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Volkswagen Taigo R-Line Driven – Double Apex

VW SA expanded its SUV range a few weeks ago with the addition of the Taigo. We recently got our hands on the Taigo R-Line to bring you this review

The sloped back SUV craze, it seems, is here to stay. What started with, arguably, the BMW X6 has spread to many other brands. The European automakers, in particular, have embraced the trend. You can get a coupe-esque SUV from Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Volvo and, most recently, Volkswagen. The Taigo is the latest addition to VW’s flourishing SUV portfolio. The current range includes the T-Cross, T-Roc, Tiguan, Tiguan Allspace and the Touareg. And, of course, the subject of this review, the Taigo.

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New Appearance

The Taigo is shares its platform with other A0 siblings from VW. More specifically, these are the current Polo hatchback and the T-Cross SUV. It is the latter that the Taigo is most closely related to. The SUV siblings share a platform but their outward appearances are quite distinctive.

Click here to read our T-Cross review.

The Taigo has a characteristic sloped-back roofline. The longer roof, along with a fractionally longer wheelbase gives it the impression of being slightly lower and wider. Shorter overhangs also give it a slightly more athletic stance. However, the Taigo still offers almost 140 mm of ground clearance for when you need to attack a pavement kerb.

In Taigo R-Line spec there are also larger, 17-inch alloys. In addition there are IQ.Light LED matrix headlights fitted as standard. The range-leading Tiago’s bumpers have a unique R-Line design. The front item has high-gloss black cross and longitudinal bars.

New-age Interior

The Taigo has, what VW calls, a ‘digitalised’ interior. In essence this refers to the twin digital displays. The one ahead of the driver is referred to as Digital Cockpit Pro. A new generation infotainment system is sited in the middle of the facia. The touchscreen unit measure eight inches across and features all the modern connectivity options. An extension to the system is a pair of USB-C ports and an inductive mobile phone charger just ahead of the gear lever.

The Taigo R-Line also has a few distinguishing features over other derivatives. These include a black headliner, stainless steel pedals, privacy glass for rear side windows and rear windows. Unfortunately the Taigo also has the same capacitive slider controls for the dual-zone climate control. We found the same controls quite finicky to use in the Mk8 Golf GTI when we had one on review (read more here).

On the Go

There is only one powertrain option in the VW Taigo family. It is the same engine that is used in the Polo and T-Cross models. The 1,0-litre engine has three cylinders and is turbocharged. VW quotes peak power of 85 kW and a healthy 200 N.m of torque. In all derivatives the engine sends its power to the front wheels through a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission.

The unit isn’t the most eager on the move, but it does deliver considering its size. There is enough power to maintain proper motorway speeds, although you need a good helping of the loud pedal to make fast overtakes. We found that the transmission can be a bit reluctant to drop down more than one gear to make a safe pass. However, if you are in a real hurry you can take over control using the paddles on the back side of the steering wheel rim.

We found the ride quality of the Taigo R-Line to be quite agreeable. It handles most road imperfections with ease. We imagine that other derivatives, with smaller alloys, will be even more comfortable. This is no hot hatch, but there is good resistance to body lean when cornering.

Summary

The coupe-like SUV is an oddity that few would have considered necessary a few years ago. Surely SUVs are all about practicality, but more often than not a sloped roofline eats into the obvious advantages of a squared-off roofline.

However, the SUV buying trend is here to stay so automakers have to find new ways of making them attractive. The Taigo R-Line has done just that, given the squared-off T-Cross more appeal. We expect the Taigo to be as popular, if not moreso, than its sibling.

Model: Taigo R-Line

Price: R486 000

Engine: 1,0-litre inline three, turbocharged

Transmission: seven-speed dual-clutch, FWD

Max power: 85 kW

Max torque: 200 N.m

0-100 km/h: 11,3 seconds

Top speed: n/a

Fuel consumption: 5,4 L/100 km