The Taigun is the result of multiple years of efforts by Volkswagen India to offer a custom-built SUV for the Indian market. Based on a locally produced variant of the acclaimed MQB platform, the Taigun offers a promising package to Indian customers. Sporting an appealing design, the Taigun has a butch front – which is clearly inspired by the global Volkswagen SUV family design and is imposing to look at. The use of chrome is also quite tasteful. But I think that the highlight of the Taigun’s design is its taillights – the full width LED lamps look stunning at night and really make the SUV stand apart. The choice of available colours also helps here – the Curcuma Yellow looks particularly appealing.
The MQB platform also gives the Taigun an added advantage – with its world-class stiffness and rigidity, it provides a great base for the excellent ride and handling capabilities of the SUV. Both on the road and on the track, the Taigun is a pleasure to drive. The suspension of the Taigun is set on the stiff side, which means that the Taigun remains composed at all kinds of speeds. Plus, its handling is simply brilliant. Pair all this with the 1.5-litre TSI engine, producing 148bhp, and you have a car with performance quick enough to satisfy most enthusiasts. The 7-speed DSG gearbox of the Taigun must get a special mention here, for it functions seamlessly – it also works terrifically well in sports mode. And you always have the option of using the steering-mounted paddle shifters for manual shifting.
During the test, at the BIC, the Taigun really surprised us with its fluidity, especially when pushed. The handling was neutral, and while aggressive cornering resulted in understeer, it happened very progressively. And its aggressive turn-ins and low centre of gravity, together with the stiff chassis, meant that the Taigun was great fun to throw around the track. In fact, the excellence of the chassis and the brilliance of its engine and gearbox combination is quite evident from the stellar lap time the Taigun set – a blistering 01:11.9, which was faster than many cars demanding many times more than the price of the Taigun. The Taigun’s lap time was also one of the factors that set it apart from its cousin – the Kushaq, which, while still very good to drive, lacked that final 5% of its dynamic sharpness and balance.
When I drove the Taigun a few months ago, I had said that, in my opinion, it was the best driving SUV in its class, and its lap time at the BIC backs up the claim. The stellar lap time and the fairly high score it received in the X-factor category ensured its impressive standing in the competition.
Sure, it does have some room for improvement, but there is no doubt that, in its current state, the Taigun offers a compelling package – given its combination of technology, design, features, and, more importantly, driving appeal. It’s been a tough few years for Volkswagen in India, but it’s heartening to see that it’s bringing in cutting-edge products that are designed especially for the Indian market. Given this new policy, VW deserves all the success it’s getting. Also, it gives us hope that we will see more fun-to-drive products from the German brand in the near future.
- Volkswagen Taigun (Lap Time – 01:11.9)
|RIDE & HANDLING||5||4.5|
|VALUE FOR MONEY||30||19.0|