Volkswagen Taigun is the first VW product to come out of India 2.0 and embodies the German automaker’s new approach to the Indian market. The Taigun is a car conceived with Indian values but built on a proven global platform. In the development of the Taigun, it was the company’s India team telling Wolfsburg what needs to be done and not the other way around. The result is an all-new SUV built with 95 percent local content and engineered to suit Indian tastes and pockets. Based on the VW Group’s MQB-AO (IN) platform the IN prefix sums up the extraordinarily high (for VW) level of indigenization the Taigun is born with but there’s no mistaking this SUV for anything other than a Volkswagen.
The Taigun is a well-proportioned, clean cut design with understated lines and like most VWs will stand the test of time. Cars like the Polo and Vento don’t look like the decade plus old cars they are and similarly the Taigun has been designed with the same timeless pen. Except that this time, round VW has spiced things up keeping Indian tastes in mind from the get-go. And this is most obvious in the front. Whilst the thick horizontal grille bears resemblance to other VW SUVs the ‘masala’ in the recipe is a big dollop of chrome. In fact, the Taigun has more chrome than you’ll see in any other VW, to entice Indian buyers. Chunky chrome wedges atop the horizontal bars that run the length of the grille look appropriately flashy but it’s the massive chrome bit surrounding the fog lamps that add serious bling. Other SUV elements like a large air intake below the bumper and a tough looking skid plate are all there and the Taigun with its muscular bonnet looks imposing if a tad conventional from the front. It’s not as radically styled as the Creta or even the Kushaq for that matter which sports a split head light cluster that looks sleeker than the Taigun’s. But the Taigun has that all important road presence.
The rear too is not as restrained as other VWs and the Taigun’s designers have let themselves loose here too with a flashy chrome bar above the skid plate and a very distinctive tail light cluster that runs across the width of the tail gate. Not only does the tail light cluster stand out, it accentuates the width of the car which, as we found it when we got inside, isn’t as much as we thought. From the side, the Taigun looks pretty similar to the Kushaq and that’s no surprise because other than sharing the same platform, the same mechanicals and lots of other bits with each other, they both use the same doors and windows. The double crease line that runs parallelly across the doors and taper in the rear fender is a superb design detail. To achieve this sharp crease needed an extra stage in the press shop to stamp out that incredibly tight fold in the body panel.
The Taigun’sinterior is just as spacious as the Kushaq’s which is to say there’s an abundance of legroom both in the front and rear and headroom too is quite decent. The seats too are very supportive with generous bolstering all round and you can expect a high level of comfort in the cabin. The only downside is a lack of width which makes sitting three abreast at the rear a bit of a squeeze. The Taigun’s dashboard is clean and uncluttered with the 10-inch touchscreen neatly integrated into the dash. The infotainment system has crisp, high definition graphics and is expected to set new standards for ease of use. It has a full suite of connected features bundled in. Apple Carlay, Android Auto and a bespoke My Volkswagen connect appare all there whilst Type C charging points hint at the future readiness of the Taigun. Again, all this kit is available in the Kushaq too but where the Taigun outsmarts its Czech sibling is with a full digital instrument panel. This ‘virtual cockpit’ which is highly configurable makes the analogue instrument cluster of the Kushaq look out of date and undoubtedly, VW will be using this feature as one of the key points of differentiation with the Kushaq.
In terms of practicality, the Taigun has generous storage areas in the cabin though the boot isn’t the most spacious by class standards and the high loading lip calls for effort whilst loading bags. The seats split 60:40 for added versatility. Interior quality is pretty good with nicely textured and soft touch materials provided where it matters though in the lower regions of the cabin you can spot some hard plastic bits. Like in the Kushaq, the Taigun too gets a cheap looking woven fabric for the roof liner and a small sunroof. There’s no stinting on safety though. The Taigun gets ESC as standard, 6 airbags on certain variants, tyre pressure deflation warning and even the middle passenger at the rear is looked after with a three-point safety belt and his own head restraint.