Volkwagen Taigun 1.5 manual & DSG, in CarToq’s first drive review

Volkswagen is ready with the Taigun – the all-important car specifically made for the Indian market. Volkswagen first showcased the car at the 2020 Auto Expo and then revealed the exterior of the production version. This time, we got to drive the pre-production units of the Taigun, which are 99.9% similar to the production version of the upcoming Taigun. Volkswagen will launch the Taigun with two engine options. There will be a 1.0 TSI and a 1.5 TSI. While the 1.0 TSI was not available at the media drives, we drove both manual and automatic variants of the 1.5-litre unit. Here is what we think about the upcoming Taigun.

Volkswagen Taigun: Looks European

The Taigun’s design looks unmistakably Volkswagen signature design. At the front, it gets a bold grille with horizontal slats. Since we drove only the GT Line variants, Volkswagen will offer two variants under the GT group. The fully-loaded GT gets more chrome than the lower-end variant. There are other differences too.

The top-end GT variant gets full projector LED lamps with DRL positioned below the lamps while the lower-end gets DRL above the lamps like brows. Also, the lower-end version gets halogen lamps. Overall, the front looks compact and quite interesting on the roads.

Coming to the side, there is a GT badge on the fender. There is a chrome window line, chrome door handles and deep creases on the body that makes the Taigun look clean yet sporty. The top-end gets 17-inch alloys with red-painted front callipers while the other variant gets 16-inch wheels. The roof rails are functional and can hold up to 50 kg of weight.

The rear of the Taigun is the best angle to look at the car in my personal opinion. It gets sporty tail lamps with a sweeping lightbar that connects both the lamps. The exhaust tips remain hidden but the whole set-up looks very sporty at the night. The design of the tail lamps with black cladding especially takes a lot of attention.

Volkwagen Taigun 1.5 manual & DSG, in CarToq’s first drive review

Volkswagen Taigun: Cabin and features

The Taigun’s cabin is much similar to the Kushaq as both the vehicles share a lot of parts. However, Volkswagen has made changes to give it a different identity. The two different variants get different looking dashboards. The top-end trim gets carbon fibre and silver inserts while the lower variant gets red coloured highlights on the dashboard. The top-end version also gets a fully digital instrument cluster that shows a lot of information while the lower-end variant gets the analogue-digital instrument cluster like the Kushaq.

There is a touch-sensitive infotainment system in the middle while the climate control system looks exactly the same as the Kushaq. The touch-sensitive controls do work well. The car also gets a wireless phone charger. There is a lot of space too. There are two cup holders in the middle and more space under the front sliding armrest. Even the doors get ample space.

The front two seats are bucket seats with ample side bolstering. You do feel very confident and comfortable with the seats cocooned around your body. That’s the same story for the rear seats as well. Volkswagen gives ample space for the rear passengers but there is not for the third passengers. The bolsters and the rear AC vents intrude with the space of the third passenger, which makes it difficult to fit an adult third passenger in the rear. You do get C-Type USB chargers, ample space in the doors and rear seat pockets to keep the small items.

A few differences that we found between the two GT Line variants – instrument cluster, cruise control, sunroof, keyless start/stop, alloy wheels and headlamps. Volkswagen is yet to officially announce the distribution of the feature.

Volkswagen Taigun 1.5 Manual and DSG: Drive and performance

The 1.5-litre is a four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine that generates a maximum power of 150 PS and a peak torque of 250 Nm. It comes with a special cylinder deactivation system that improves the mileage of the car by deactivating two cylinders when there is no load on the engine. The deactivation and activation are so smooth that one does not even get to know the difference except for the notification on the screen of the car.

We drove the manual first. It is a six-speed manual transmission that slots well and the gear throw is very short and sharp. The 1.5-litre engine’s noise filters inside the cabin but it does feel sporty. If you’re driving through traffic situations, you may not require to shift as much because of the wide torque band. However, if you need to change the gears, the light clutch comes in handy.

The 7-speed DSG is overall an all-rounder transmission. It is quite good when it comes to traffic but if you’re looking for aggressive driving, then you may find the manual transmission better. Pressing the accelerator to the metal will make the engine rpm rise in the DSG but the actual power starts to flow with a delay. You can change that by entering the sports mode or the manual mode in the transmission, which will allow you to shift with the help of pedal shifters. However, I found that if you want to drive enthusiastically and extract the last bit of performance, the manual is better.

The handling of the Taigun is supreme. It takes corners at more than 100 km/h with ease and even sharp turns at high speeds will not shake your confidence. Also, at high speeds, the vehicle feels planted to the roads and you get more confidence to take it to the higher speeds. There is no other car in the segment that will give you this feeling.

Should you wait for one?

Volkswagen will start the production of the Taigun on 18th August and will start accepting the bookings for the car soon after. The launch will happen next month and that is when the price announcement will happen too. Yes, the Taigun does not offer the long list of features that some of the rivals do. There is no panoramic sunroof and few other features but the Taigun offers a driver’s centric sporty car that may not ever give you a dull moment. The prices of the Taigun are likely to undercut the Kushaq, especially for the lower-end variants.