After the global unveiling of the Skoda Kushaq earlier this month, Volkswagen has now taken the wraps off its cousin - the Taigun compact SUV. And at first glance, it looks almost identical to the close-to-production concept that was showcased at the 2020 Auto Expo. The Volkswagen Taigun is the second product to be based on VW Group's MQB-A0-IN platform, the first of course being the Skoda Kushaq. Although it may look very similar to the Volkswagen T-Cross sold abroad, the Taigun has been specifically developed for India with up to 95% of localization. Let's take a look at it in a little more detail.
Volkswagen Taigun - Exterior Design
As mentioned already, The Volkswagen Taigun looks very similar to the T-Cross sold abroad and more specifically to the one sold in China. The India-spec model, just like the China-spec model, gets a lot more bling to suit local taste when compared to the European-spec model. It has a boxy design with rectangular design elements. While most body panels feature clean and mature lines typical to Volkswagen, the front and rear bumpers make the SUV stand out with a healthy dose of chrome and black body cladding.
The front fascia of the SUV gets twin-pod LED headlights with LED DRLs. The grille gets three chrome slats with the new VW badge sitting in between. The lower air dam of the SUV looks quite aggressive and big with mesh styling. It also employs a faux skid plate below the air dam. Apart from the chrome, the rest of the design is more understated rather than stand out. What we are most pleased to see is that Volkswagen has retained the LED light bar connecting the tail lamps at the rear. In fact, it is from the rear that the Taigun looks the best. Incidentally, in profile, it looks very similar to the Kushaq as both models share the same doors and windows.
The only differences from the concept are that the 19-inch wheels have been toned down to 17-inchers with 205/55 section tires. The gloss black body cladding from the concept has been swapped for regular black plastic cladding. The ORVMs too are finished in body color instead of black color from the concept. Volkswagen has also done away with the honeycomb mesh decal on the C-pillar.
Although Volkswagen has not officially revealed the dimensions of the Taigun yet, being based on the same platform, the Taigun should be identical to the Kushaq in terms of dimensions. That means it will measure about 4.2 meters in length and will have a 2.6 meter wheelbase. It won’t be the largest in its segment but it will have the longest wheelbase, along with the Kushaq. It must be noted that Volkswagen has only unveiled the top-spec GT trim of the Taigun. Standard variants could be a little more understated.
Volkswagen Taigun - Interior Design
Sadly, Volkswagen has only previewed the exterior design of the Taigun as of now. However, what we do know is that the design of the interior will be very similar to what was seen in the concept. In fact, the Taigun shares much of the dashboard layout and overall design with the rest of its global sub-compact siblings, including the not-for-India VW Polo Mk6. Compared to the Kushaq, the design takes a more understated approach and in typical Volkswagen fashion, the ergonomics are absolutely on point.
What has changed from the concept are the several color coordinated bits on the dashboard. The production-spec model will come with a more neutral grey shade for the inserts on the dashboard. It also gets a new steering wheel with a 2D VW logo. Other bits such as the 10-inch infotainment screen and the touch-based screen for the HVAC controls will be directly lifted from the Skoda Kushaq. Incidentally, the Taigun concept at the Auto Expo came with physical buttons and dials for the HVAC controls.
Fit and finish and quality of materials will be of premium standards, as is expected from the brand. There are nicely textured and soft touch materials where it matters, though in the lower regions of the cabin you can spot some hard plastic bits. Now the Taigun is just as spacious on the inside as the Kushaq, which is to say there's generous legroom and head room. However, being on the narrower side, fitting three adults at the rear might be bit of a squeeze.
Volkswagen Taigun - Equipment and Features
As you'd expect, the Taigun comes plenty well loaded with features. Some of the highlights include a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system, connected car tech, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, ventilated front seats, a 6-speaker sound system, a wireless phone charger, and automatic climate control. The infotainment system has crisp, high-definition graphics and is expected to set new standards for ease of use.
What sets the Taigun quite apart from the Kushaq is that it comes with a full-digital instrument panel. This ‘virtual cockpit’, which is highly configurable, will certainly be used by VW as a key point of differentiation from the Kushaq. It also makes the Kushaq's analog dials seem dreadfully out of date. However, what was a disappointment on the Kushaq continues with the Taigun, and that's the lack of a panoramic sunroof. Just like the Kushaq, the Taigun also gets a single-pane sunroof.
Safety is covered by up to six airbags, ABS with EBD, hill hold assist, parking sensors, and a rear-view camera. Dual airbags and electronic stability control are standard across the range. It also gets tyre pressure deflation warning, child seat mounts and even the middle passenger at the rear gets a three-point safety belt and his own head restraint.
Volkswagen Taigun - Engine Options
Under the hood, the Volkswagen Taigun is identical to the Skoda Kushaq. That means VW Group's 1.0-litre TSI turbo petrol engine will be the mainstay on the Taigun and it produces 115PS of power and 175Nm of torque. This engine will come mated to either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed torque converter automatic transmission.
Volkswagen will also be offering a larger 1.5-litre TSI turbo petrol engine that will come mated to a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual. This engine produces 150PS and 250Nm of peak torque. This is the same engine that does duty on the Skoda Karoq and the VW T-Roc. The 1.5-litre TSI engine also comes with cylinder deactivation tech, which shuts down two cylinders to maximise fuel efficiency under a light load. Both of these engines are now being locally manufactured in India. There will however be no diesel engine on offer. The top-spec GT trim will solely be offered with the 1.5L TSI engine and DSG gearbox.
Volkswagen Taigun - Expected Price and Rivals
Being based on the MQB-A0-IN platform, the Volkswagen Taigun's arch rival is its own sibling - the Skoda Kushaq. This European-duo have their competition cut out against the Korean-duo of the Kia Seltos and the Hyundai Creta. Due to heavy localization and sharing of essential components with other models, Volkswagen should be able to position the Taigun very aggressively in the market. We expect the prices to range between INR 10-16 lakh (ex-showroom). The Taigun is expected to hit the market by August 2021, which is when prices will be announced.