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In-depth reviews

Volkswagen Taigo review – a cheap and economical coupe-SUV

“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

Owners Rating

5.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews

Pros

  • Well-equipped
  • Reasonable boot
  • Quite economical

Cons

  • Feels derivative
  • Petrol only
  • Jerky automatic gearbox

Verdict - is the Volkswagen Taigo a good car?

The Volkswagen Taigo sits between the T-Cross and T-Roc in Volkswagen’s vast SUV lineup; if you’re looking for your way into stylish coupe-SUV ownership, the Taigo could be for you. It offers a sleek, low-slung look compared with its stablemates, without compromising too much on practicality. Its petrol engines are economical and the Taigo is fairly well equipped. While it might seem like a niche proposition at first glance, the Taigo is worth considering if you’re in the market for a high-riding alternative to a supermini like the Volkswagen Polo.

Volkswagen Taigo models, specs and alternatives

The Volkswagen Taigo is a small SUV that’s closely related to the Volkswagen T-Cross and smaller than the Volkswagen T-Roc and Tiguan. It gets a sloping roofline that makes it more of a coupe-SUV, though the styling is otherwise rather similar to those models.

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Rivals to the Volkswagen Taigo include the Toyota C-HR, Mazda CX-30, Ford Puma and Renault Arkana, which are all of a similar size. The Taigo takes quite a straightforward approach, and is offered with a simple range of small turbocharged engines that it shares with the T-Roc and T-Cross – there are no hybrid or electric options available, however.

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Though that might initially put off some buyers, performance and economy are both fairly reasonable, with the most powerful and fuel-efficient version’s 1.0-litre engine and six-speed transmission delivering up to 52.3mpg depending on the trim. That’s not your only option though – a less powerful version of the 1.0-litre engine can also be had, though with just five gears, fuel economy suffers slightly, though a lower asking price probably still makes it cheaper in the long run. 

There’s even a punchier 1.5-litre version available solely as an automatic, though it’s quite expensive to buy and less economical to run. We think buyers are best sticking with the mid-range 1.0-litre 108bhp option; it offers the best blend of performance and economy.

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In reality, though, the Taigo is not designed for enthusiastic driving, and its coupe-like looks are only really for show. Acceleration from 0-62mph takes over 10 seconds for both 1.0-litre engines, and the 1.5-litre models can do the same in 8.3 seconds – this is fine for most situations, but way off the pace of the T-Roc R. Body lean is also fairly significant, so for driving thrills, you’re better off looking towards the sharp-handling Ford Puma.

If it’s comfortable cruising you’re after, the Taigo does excel. It feels refined out on the road and drives much the same as its more-upright sibling, the T-Roc, although it won’t iron out the worst potholes. The steering is easy and light which will make it easier to manage in city driving, and despite a high stance it feels stable at higher speeds and on the motorway. 1.5-litre versions even get technology allowing some of the cylinders to shut off when cruising to save fuel.

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The Taigo doesn’t reinvent the wheel with its interior, and makes use of existing parts from Volkswagen’s range of small cars, including the Polo. Some scratchy plastics mean that material quality is just good enough, but that’s to be expected for a car at this price point. It is well-equipped, however, 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.

You might think the Taigo’s rakish styling would mean practicality has taken a big hit, but there’s enough headroom in the rear of the car, and its 440-litre boot is on 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. 

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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Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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