Why would I buy it?
- Splendid 1.5 TSI/DSG drivetrain
- Good build quality
Why would I avoid it?
- Likely to cost more than all it's rivals
- Clunky low speed ride on GT version
Engine and Gearbox
Powering the Taigun is a familiar set of engines. So you have the 1.0-litre TSI which gets a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed torque converter. But what we are driving here is the top of the line 1.5-litre TSI EVO variant. Again you get transmission options here. A 6-speed manual and the famed seven-speed DSG gearbox and we're driving both today.
Let's start with my favourite here, the six-speed manual. So the power figures stand at 148bhp and 250Nm of torque. Now, this is the same engine that you also get in the bigger VW T-Roc, and in the Taigun, it feels even sprightlier.
The engine feels refined and at cruising speeds, it's near-silent. With the maximum torque available between 1600 - 3500 rpm, the Taigun is comfortable at low speeds in higher gears as well because of which it warrants lesser gear changes as well. And then when you want to have fun, you literally drop a gear and disappear. Performance comes in strong and what also makes it even more fun is the super-slick six-speed manual gearbox. This isn't a high revving motor but even in its upper echelons, between 5000-6000rpm, the motor pulls beautifully and is bucketloads of fun.
As for the DSG, this gearbox is just amazing. Not only is it the best twin-clutch out there, but it's just as engaging as it is convenient. Both the upshifts and downshifts are quick to execute and offer the best balance of convenience and fun.
VW claims a 0-100kmph time of 9.1 seconds and a top speed of 190 kmph for the DSG variant. This is something that we will test and verify soon, along with the fuel efficiency since Volkswagen hasn't given us an official figure yet.
Ride and Handling
Getting to the ride quality, the Taigun breaks away from the regular VW mould and I mean that in a good way. while most Vw's feel stiff at low speeds, the Tiguan's suspension is very compliant.
And that means broken or pothole-ridden roads at low speeds are not a problem at all. But it's important to note that the manual variant gets 16-inch wheels with 60 profile rubber which rides noticeably better than the DSG variant with 17-inch wheels and 55 profile rubber. and even then the handling isn't off the mark either. the steering is light but accurate and even though there is some roll, it feels safe and predictable in the twisty stuff. the only negative we felt was that the suspension does get quite chattery on the uneven sections especially the DSG variant with the larger wheels.
Comfort, Convenience, and Features
One look at it and you know you're inside a VW. Let's talk about what we see first, so the dashboard first, two-tone colours...check, funky design...Ummm...this is somewhere in the middle. What we like is how Volkswagen has avoided Piano black to make it look premium and instead gone with glossy shades of grey and silver which look just as premium but arent a fingerprint or dust magnet.
What we also liked is this odd Heptagon shaped layout for the infotainment screen, looks refreshingly different. These two aircon vents however really look out of place and look like the designer just stuffed them in here. What we also loved is the 8-inch digital cockpit which has some really sharp graphics and excellent readability.
On the quality front this car has over 95 per cent localization, so how good is it? Well, it's a bit of a mixed bag. Most parts feel good, but certain parts get scratchy plastics and feel a little flimsy. We would have loved some soft-touch materials on the dashboard which would have made the interiors feel a lot more premium.
Now let's get to the seats. These just feel great. Good support, the view is great and driving long hours should not be a problem at all. With a wheelbase of 2651mm which is obviously identical to the Skoda Kushaq, it's more than the Creta or the Seltos and it's noticeable with this insane amount of knee room. Headroom is no issue at all and the almost flat floor coupled with good under-thigh support means it's great for the chauffeur-driven kind too.
But for a family of five...not so much. The Taigun isn't as wide as the competition and that means seating three abreast is not very comfortable. So the Taigun is at best a very comfortable four-seater. We haven't got the boot space figure from VW yet but this should be well under 400-litres which is lesser than its Korean rivals.
Overall, the interiors of the VWTaigun are a mixed bag. It's got some good touches and some things we expected to be better.
Now let's look at the features that the Taigun comes loaded with. So you get a 10-inch touch screen infotainment system that also gets wireless apple CarPlay and Android Auto, digital cockpit, wireless phone charging, touch control auto AC, rearview camera, ventilated leather fronts seats, ambient lighting and an electric sunroof. You also get connected features, but then it's not as exhaustive as the competition.
On the safety front, the Taigun has got it covered. Its got ABS with ESP, tyre pressure deflation warning, up to six airbags, rear park distance control and hill hold control. The only thing missing here we think is the absence of rear disc brakes which should have been present.
Talking about the design, the Taigun looks a lot more compact than its Korean rivals, but even so, it’s got the presence and that premium-ness in the design. At the front, starting from the bottom of the front bumper, you get the mandatory bash plate. The rest of the bottom half of the bumper is a mix of glossy piano black and a healthy dose of chrome which we aren’t a fan of. Moving upwards, you get more chrome in the slatted grille which is highlighted by the brand new VW logo in the centre. Connected at either end, are the large LED headlamps which also get stylish DRLs in them.
On the sides, again it’s typical Volkswagen. The lines are clean, you get a nice strong shoulder line and the thick plastic cladding are prominent enough to shout SUV. And again chrome finds its way on the side as well in the form of additional detailing just below the outside rearview mirrors. The 16-inch alloy wheels look good and in the DSG GT variant, you also get red callipers in the front along with dual-tone 17-inch alloy wheels. Unfortunately, you do not get discs at the rear and have to make do with drum brakes at the rear.
The rear like we mentioned in our previous video is just fantastic. Starting from the top, you get a shark-fin antenna and a spoiler with a high mounted stop lamp. However, the best part is the tail lamp section. While the LED tail lamps look quite cool on their own what makes them stand out is the whole LED strip that runs across the width of the car, a design tough seen only in the high-end segment. The bottom half of the bumper continues with the cladding from the sides and just like at the front you get a chrome garnish at the rear as well. The bash plate finally completes the Taigun’s sporty rear.
So the Taigun comes across as a very competitive product from Volkswagen. It’s a handsome looking SUV, it's got a decent amount of kit and drives very well too and we expect it to be launched very soon now.
But coming to the important question, does it have enough to stand out and make a place for itself in this highly competitive segment or is it just too late to the party? Well, the answer to that will boil down to the price. Its brother from another mother, the Skoda Kushaq did not play the price game too well so can we expect VW to play it any better? Well, for their sake and our's we hope they do because we genuinely think this is a good product and don't want it to be let down only by its price. And if they do manage to price it well, the Taigun will surely start a party of its own.
Pictures by Kapil Angane