It’s more than three years since Volkswagen launched its cracking T-Cross SUV in the UK.
I remember driving it for the first time at the UK launch and loving its practicality and styling. Now VW has introduced an even more eye-catching coupé-SUV, the Taigo.
Let’s get one thing straight right away.
To all intents and purposes, the Taigo is simply a T-Cross with a more dynamic, stylish, and some might say, sporty rear roofline. Certainly nothing wrong with that, given the core success of the T-Cross.
Personally, I always did — and still do — love the lines and looks of the VW Polo-based T-Cross, especially in the R-Line spec, over its larger Golf-based T-Roc sibling. But that’s just my personal preference.
Yup. Like the T-Cross, the Taigo’s mechanicals are built on the MQB A0 architecture which underpins a number of Volkswagen Group cars, including the Polo supermini. In many ways both the T-Cross and Taigo can be seen as a Polo on steroids.
Again, like the T-Cross, the Taigo gets Volkswagen’s excellent 1.0-litre three-cylinder TSI turbocharged petrol engine. We’re testing it in what will be the big selling format, the 1.0 TSI 110 mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. And rather than go for the sportier-looking R-Line spec, we have the high-spec Style trim, which will set you back £28,255. There’s also an entry-level Life trim, with the range starting at £22,275.
And if you want or need more power, the Taigo is also available with a 148bhp 1.5-litre TSI petrol engine, mated to the DSG automatic gearbox.
Definitely. Delivering 108bhp and 200Nm of torque, VW engineers have ensured the performance is peppy enough to comfortably propel the 1,260kg Taigo.
Sure, it doesn’t have eye-watering acceleration figures, but hey, it’s a brilliantly packaged compact SUV which will spend most of its time in town.
So, a 0-62mph time of 10.9 seconds is perfectly adequate for the type of driving most Taigo owners will do. It’ll carry on to a max of 118mph, should you ever get the urge… and find yourself on a private road which would allow you to legally exceed the 70mph limit.
Again, you’d be correct. Volkswagen quotes an average fuel figure of 47.9mpg, and, having covered around 300 miles over a selection of mixed driving routes, my economy figures were pretty close to the official numbers. And that was without trying to be eco-conscious. With a 40-litre fuel capacity, say 8.7 gallons in old money, that’s a range of around 400 miles. CO2 figures? 134g/km.
And long gone are the days when anyone would question: “Just a 1.0-litre engine? That’s going to struggle.” Believe me, it doesn’t. Small it may be, but the three-cylinder engine has enough oomph for just about everything the driver is likely to ask it to do.
Ok, under very heavy acceleration you’ll hear the engine note become a bit more noticeable, but in everyday, ‘normal’ driving you won’t find the Taigo struggling for breath or grunt.
It is, well spotted! Its gently sloping roofline towards the rear certainly enhances the Taigo’s looks. And there’s no denying the styling changes the Taigo’s looks dramatically from those of the more rugged, boxy T-Cross.
The newcomer’s roofline unquestionably lowers and elongates the Taigo’s profile for the better, resulting in a more svelte, sporty coupé-SUV look. The appearance is further enhanced by the inclusion of the full-width light bar across the tailgate and black styling add-ons for the mirrors.
Nope. The sloping roofline definitely has no adverse effect on headroom for passengers in the rear, and there’s also plenty of legroom. Volkswagen has slightly increased the Taigo’s wheelbase over that of the T-Cross.
And while we’re in the rear, there’s a more than adequate 440 litres of boot space — which is 20% more than the Golf hatchback — and is cleverly versatile thanks to a double-height floor.
Essentially T-Cross 2.0. Well, certainly in the front, where both the T-Cross and Taigo share similarities in their design. And again, that’s good thing. Plastics higher in the cab, which are less likely to be accessed by fingers, are soft to the touch. Those lower down, by contrast, are understandably harder.
Once you’re settled in the slightly raised driving position, the cabin is dominated by a 10.25-inch digital dash, which is standard kit. There’s also a clever central touchscreen which features wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity.
Wireless phone charging also forms part of the standard kit, as are auto high-beam matrix LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, built-in sat-nav, plus a comprehensive range of driver-assistance tech. That means autonomous emergency braking, traffic-sign recognition and adaptive cruise control with lane assist are all included.
Fair to say then that the Style spec is more than adequately equipped. So, unless you really, really want to have the slightly sportier-looking R-Line trim, I’d save the extra £900 for something else.
Thinking of making the switch to electric?
If you’re in the market for a family-spec Golf-sized car, then you should definitely check out the Taigo. Its styling sets it apart, and, for a car of its size, it’s fairly spacious, smart looking, practical, well equipped and, in 1.0-litre guise, economical. What’s not to like?