The Taigun looks like a raised hatchback from certain angles, and a crossover SUV from others. In terms of ride and handling, though, it’s the best in class.
It’s tough to beat the Koreans in the Rs 10-20 lakh SUV space. In the six months of January-June 2021, Hyundai Creta and Kia Seltos together have sold more than 1 lakh units. Volkswagen knows this, and that’s why instead of attempting to directly take on these SUVs, it wants to create a niche for itself in this space.
It has readied the Taigun, and we just drove it.
What is the Taigun?
It’s the second vehicle unveiled under Volkswagen Group’s India 2.0 project (announced in 2018); the first was Skoda Kushaq (launched recently). The SUV is new, but the name isn’t. At the 2014 Auto Expo, the Taigun concept was showcased as a sub-4-metre compact SUV, but that never got developed.
Is it as big as the Creta?
No, it’s marginally shorter in length (7.5 cm shorter). Also, while both the Creta and the Seltos have a bigger presence on the road, the Taigun, from certain angles, looks like a raised hatchback meets an SUV. The cabin, though, is spacious and superlative. In fact, amongst all Rs 10-20 lakh SUVs, the cabin of the Taigun appears the most premium as far as build quality is concerned. There are some features missing, though. Like the manual gearbox variants don’t have cruise control. Also, driver’s seat doesn’t get electric adjustment and there is no panoramic sunroof (I am not rooting for these, but the competition offers such features).
Which engines power it?
There is no diesel engine option, but two petrol engines: 1.0-litre (115 PS) and 1.5-litre (150 PS). While both engines get a 6-speed manual gearbox, the 1.0-litre unit has a 6-speed automatic option and the 1.5-litre has the 7-speed DSG option.
How does it drive?
I drove the 1.5-litre unit, and in terms of sheer driving pleasure—apologies for using someone else’s slogan—the Taigun is a class apart. Ride and handling is lovely; minimal tyre or engine noise enters the cabin, and even on sharp turns the Taigun doesn’t appear to lose its line. Seats have such a design that you may not feel uncomfortable even on long drives. And be it a broken stretch of road or loose gravel, the ride doesn’t turn rough.
How much will it cost?
Under the skin the Taigun and the Kushaq aren’t too different (the latter is priced Rs 10.5 lakh to Rs 17.6 lakh, ex-showroom). But considering that the former feels more premium, expect it to be priced marginally more (let’s say, Rs 11 lakh to Rs 18 lakh). At these prices, the Taigun may appear a bit too expensive to too many potential buyers in this class. Add to the fact that Mahindra has announced prices of its much bigger SUV, the XUV700, at Rs 12-15 lakh onwards, and that means VW Group India may have to do a price rethink if it wants to grab a big pie in the Rs 10-20 lakh SUV segment. But the Taigun proves one thing, i.e. after the Ameo debacle, Volkswagen seems to have gotten a car right for India.