Surprisingly spacious, composed ride, dedicated climate control panel
Cheap interior, usual VW infotainment gripes, sluggish and noisy three-cylinders
What is it?
Volkswagen’s latest niche-busting coupe-crossover thing. The Taigo joins a huge range of VW SUVs on sale in the UK, all of which we will now attempt to list (at the time of writing, no doubt there’ll be a new one by the time you read this). So, deep breath. It currently sells the T-Cross, T-Roc, T-Roc Cabriolet, Tiguan, Tiguan Allspace, Touareg, ID.4 and now the ID.5. Good grief.
It’s based on the MQB A0 platform that also underpins both the Polo and the T-Cross. It’s not technically an all-new car either, because it shares a great deal with the Volkswagen Nivus sold in South America. To become a Taigo it gets a couple of styling tweaks inside and out as well as a new R-Line trim level.
SO WHERE DOES IT SIT IN THE RANGE?
When it was unveiled, the general consensus was that the Taigo would become the new entry-level VW SUV on our shores. However, Volkswagen knows that the ‘coupe’ body style means it can charge extra for a little bit more ‘style’. Prices start from just over £23k, roughly £1k more than the smaller T-Cross and around £2.5k less than the larger T-Roc. Head over to the buying tab for more.
HOW BIG IS IT?
We wouldn’t usually list random dimensions in a review, but given the lightly confusing nature of the crossover market in the UK (an understatement if there ever was one), this should hopefully provide some context. The standard Polo hatch is 4,053mm long, 1,461mm tall and 1,751mm wide without including the wing mirrors. The Taigo is 4,266mm long, 1,494mm tall and 1,757mm wide. Remarkably similar, right?
The Taigo does get a bigger boot, though, with 351 litres rising to 440 litres – that’s 15 litres smaller than the T-Cross and five litres smaller than the T-Roc, while being largely on par with rivals including the Ford Puma, Nissan Juke and Renault Captur – full details can be found on the interior tab.
Its selling point, however, is really its coupe-style image, and you’ll likely have already made your own mind up on the looks. It’s hardly the most eye-catching thing in the sector and the brash full width rear lightbar splits opinion. Still, it’s less polarising than something like a Ford Puma, if easily forgettable. Upper trim levels get chunky black plastic cladding all along the sills and silver roof rails for a bit more of a ‘lifestyle’ look, if that’s what you’re into.
WHAT POWERTRAINS CAN I HAVE?
The Taigo is petrol-only, with your options being a 1.0-litre turbo three-cylinder with 94bhp or 108bhp, plus a 1.5-litre turbo four-cylinder with 148bhp. You can have manual or auto gearboxes, but front-wheel drive is standard and VW has already ruled out a GTI or R performance variant.
We’ve tried the 94bhp and 108bhp engines so far, and found neither to be particularly refined. Progress was especially pedestrian with the lesser-powered engine, which was comfortable enough around town, but felt out of its comfort zone at higher speeds. Don’t look below the higher-powered engine, we’d wager.
Still, the ride was smooth enough, particularly on the entry-level 16-inch alloys, absorbing bumps and potholes easily. Handled surprisingly well around corners, too, staying level and composed. Full details on the driving tab.
HOW DO I ACTUALLY SAY THE NAME?
Great question, and one which is still valid when chatting about the Touareg almost two decades after it was launched. Taigo is pronounced tie-go.
Our choice from the range
What's the verdict?
People seem coupe-crossover obsessed these days, so it will come as a surprise to absolutely no one that Volkswagen has attempted to jump on the bandwagon with the Taigo. But the badge engineering feels a little obvious and results in the Taigo coming across as a very half-hearted effort. Quite frankly, we’d expect more.
VW expects it to sell based on its looks but there are more eye-catching options out there, while the interior feels a little cheap and uninspired, too. And while the driving experience will be familiar to anyone that’s coming from a T-Cross or a Polo, it’s not on the same level as something like the Ford Puma. We know where we’d rather spend our money.