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First drive: 2022 Volkswagen Taigo. Image by Volkswagen.

First drive: 2022 Volkswagen Taigo
Coupe version of the T-Cross is surprisingly practical.

   



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2022 Volkswagen Taigo

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

The coupe-SUV craze is here to stay, and itís trickling down manufacturersí ranges. At first, it only seemed to be the luxury brandsí bigger models that received the cut-down treatment, but now itís an industry-wide phenomenon. Among the latest arrivals is the VW Taigo, a coupe-ish version of the little T-Cross SUV. But does skimming a bit of bodywork off the back end really add interest to a small VW crossover?

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Volkswagen Taigo Style 1.0 TSI 110 DSG
Pricing: Taigo from £23,155, Style from £26,665 (£29,630 as tested)
Engine: 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol
Transmission: seven-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Body style: five-door, five-seat SUV
CO2 emissions: 134g/km
Combined economy: 47.8mpg
Top speed: 119mph
0-62mph: 10.9 seconds
Power: 110hp
Torque: 200Nm
Boot space: 440 litres

What's this?

In the most simple terms, this is just a coupe version of the T-Cross thatís stood at the foot of the VW SUV range for some time now. Which also means itís essentially an overgrown Volkswagen Polo. However you like to think of it, itís an SUV with a sloping rear window, positioned between the T-Cross and T-Roc in the VW line-up.

Prices start from £23,155 (never mind that our mid-range test car came in at £29,630), and that makes the Taigo just over £1,000 more expensive than the T-Cross with which it shares so much. For that money, you get a slightly more rakish rear end, but you lose 15 litres of boot space. And while that might sound dramatic, the Taigoís 440-litre boot is still bigger than that of the Golf, so practicality isnít as bad as you might think.

Apart from the slanted rear end, the Taigo looks almost identical to the T-Cross, with the same front grille, same headlights and same raised stance. Seen head-on, itís hard to tell the two cars apart. Only when you go around to the rear are the differences immediately apparent, with the Taigo getting a very different boot. Normally, coupe-SUVs look much sportier than the more upright models that spawned them, but if weíre being brutally honest, the Taigo just feels a bit forgettable.

The interior is a bit forgettable, too, but thereís nothing terribly wrong with it. Mainly because itís taken straight from the latest-generation Polo. Itís quite solid and reasonably modern, but some hard plastics are surefire evidence of cost-cutting Ė something thatís quite common in small cars. Itís quite dull, too, despite the touchscreen infotainment system and the digital instrument cluster, but with no panoramic roof to let the light in, the Taigoís interior feels a bit dark.

Unsurprisingly, VW has tried to ram the Taigo with technology, and even entry-level Life models come with a digital instrument display. Itís a great system, with really clear displays and a selection of configurations to choose from. The touchscreen is slightly less impressive, thanks to some confusing menus, but itís still relatively easy to use and it does the job. Itís certainly much better than the more modern VW systems.

But not all the technology inside the Taigo is so successful. VW has a penchant for touch-sensitive climate control switchgear, and frankly it needs to stop. Adjusting the temperature should be an easy task Ė and it is in equivalent Audi products Ė but the touch-sensitive controls canít decide whether theyíre buttons or sliders, and theyíre hideously distracting, not to mention frustrating. Itís time VW went back to the drawing board on that one.

Having said that, there isnít an awful lot more to complain about in the Taigo cabin. The seats are excellent, thereís a sensible amount of rear space and although the plastics arenít all brilliant, theyíre well screwed together. Better still, thereís lots of standard equipment and our mid-range test car was amply kitted out.

How does it drive?

Because so much of the Taigoís running gear is taken from the T-Cross, itís no surprise to find the two cars drive very similarly. Yes, the Taigo has a slightly different rear end, but it doesnít make a vast amount of difference when youíre behind the wheel.

Our test car came with the 110hp 1.0-litre engine and a seven-speed automatic gearbox, which sounds like a relatively appealing combination. But as a pairing, the tiny three-cylinder motor and twin-clutch automatic gearbox donít really work together. The car seems to bog down when pulling out of junctions as the gearbox tries to sort itself out, and the result is a frustrating and unnecessary delay.

But while the engine is undoubtedly better suited to a manual gearbox, the auto isnít all bad. Once itís up to speed, the transmission shifts smoothly and goes about its business with minimum fuss, allowing the car to make perfectly adequate progress. With a 0-62mph time of 10.9 seconds itís hardly rapid, but it doesnít feel dangerously slow when youíre joining a motorway, for example.

More importantly, economy is reasonable, and the automatic Taigo achieves almost 50mpg on the official fuel consumption test. But again, the manual option is even better, hitting 51.4mpg and cutting CO2 emissions by 10g/km. Or you could have the 1.5-litre petrol, which has 150hp and might be better suited to its automatic gearbox, but certainly isnít much thirstier or more polluting than the 1.0-litre engine.

But the choice of engine or gearbox shouldnít have much impact on the ride, which initially feels better than it really is. At low speeds, the Taigo soaks up imperfections in the road quite well, taking all the rough edges off the potholes, but at motorway speeds it seems to find bumps in stretches of asphalt that would ordinarily be as smooth as silk. At least it feels planted, with no suggestion that the bumps are upsetting the wheels too badly. And itís stable, with limited body roll for what is quite a tall car.

In that, itís very similar to the T-Cross, and the handling is also much the same. The steering is too light and the suspension too soft to have masses of fun, but the car feels manoeuvrable and predictable, which makes it easy to drive at more or less any speed. Itís particularly good around town, with decent visibility and a sensible turning circle, although again, it isnít noticeably better than the T-Cross.

Nor does it have any more off-road capability. No version of the Taigo is available with all-wheel drive, and thereís no clever traction control systems designed for crossing tough terrain. There is some ground clearance, however, which makes the Taigo slightly more capable than a Polo, and some decent winter tyres should make it relatively stable in snowy weather.

Verdict

Automatic gearbox aside, the Taigo is easy to drive and easy to live with, which is exactly what customers want. But you can have all that from the T-Cross Ė and indeed the Polo, for that matter Ė so the only thing setting the Taigo apart is its styling. And while weíd never call it ugly, it isnít especially distinctive. As a result, the Taigo never really justifies the premium you pay over the T-Cross.


3.5 3.5 4 3.5 3.5 Exterior Design

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Ambience

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Comfort

3 3 3 3 3 Driving Dynamics

3 3 3 3 3 Powertrain


James Fossdyke - 14 Jun 2022



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Volkswagen Taigo Style 1.0 TSI 110 DSG. Image by Volkswagen.Volkswagen Taigo Style 1.0 TSI 110 DSG. Image by Volkswagen.Volkswagen Taigo Style 1.0 TSI 110 DSG. Image by Volkswagen.Volkswagen Taigo Style 1.0 TSI 110 DSG. Image by Volkswagen.Volkswagen Taigo Style 1.0 TSI 110 DSG. Image by Volkswagen.

Volkswagen Taigo Style 1.0 TSI 110 DSG. Image by Volkswagen.Volkswagen Taigo Style 1.0 TSI 110 DSG. Image by Volkswagen.Volkswagen Taigo Style 1.0 TSI 110 DSG. Image by Volkswagen.Volkswagen Taigo Style 1.0 TSI 110 DSG. Image by Volkswagen.







 

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