Volkswagen Taigun 1-litre TSI review: Topline AT variant driven
The Volkswagen Taigun and the Skoda Kushaq are the newest entries into what is the hottest car segment in India — the mid-size SUV. At its unveil a few months ago, we drove the sporty GT Plus and the GT variants and found them impressive as far as the #ThrillOfDriving goes. That is courtesy of them getting the 1.5-litre TSI Evo engine, which Volkswagen has aimed at the driving enthusiast. Now though, we've got our hands on a Taigun Topline, which gets the heavily localised engine, Volkswagen's 1-litre TSI powerplant. And this is the one that will bring in the numbers.
VW Taigun 1.0 TSI is no different on the outside
The Volkswagen Taigun with the brand's typical grown up styling is a handsome car. We noticed that it turns heads wherever it goes, credit also to the vibrant Curcuma Yellow shade our test car was wearing. People also give it a second glance because they think it to be a smaller Tiguan from the front, plus that full-width light bar at the rear looks great.
On the outside, the Topline misses out on the GT badges that cars with the 1.5 engine get, but it does not miss out on the oodles of chrome present on the front grille, door handles and the rear bumper. It gets LED headlights which not only look good but also have a good light beam throw and 17-inch alloys which fill up its wheel arches well. Those are the key differences between the GT and the Dynamic variants of the VW Taigun from the outside.
Interiors and equipment
On the inside the Taigun Topline gets a sunroof, a 10-inch infotainment touchscreen which supports Android Auto and AppleCarPlay, wireless charging and an 8-inch digital instrument cluster. The latter is the big differentiator to the Skoda Kushaq which does not get a digital cluster as of now. Unlike the GT, the 1.0 TSI Topline gets leatherette seats with cooling (the only variant in the entire Taigun range to get it). There’s full commitment to safety with six airbags on offer plus the tyre pressure warning system too. The only differentiating factor here from the GT variants? White ambient lighting replaces the red one.
However, the Taigun misses out on certain features here and there, which its rivals get either as standard or as an option. For example, it misses out on an AI assistant, adaptive cruise control, lane departure system, forward collision warning, and blind spot detection among others, which are available as standard on the MG Astor. The Taigun also misses out on a panoramic sunroof and an air purifier over the Hyundai Creta, and a 360-degree camera over the Kia Seltos.
VW Taigun Topline engine and transmission
The Volkswagen Taigun Topline gets the acclaimed 1-litre TSI engine. This power plant produces 114bhp and 178Nm torque and can be had with a six-speed manual or six-speed torque converter automatic transmission.
While this 1-litre TSI engine is 33bhp and 72Nm down over the 1.5-litre TSI Evo, it does get a move on very enthusiastically. You might think this engine is going to be out of its depth in a mid-size SUV, but it packs a punch. After the turbo spools up, it gets cracking all the way to 5500rpm. At higher revs though, the engine does get a bit loud though and if you need to make a high speed overtake out on the highway you will need to rev it quite hard. And that is the only area we found the six-speed torque converter lacking compared to the DSG, taking a little longer to respond to a downshift request. That said the 6-speed torque converter is smooth shifting, refined and works completely unobtrusively in the background. In fact in the city you will appreciate its easy going nature and refined shifts. VW also offer paddle shifters for manual control of the gearbox
Volkswagen claims that this engine gearbox combo can deliver 16kmpl, and yes it can do that or even higher, but that is when you drive rationally. Turbo-petrols are very sensitive to driving style. The fuel efficiency will drop drastically when you drive hard.
VW Taigun 1.0 TSI handling and ride quality
In terms of handling, the Taigun is one of the best in its class. All that we said about the GT holds true for the 1.0 TSI engined variants, if anything the lighter engine makes it just a little bit more responsive.
The torsional rigidity of the platform shines through in the excellent body control, terrific handling and overall enthusiasm in the driving experience. The stiff platform has allowed VW to use slightly softer dampers which does result in a bit of body roll, but the upside is class-leading ride quality. In the city you can flatten all the little bumps and ripples while on the highway it stays impressively flat and planted.
The Taigun's steering is light and works well at city speeds but we feel it should weigh up a little bit more as speed rises, to give the Taigun a more planted feel.
The Taigun Topline gets 17-inch alloy wheels. We noticed that the 16-inch wheels that we experienced on the GT variant does deliver a better ride quality but, of course, the 17s fill up the wheel arches better and look much nicer.
VW Taigun Topline AT verdict
The Taigun Topline is the most premium offering of the Taigun with the 1-litre TSI engine, with all the options ticked and a smooth automatic gearbox. Compared to the GT you do not lose anything on the visual front. It even gets the digital cluster and, unlike the GT, you also get seat coolers which work really well in the summers.
In the real world, this is the combo to have if you want all the features along with an engine that has more than enough power for city chores and even the highway run. Sure, the 1.5-litre is more powerful and its DSG transmission is more responsive, but it is over Rs 1.6 lakh more too. And it also does put a smile on your face (not as wide as the GTs) if you drive it enthusiastically. At Rs 15.8 lakh the Taigun Topline AT is Rs 10,000 more expensive than the top-spec Skoda Kushaq, the Style, but it gets six-airbags and a digital instrument cluster, both of which the Kushaq misses. So with that in mind, would you want the more enthusiastic Kushaq or would you prefer safety and go for the Taigun instead?