Good Stuff 👍
Handsome styling, solid build quality, excellent safety spec
Bad Stuff 👎
The price walk to automatic is prohibitive. Some plastics could be better.
WHAT IS IT?
The Taigo is another new entrant into the ever-growing compact crossover segment and further expands Volkswagen’s crossover offering. This new model sits between the Polo and the T-Cross at the compact end of Volkswagen’s model range and sits on the same MQB-A0 platform as both of those cars. This is essentially the European version of a car that is on sale in Brazil, the Nivus, with some European variations. It is available here in Ireland with a choice of two 1.0-litre 3-cylinder petrol engines, with 95- or 110hp. There is also a choice of manual or DSG automatic transmissions. It sits slightly lower than the T-Cross and higher than the Polo, yet is longer than the T-Cross. Prices start from €27,745.
HOW ABOUT THE LOOKS?
The Taigo is broadly similar to the T-Cross, but it has a much more coupé-like appearance, with a sharply sloping roofline. The front grille has a honeycomb design and there are smart LED lights at the front and rear. This is a good-looking car, handsome and nicely put together. From the Style equipment line onwards, the Taigo features the IQ.LIGHT LED matrix headlights along with an illuminated radiator grille crossbar as standard.
WHAT IS THE INSIDE LIKE?
The inside is again similar the well-liked T-Cross, with our entry-level car featuring a pretty basic 6.5-inch colour infotainment system. Most buyers will and should upgrade to the Style model, which comes with a much better 8” system that boasts Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. However, even the Life model gets manual air conditioning, Bluetooth and the full arsenal of safety systems. One benefit of the more basic versions is that there are more buttons if that is more your thing.
It is spacious up-front, with generous head and legroom up front, with the option of a Panoramic sunroof (€1,053) available which is unique to this European version. With both front seats pushed back, rear legroom gets a little tight, but is fine if the front seats aren’t back the whole way. Luggage space, at 483-litre, is a little less than in T-Cross, which can expand to 455-litres thanks to its sliding rear bench seats. Rear visibility is compromised a little by the sloping rear end which makes for a narrower rear glass, but it is fine.
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
The Taigo is very good around town, with light steering, which isn’t over-light. There is decent feedback and the entry-level 5-speed manual 95hp petrol model we were driving felt urgent enough, but we only drove it in an urban setting. The 3-cylinder is quiet enough and doesn’t feel like it is overwhelmed at any stage. Most customers will go for the 110hp 1.0-litre which comes on every model above the very entry-level. Volkswagen Ireland doesn’t have any plans to market the 1.5-litre 150hp version of this model and it is probably wise, as the market for this car in Ireland probably doesn’t warrant it.
WHICH ONE SHOULD I BUY?
Judging by the standard kit available across the range, the second-tier Style model appears to make the most sense of the three. The entry-level Life is fine, with 16” alloy wheels, Bluetooth, Manual AC and most importantly, all of the safety kit on offer, including things like Front Assist, Lane Assist and Emergency Call service, but in terms of infotainment there is a pretty basic 6.5” display and you have to move to the Style model to get LED Matrix headlights, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Park Distance Control and 17” Alloy wheels and this just makes and awful lot more sense. The top spec R-Line is more expensive again, but only really adds a different styling option. The cost of DSG in this car is quite prohibitive, as it increases the car’s VRT and therefore costs almost €5,000 more at entry-level compared to the manual version. Choose a Style Taigo and it's €145 less than the equivalent T-Cross, but the R-Line is €390 more expensive. Pick the Manual T-Cross Style, get a Panoramic Roof and upgrade to the 18” Funchal alloy wheels and you will have a very smart car. There are some new colours, we love the Visual Green which is very smart and is an €815 option. Our test car was in Deep Black.
IS IT SAFE?
As mentioned the Taigo comes even at entry-level with Front Assist Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Assist and Hill Start Assist. There is an Emergency Call service, Driver Alert system and Isofix anchors for child seats on outer rear bench seats and front passenger seats.
The Taigo enters a crowded segment with yet another choice for buyers that want their small crossover with more curves. It feels upmarket, apart from the odd area of brittle plastic in the interior. The 1.0-litre 3-cylinder engine is tried-and-trusted and cheap to run. DSG is an expensive option, so stick with the Manual in this model and you’ll have a nice car.
Volkswagen Taigo Life 1.0-litre 5-speed Manual
1.0-litre 3-cylinder petrol engine
5-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Annual Motor Tax
Price as tested
Thank you to Western Motors Volkswagen Drogheda for making this review possible.