Volkswagen Taigun | Long term report
In the time between my Skoda Kushaq has left the fleet and when my next long-termer (you'll see it in the next issue!) was assigned to me, I nicked the keys to the Volkswagen Taigun GT. It's the perfect time for me to get some perspective of the two back to back. However, we didn't get off to a good start. I picked it up only to find the tyre pressure warning light on, and when I went to get the tyre checked -- it had about three repaired punctures and five fresh punctures on it. Clearly wasn't in great shape. I got got all that ironed out and set off on my first proper drive with it to Mumbai. And that is when I realised this Kushaq / Taigun mental comparo I was attempting was not a fair fight. This is a 1.5 DSG and the Kushaq was a 1.0 manual. The difference couldn't be starker. It is apples and oranges after all – this 1.5 being more refined, quieter, punchier. And the DSG gave my right foot a brake as well. I've always said that the 1.0 has more character, but on a day that you just want a relaxed drive, this 1.5 is just brillaint. The refinement is the biggest difference with the 1.0 – its creamy smooth, and quiet no matter how much you ask of it. That refinement on a long drive goes a long way at keeping fatigue at bay. It makes conversation inside the cabin easier and the whole driving experience is a lot more hushed.
I didn't expect to like that as much as I did. It has the upper hand in terms of performance, but that's not so apparent when you're taking it easy. And in terms of ride and handling, a lot is very similar. There's not much in it there, these are the same car under the skin after all. Where there are major updates are to the interiors. The steering mounted controls took some getting used to. I'm sure if I spent enough time in the car, they would become muscle memory, but I still maintain that the Kushaq's roller dials for volume controls is far more intuitive (and quicker to run though) than the clickety-click buttons on the VW. The dash is different and I'm partial to the Kushaq's styling, but that's personal. Pleny of guys in the team disagree with me. What really got on my nerves (and this is true of Skodas as well) is that the digital display is a pain to navigate. For example, switching from my fuel economy 'since start' to 'since refuel' requires me to dive through a menu and make some three button presses. Resetting it is even more painful and keeps my eyes off the road for quite a while when I'm driving. I like having this data at my fingertips when I'm driving but its frustrating in these cars. That aside, the Taigun was easy to live with and not to far away from what I had gotten used to in the last few months.