Volkswagen has become the latest carmaker to join the mini-SUV fray. The manufacturer showcased a new concept called the Taigun at the Sao Paolo motor show in Brazil. The concept hints strongly at a production model set to rival the Ford EcoSport. The production Taigun will serve as the basis for a whole new series of similar-sized SUVs from Audi, Seat and Skoda.
Ulrich Hackenberg, VW’s R&D chief, told Autocar that the Taigun would be sold worldwide. VW design chief Klaus Bischoff describes the Taigun’s appearance as “confident, logical and clean”. It is more rugged and technical in style than the Tiguan and previews VW’s future SUV face. The interior, says Bischoff, has been inspired by the latest smart phones. Its clean, minimalist looks aim for the sort of visual clarity and simplicity of operation associated with early workhorse off-roaders.
The Taigun is based on a stretched version of VW’s small car the Up’s, NSF (New Small Family) platform. This SUV won’t offer four-wheel drive as the NSF platform supports only front-wheel drive, but it’s 319mm longer, 83mm wider and 81mm taller than the Up. The concept shares the Up GT’s turbocharged 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engine with 108bhp and 17.8kgm, which is mated to a six-speed manual gearbox.
If VW India gets the go ahead to produce the Taigun, it could be stretched even further, according to Hackenberg. “We could stretch the Taigun closer to the four-metre mark (the cut-off point for lower excise duty) and further increase the wheelbase. This will offer more interior space, especially rear legroom which is important for Indian customers,” he added, speaking exclusively to Autocar India.
However, the launch of the Taigun hinges on the feasibility of producing more products (which includes the Up hatch and a possible saloon and MPV) off the NSF platform as otherwise, the economies of scale wouldn’t be large enough to make it cost competitive. VW has been struggling to achieve cost targets and for now, plans to produce the Up and its derivatives have been put on hold. In such a scenario, it is unlikely that the production version of the Taigun will come to India. But considering it seems so perfect for the market here, one never knows.
More photos here
Issue: 211 | Autocar India: March 2017
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