Volkswagen Taigo – Review

Volkswagen Taigo review main

By Liam Bird

“Does the world actually need another SUV?” asked my neighbour when he first clapped eyes on the Volkswagen Taigo I was driving recently. “What exactly is it?” He continued.

Well… allow me to explain…

The Taigo – which I assume you pronounce Tie-go – is the second SUV to be based upon VW’s MQB platform. That essentially means it shares its oily bits with the squarer-bodied but nonetheless quite funky T-Cross, and VW’s perennial Polo. What makes the Taigo different, say its makers, is that it features the raised seating position and modern design of an SUV, allied to the sleekness of a coupe.

Volkswagen Taigo review front

“Easy to live with”

That’s 5–door coupe, obviously. You can’t buy a 3-door Taigo, a 3-door T-Cross, or a 3-door Polo for that matter either. Sleek? I’m not so sure. The Taigo is considerably more crossover with a sloping rear hatchback than it is a rakish sports car. I’m not sure my neighbour was totally convinced either. I didn’t dare tell him VW say the Taigo’s rugged, contemporary, design bridges the gap between hatchback and SUV.

Potential niche-filling, and personalisable styling aside – you can have your Taigo in one of eight different body colours with or without an optional black roof, three different trim levels: entry level Life, Style which offers more luxury, or all-the-more sportier range-topping R-Line, and sitting on one of seven different sets of alloy wheels – what can’t be quibbled at is just how easy it is to live with day-to-day.

The predicted best-seller is the Taigo Life 1.0 litre 110 PS 6-speed manual, which, as standard, benefits from goodies such as roof rails, front fog lamps, LED headlights, VW’s multi-configurable digital TFT dashboard, inductive smartphone charging, a multifunction steering wheel, and heated and folding mirrors. Not to mention a 440-litre boot beneath that distinctive sloping rear window that’s easily large enough swallow the weekly big shop. I’m assuming Tiago owners are the weekly big shop type; y’know, safe, sensible, the predictable type, a bit like the Taigo’s handling in fact.

Volkswagen Taigo review interior

“Smooth around town”

Shame there’s no spare wheel in the boot. That would’ve been very sensible, y’know, for when things turn unpredictable.

Funny then, that it wasn’t a Taigo Life 1.0 litre 110 PS 6-speed manual that VW sent me to sample. I spent a week in the company of a 1 litre 110 PS Taigo Style – more luxuries apparently; heated windscreen, sports seats, puddle lights, leather-trimmed steering wheel, twin chrome exhausts, etc. (Still no spare wheel though…), plus a 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox as well.

Would I pay extra to get the automatic? I’m not so sure.

You see, I’m a big fan of Volkswagen’s three-cylinder TSi engine, it’s usually an eager, thrummy, little thing, full of character and economical to boot. The DSG ‘box has clearly been programmed to select the highest ratio possible and in doing so robs the engine of its personality. Granted, it’s smooth around town, and hesitant start-stop system aside (you can switch it off, thankfully) offers near imperceptible changes, but it’s by no means an addition to any kind of driver involvement. Personally, I’d pick a manual instead, and save myself nearly two-grand in the process. I’d happily get rid of VW’s slider-type touch-panel controls for the heating and air-con too, if I could. Sadly proper buttons aren’t an option.

Volkswagen Taigo review rear


Thinking about it, as much as liked the Taigo – it’s smooth, quiet, nicely screwed together, quite stylish I suppose, and as I said, very easy to live with, I’m still not sure I’d pay the extra £1000 it commands over and above of the very similar, if slightly smaller T-Cross.

Will it sell on its looks alone? I suppose it all boils down to how badly you really need a new SUV.

Volkswagen Taigo Style 1.0 litre 110ps 7spd 5dr
Engine: 999cc 3-Cyl Petrol turbo
Transmission: 7-Speed DSG Automatic, front wheel drive.
Power: 108 bhp @ 5,000 – 5,500pm
Torque: 148 lbft @ 2,000 – 3,000 rpm
0-62 Mph: 10.9 Sec
Max Speed: 119 mph
CO2: 134g/km
MPG: 47.8 (WLTP combined)
Price: £28,225 otr (Car driven £29,980)


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