Volkswagen is now selling six SUVs in Mzansi. They are – in order of size – T-Cross, Taigo, T-Roc, Tiguan, Tiguan Allspace and Touareg. Yes they do differentiate with Tiguan and Allspace. So you spotted the Taigo on that list? That is the latest baby, which slots in between T-Cross and T-Roc in terms of positioning. Also, the Taigo is a coupe SUV, a first for the Volkswagen brand.

There is a story about the origin of the word Taigo, but I won’t go into detail. Suffice to say it is inspired by the tiger animal and a forest named Taiga. Notice that all the brand’s SUVs are named to start with a T and that is no coincidence. Measuring some 4.27 metres long, 1.7m wide and 1.5m tall, Taigo is really the same size as the T-Cross and T-Roc. The only real difference is the ride height and a little bit more boot space at 440 litres with the rear seats up. There are three trim levels; Life, Style and R-Line.

Volkswagen has put some emotion into the design of the Taigo. As previously mentioned, it is a coupe SUV, meaning it is designed to look sleek, especially at the rear end with a sloping roofline. Up front we see large LED headlights (standard across the range), an LED bar running across the upper grille and sharp curves. On the side the Taigo sees either 16, 17 or 18-inch wheels of differing designs. These are housed within wheel arches with protective black cladding. Another light bar hugs the rear boot lid, cutting through the VW logo.

Inside we see familiar features that are usually seen inside the T-Cross and T-Roc, including the Digital Cockpit Pro, air conditioning, folding mirrors, Park Distance Control (reverse camera in some models), and an optional panoramic sunroof. The cars are not offered with the option of leather seats, but seat-heating is offered regardless.

Powering the Taigo is a single powertrain for the South African market, consisting of a 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine producing 85kW at 5 000rpm, and peak torque of 200Nm between 2 000rpm and 3 500rpm. The transmission fitted is a 7-speed DSG, and there is no option of a manual.

The Taigo drives well and feels comfortable. Even though these power figures look relatively low, the performance is solid. There is little turbo lag on take-off, while on the go the DSG ‘box is smooth and appears efficient. There is almost no jerking when changing gears, which is appreciated. The cabin is relatively quiet and provides lots of good visibility from all angles.

Safety features include a range of systems like Side Assist, Travel Assist, Lane Assist, Ambient Lighting and Emergency Brake Assist among others.

From my short stint with the new Volkswagen Taigo I can foresee VW SA selling a large number of units every month. For the rest of the year they plan to sell about 2 000, while going forward a yearly consignment of 5 000 or so would be satisfying for the company.

Volkswagen Taigo Prices

Life – R429 900

Style – R464 100

R-Line – R486 000

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