In-depth reviews

Volkswagen Taigo SUV review

“The VW Taigo is an economical small SUV that proves style does not have to come at the expense of practicality”

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Pros

  • Well-equipped
  • Reasonable boot
  • Quite economical

Cons

  • Feels derivative
  • Petrol only
  • Auto gearbox isn't the smoothest

It might not seem like there’s much space between the Volkswagen T-Cross and the Volkswagen T-Roc in the VW SUV lineup but the brand has managed to squeeze in a new model nevertheless.

The arrival of the Volkswagen Taigo means you now have even more choice if you want a small SUV - and not just within the VW range; there are plenty of similarly sized crossovers to consider, such as the Renault Arkana, Toyota C-HR and Mazda CX-30.

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As you might expect, the Taigo shares the majority of its parts with the T-Roc and T-Cross. The engine choice is the same, so you can pick from 1.0-litre or 1.5-litre petrol engines, with power outputs between 94 and 148bhp. Strangely in this day and age, there are no hybrid or electric options available.

Yet despite this, performance and fuel economy are both reasonable, with even the most powerful engine returning over 45mpg. The 1.0-litre option is fine for low-mileage and cost-conscious buyers and comes in two power outputs. There is also a punchier 1.5-litre petrol which comes with an automatic gearbox; however, this is quite expensive.

Our test car was fitted with the more powerful 1.0-litre unit and this seemed like a perfect pairing for the DSG automatic transmission. The extra gear over the manual ’box made for smooth acceleration and did not hamper fuel economy. Plus, the addition of paddle shifters on the steering wheel allows more enthusiastic drivers to get more involved.

Speaking of enthusiastic driving, this is not what the Taigo is designed for – in spite of what its sporty, coupé-like appearance may suggest. The sprint from 0-62mph takes just over 10 seconds - while this should be fine for most situations, the Taigo is far from a performance SUV. If you throw the Taigo into a bend too eagerly, the body leans quite a bit; the equivalent Ford Puma will be more thrilling behind the wheel.

Nevertheless, what the Taigo does excel at is comfortable cruising. Although it won’t iron out the most troublesome of potholes, the Taigo feels refined out on the road and drives much like its more sensible sibling, the T-Roc. The steering is easy and light and despite its high riding position, the Taigo feels stable at higher speeds. Examples fitted with the 1.5-litre engine can also shut off half of their cylinders while cruising, saving fuel in the process.

The interior is familiar from Volkswagen’s existing range of small cars, with all three trim levels getting a touchscreen. Impressively, even the entry-level Life model gets a version of VW’s digital instrument cluster, plus LED headlights, parking sensors, smartphone connectivity and adaptive cruise control.

Style adds bigger alloy wheels, sat nav, upgraded headlights and two-zone climate control, while the top-spec R-Line adds sporty styling that’s likely to prove popular in the UK.

Taigo buyers may be drawn in by its more rakish styling but they won’t miss out on practicality either. There’s enough headroom in the rear and a 440-litre boot that’s on a par with the T-Roc.

Surprisingly for a coupe-SUV, the Taigo is around £2,000 less expensive than the T-Roc and therefore represents better value. If that also translates into lower monthly payments than the T-Roc, the Taigo is likely to be popular.

While reliability is yet to be fully proven, the Taigo shares its engines with several other models across the VW Group including the facelifted Volkswagen Polo, new Skoda Fabia and the T-Cross SUV. The parts sharing means these units are tried and tested, so should be dependable. Plenty of standard safety equipment means it should be safe in the event of an incident, or by preventing one from happening in the first place. When the Taigo was crash tested by Euro NCAP in early 2022, it was awarded a maximum five-star rating with strong scores in all areas.

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