Review: Volkswagen Taigo 1.0 TSI R-Line
Johannesburg - You might be wondering why Volkswagen saw the need to add yet another SUV to its line-up, but after spending a week with the new Taigo I’m starting to question whether it even warrants that label. And that might actually be a good thing.
Many people choose SUVs because they want to tower above traffic, which in reality they don’t end up doing because just about everyone else has an SUV or bakkie these days.
The new Volkswagen Taigo felt somewhat different from the first time I stepped into the driver’s seat. It’s more low-slung than the pictures led me to believe and you feel like you’re sinking into this car rather than sitting on top of it.
Volkswagen refers to the Taigo as a ‘Coupe SUV’ and I’m starting to see the logic behind that. The Taigo’s ground clearance of 168mm is quite low for a crossover and its overall height of 1515mm puts it halfway between the Polo (1450) and T-Cross (1584).
It’s a stylish vehicle in our book, chunky without being too tall, and with a fastback profile that lends some coupe flavour to the rear section.
The Taigo R-Line that we tested gains a sportier bumper design as well as Matrix LED headlights, 17-inch Valencia alloy wheels, stainless steel pedals and black interior headliner.
The Taigo shares its basic interior design with the Polo, and as a result it’s highly digitised.
From the mid-range Taigo Style model upwards, you get the 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit Pro instrument cluster and 8.0-inch Composition Media infotainment system as standard, and you can optionally add the Discover Media system which comes with navigation, voice control, Wireless App-Connect and Inductive Charging.
But how practical is the Volkswagen Taigo?
I found it easy to get comfortable behind the wheel and although I didn’t have too much trouble slotting behind my driving position when stepping into the back, there wasn’t much leg-stretching space available.
The boot is pretty spacious by segment standards, swallowing 440 litres of luggage, and there’s a good balance between vertical and horizontal loading space. It should be just fine for your year-end holiday.
What’s the Taigo like to drive?
Speaking of the open road, all Volkswagen Taigo models are powered by the 85kW, 200Nm version of the familiar 1.0-litre TSI turbopetrol engine, which is paired exclusively with a seven-speed DSG gearbox.
It feels really refined for a three-cylinder engine, with no unwanted vibrations and effortlessly smooth power delivery. It’s no ball of fire, but it certainly feels brisk and responsive, while the dual-clutch gearbox does its job as quickly and smoothly as you could expect at this level.
At the end of the test period the long-term fuel consumption readout showed 8.7 litres per 100km, but this included a lot of urban driving. During a short highway stint with a reset trip it crept as low as 5.6 l/100km.
Not only is this car easy to drive but it’s also more satisfying than your average ‘SUV’. Because it’s not too tall it also handles better than your average pavement hopper.
Our test unit also provided a comfortable ride quality on all surfaces we subjected it to, and although the vehicle was not designed for proper bundu bashing, it did handle the dirt road we took it on with ease.
If you want to tower above traffic the Volkswagen Taigo is probably not the kind of SUV that you’re looking for, but if what you seek is a stylish crossover that drives like a car then it’s more than likely going to be up your alley.
It’s not cheap, with prices (in June 2022) ranging from R429 900 to R486 000, but it’s within the ballpark for modern compact SUVs.