Arguably Volkswagen India’s most important model for our market going forward, the upcoming Volkswagen Taigun was showcased in near-production form at Auto Expo 2020. Before the midsize SUV concept was revealed prior to the motor show, it went under the codename Volkswagen A0 IN (hinting at its platform), and then was officially dubbed the Taigun. Now, that name is familiar to those who’ve been following the automobile industry – at the 2014 Auto Expo, Volkswagen had showcased a compact SUV concept with the same name. However, it never went into production, since it was considered unfeasible at the time.
With this new Taigun, VW hopes to break into the competitive midsize SUV segment; and to do so, the brand has come up with what seems to be a very competitive product. Here’s everything we know about the Taigun SUV.
How big is the Volkswagen Taigun?
The Taigun for India is VW’s first product that will be based on its new India-specific MQB A0 IN platform. Interestingly, this platform will also underpin the next-gen Volkswagen Vento, along with SUVs and sedans from sister brand Skoda – namely the production-spec Skoda Vision IN SUV and the next-gen Rapid sedan. Measuring 4.2m in length, the Volkswagen Taigun is slightly smaller than the Kia Seltos and the second-gen Hyundai Creta, though the VW’s 2,651mm-long wheelbase is slightly more than these midsize SUV rivals. Ground clearance for the model is 205mm.
The following bit can be confusing so it may help to pay close attention. The Volkswagen T-Cross sold in international markets is a close cousin to the India-bound Taigun. There are three versions of the SUV that are on sale in different markets. The T-Cross for all those markets sits on VW’s MQB A0 platform (notice the lack of ‘IN’). However, the Euro-spec model has a 100mm shorter wheelbase than the models on sale in China and some Latin American countries. Cosmetic changes and country-specific engine options are the only way to differentiate between the China-spec T-Cross and its Latin American counterpart.
The Volkswagen Taigun is more closely linked to the T-Cross sold in China and Latin America. Its longer wheelbase is due to more focus on rear-seat comfort on the India-spec SUV. First impressions of the rear seat indicate that there’s enough legroom for even tall occupants, though the narrow cabin means that seating three abreast might be a squeeze.
Based on its size, the VW Taigun will contend in the lower half of the midsize SUV segment against the likes of the aforementioned Korean SUVs, the Renault Captur and Nissan Kicks. SUVs such as the MG Hector and Tata Harrier sit on the higher side of the segment, in terms of price and size.
What will the production-spec Volkswagen Taigun look like?
While the Volkswagen-labelled Taigun showcased at Auto Expo 2020 a concept, the model is so near production that we expect very few changes in its design and equipment when it goes on sale. Those who keep track of Volkswagen SUV portfolio may mistake the Taigun for the larger and more expensive Tiguan SUV. A closer look, however, reveals that Volkswagen accounted for Indian tastes by using liberal amounts of chrome on the grille and bumpers. The bonnet’s more angular too. Coming to the rear, the LED light bar (that links the LED tail lights) adds distinction. Besides the concept-like large alloys, the showcased model will be what we’ll get. In a nutshell, the Taigun is unmistakably Volkswagen in design, with its understated, yet attractive, styling.
How well-equipped and safe will the Volkswagen Taigun be?
Like every Volkswagen that has gone on sale in India, the Taigun’s cabin boasts a high level of fit and finish. The general layout is neat and uncluttered, and all the switchgear and buttons feel built to last. The multi-layer dashboard has the 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system mounted high – it’s at the same height as the full-digital instrument cluster. Connected car tech will definitely be on offer, as will creature comforts like a sunroof and automatic climate control.
While VW has not revealed the production-spec Taigun’s safety kit yet, top-spec variants are expected to get more than two airbags, ABS with EBD, electronic stability control, traction control, rear parking sensors, a parking camera, and more. It’s worth noting that the Volkswagen T-Cross for Latin American markets (a very close relative to the Taigun) was awarded a 5-star safety rating from Latin NCAP in its crash tests.
Which engines will be on offer with the Volkswagen Taigun?
VW’s eschewing diesel engines for now across its entire line-up in India. Hence, the Taigun will be a petrol-only model, though the German carmaker is evaluating offering a factory-fit CNG option. The lack of a diesel may be a sore point for some – all its rivals do get a diesel engine – though the petrol engine on offer may be segment-leading in some aspects. The Taigun is expected to get a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine from Volkswagen’s TSI family. In international markets, this tech-laden unit comes with cylinder deactivation tech to aid fuel efficiency – if this does come to India it may even set the benchmark for fuel economy in its segment. While all-wheel drive is unlikely to be offered in order to keep prices in check, a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox will be an option to send power to the front wheels.
How will the Volkswagen Taigun be priced compared to rivals?
Volkswagen’s penchant for positioning its cars on the higher side of a segment is not expected to carry over to the production-spec Taigun. Under its India 2.0 plan, the VW Group has begun a widespread cost-rationalisation program and is focused on heavy localisation of parts. This should ensure that the SUV is priced competitively to the Kia Seltos (Rs 9.89-17.34 lakh^), the current-gen Hyundai Creta (Rs 9.99-15.72 lakh*), Nissan Kicks (Rs 9.55-13.69 lakh^) and the Renault Captur (Rs 9.50-12.99 lakh*) in the Indian market.
It’ll be very interesting to see how Volkswagen India will price the SUV when it launches in the second half of 2021. It’ll be a bit of a wait, but the Volkswagen Taigun might be worth it.
*Prices are ex-showroom, Delhi.
^Prices are ex-showroom, pan-India.
Volkswagen Taigun concept image gallery
Volkswagen Taigun first look video