively, easy-to-drive machine and this 110 ps engine is reckoned to be the pick of the bunch.
That said, 0-60 mph in 10.4 secs is nothing to get too excited about and the trademark three-cylinder thrum is perhaps not the sweetest sound around.
But it revs well, there’s good torque and you don’t have to work the gearbox to get up to speed. This 6-speed box incidentally is excellent, light and precise, so shifting ratios is hardly a chore.
Despite the R-Line name, handling could be more sporty and engaging, even on optional 18-inch tyres, as here.
You can alter the drive settings but subjectively, not much changes. The Taigo corners neatly with minimal roll and feels utterly predictable and failsafe.
That’s not damning it with faint praise. The Taigo is a refined, competent junior SUV with a well-controlled ride, just not as fun as some others out there.
In conclusion, the VW Taigo is a VW T-Cross with a bit more stylistic fizz and it works.
As a motoring journalist, he’s been writing about cars for a long time, starting in London in fact around the time the Sex Pistols first began limbering up….
Thereafter his journalistic remit has covered both new and classic cars, some historic motorsport reporting plus a long spell in Tokyo, covering the Japanese car industry for a range of global media outlets. Peter is a car writer and tester in the UK. Gooner, Alfisti and former Tokyo resident. If it has wheels, then he is interested.
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