Volkswagen Taigun Concept SUV showcased - Will rival Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos in India
Volkswagen India is now looking to capture a slice of the mid-size SUV market with an all-new SUV dubbed the Taigun. Built on the MQB AO iN platform, this SUV shares its underpinnings with sister concern Skoda and the Vision IN. Thus the Volkswagen Taigun is almost the same in length (4.2 metres) and breadth, the only difference that may come in is in how tall the Taigun stands.
Aiming to make its presence felt in the mid-size SUV space means that the Taigun will go up against established SUVs like the all-new Creta which we will see at the Auto Expo 2020 and the current hot seller, the Kia Seltos. That is going to be a tough ask considering Volkswagen may be limited by the depth of its offering. The Taigun will initially be offered only with a petrol engine. A 1.5-litre TFSI mill that Volkswagen says will deliver 130hp. There are no immediate plans to introduce a diesel and while we won't discount that option in the future, the fact remains that Volkswagen will be challenged by its absence. This is principally because under the forthcoming BSVI emission norms, a diesel engine of that size and capacity will need to be offered with a selective catalyst reduction (SCR) system which would make it expensive. Volkswagen however is looking at offering a CNG variant in the Taigun. The transmissions on offer will be a manual and a 6-speed DSG automatic.
As we've come to witness in previous Volkswagen offerings, expect the dynamics of the Taigun to showcase a proper European feel. This means ride could be firm while handling would be spot on for a SUV this size. This could definitely be an engaging SUV to drive.
On the design front the Taigun is almost production-ready, barring a few minor details. The Taigun encompasses the familiar Volkswagen design philosophy, which is a bit understated but sophisticated and smart. It definitely has an air of premiumness around it without the pomp and flash exhibited by its sibling from the Czech Republic. The Taigun should certainly appeal to those looking for a more subtle SUV in this space. The lack of plastic panelling and fender frames also adds to the sophistication. The LED effects are also quite impressive, be it in the headlamps or in the tail lamps.
What definitely gets an A+ is the interior space. With the 2.76-metre wheelbase, the interiors can be stretched out considerably. There is luxurious kneeroom for rear passengers even with significantly taller people in the driver's or passenger seat. Seat comfort is superb, with enough under-thigh support for the rear passengers and adequate side bolstering for those seated in the front. This cabin is however a bit of a squeeze for more than five passengers, the width proving ideal for four. Boot space is also large, and though Volkswagen hasn't yet revealed exact specifications, it should be on par for the class. My only reservations are with the driver's position. From the inside you don't appear to be seated as high up as you would in the Seltos or Creta.
Quality of materials in the cabin feel good, though I think Volkswagen could improve this significantly. The plastics felt plasticky and the upholstery on the dashboard and other panels felt a bit downmarket. Perhaps there is still some change to come in this regard. Having said that the design and layout of the dashboard is simple yet elegant. The multilayered and the bright two-tone colour finish enhances the feeling of space. The centre infotainment has a large screen but feels smaller than what is seen on the Vision IN and other comparative models. Interestingly, there are several USB C charging ports both in the front and rear cabin area. The rear seats also get air con vents as standard fitment.
The Volkswagen Taigun looks to be a strong contender in the mid-size SUV space. It's got a good blend of style, fit and finish feel great but the only downer could be its lack of a diesel. The other challenge could be the time that the Taigun takes to come to the market. The launch is expected to be sometime after June 2021, following the launch of the Skoda Vision IN. That's still a long time away.
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