Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring


Sexy VW Taigo for those who are too cool for school

If T-Cross is too mommy wagon for you, Volkswagen's coupe-styled alternative is the answer.


It’s easy to lose your way in Volkswagen’s T SUV family. Just when you think you’ve got them all figured out, Wolfsburg seems to add another.

A family tree that started with the Touareg back in 2005 has grown to six with the addition of the Taigo last month.

The VW Taigo – pronounced “tie-go” – slots in between its compact SUV siblings the T-Cross and T-Roc. While it is highly likely there might be some who still hasn’t even figured out the position of the T-Cross and T-Roc, starting off with a quick refresher is in order.

The pecking order starts with the T-Cross, moves on the Taigo, then the T-Roc, followed by the Tiguan, the seven-seater Tiguan Allspace and finishes with the family’s figurehead, the big and luxurious Touareg.

What VW has done with the addition of the Taigo is exactly what premium carmakers have been doing for a while.

The German carmaker has given buyers a sportier and coupe-styled alternative to a more traditional SUV style, in this case the T-Cross, it shares a platform with.

BMW started this trend with back in 2008 with the X6 that became the coupe-styled alternative to the traditional SUV-styled X5. Since then, premium carmakers flocked into this space like seagulls dive-bombing the sardine run.

VW Taigo R-Line
What you get when you send a T-Cross to the gym.

Today Porsche offers a Cayenne Coupe alongside a Cayenne, Mercedes a GLE Coupe and GLC Coupe alongside the GLE and GLC, BMW the X4 and X6 alongside the X3 and X5, and Audi a Q3 Sportback and Q5 Sportback alongside the Q3 and Q5.

The birth of the VW Taigo

But all of these are premium products out of reach of the majority of car buyers. Taken its heritage in account of making a people’s car accessible to the masses in the form of the Beetle some seven decades ago, Volkswagen was the perfect candidate to offer a more affordable coupe-styled SUV. And as per usual, it will only be a matter of time before rivals latch on.

Some will argue that R486 000 for the VW Taigo line-up’s flagship derivative, the R-Line, is not all that affordable.

Takeing its position into account not only in the VW T SUV family, but also in the broader scheme of things, the price is very much par for the course. And the current absence lack of direct rivals also adds a share of exclusivity.

ALSO READ: VW Taigo perfect for buyers who think traditional SUVs are too boxy

Buying a car is an emotional decision as much as it is a financial one. Because it’s not a case of one size fits all when it comes to human personalities and preferences is exactly the reason a coupe-styled SUV exists at all.

Heart over head

There will be a fair share of more expressive car buyers the T-Cross just won’t appeal to. They’ll find it too conventional. Too boxy. Too boring if you will.

For those, Volkswagen have created a sportier option in the VW Taigo. It’s like the German carmaker has sent the T-Cross to the gym and is now parading around its new sexy body.

The Taigo’s design is highlighted by its sloping roofline, forward sloping C-pillars, long window line surrounded by black, large wheels and offset wheel arch cladding.

It features short overhangs, striking new bumper designs and is flatter than the T-Cross to create a more dynamic appearance.

VW Taigo R-Line
Striking accents gives the VW Taigo R-Line’s cabin added appeal.

Highly recommended in our opinion is the optional Black Styling Package which our recent test unit had fitted.

It is like the Taigo made built for this attractive finish which consists of exterior mirror caps, radiator grille and tailpipe trim finished in black, darkened side and rear windows and black 18-inch Misano alloy wheels.

Inside the VW Taigo R-Line’s expressive styling continues with seats upholstered in Karoso fabric in ArtVelours with complementing Dark Grey Anodised Matt decor. Stainless steel pedals add to the striking looks.

Powering the VW Taigo

Powering the entire VW Taigo line-up, which also includes a Life and a Style derivative, is VW’s familiar three-cylinder, 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine that produces 85 kW of power and 200 Nm of torque. It is mated to seven-speed DSG transmission with the power going to the front wheels.

We have thoroughly enjoyed this powertrain combination before in both the T-Cross and Polo and it was no exception in the Taigo.

Besides heaps of driving pleasure that also means that the initial turbo lag when pulling away can be as frustrating as in its siblings.

VW Taigo R-Line
IQ.LIGHT LED matrix headlights are standard on the VW Taigo R-Line.

The mill has more than enough pull than most city dwellers will ever need, while at the same time can offer good economy.

We are sure VW’s claim that it will only sip 5.4 litres for every 100 km is within reach if you try and drive economically.

We could only manage 8.2 L/100 km over 518 km, but have to shamelessly admit that we left it in Sport \ Mode most of the time and went about things rather enthusiastically.

Conclusion

The biggest drawback with the VW Taigo is that you’ll have to fork out a whole lot more than the sticker price to have all the bells and whistles fitted.

Plenty of creature comforts, top-notch safety systems, panoramic sunroof and a better sound system are all optional extras that adds to the total. But then again, that’s no different from other VW products.

The VW Taigo definitely achieves what it sets off to do, especially in R-Line guise clad with the optional Black Styling Package.

If the T-Cross is too mommy wagon for your liking, this is for you. You will either get great satisfaction from owning one, or envy/admire it from a distance.

For more information on the VW Taigo, visit the manufacturer’s website.

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