Published October 23, 2012
By Philippe Crowe
Volkswagen is up-sizing its up! small car to get a compact SUV called the Taigun out of it, and using a small turbocharged unit to power it.
The Taigun is its latest concept, and has been unveiled at the São Paulo motor show. It previews the look of a possible small SUV based on the New Small Family platform, which underpins the up!. (Ed. note: some auto publications are already refusing to write VW’s awkward, exclamatory, lower-case name, “up!” but for now, we’ll play along … )
Just like the up!, the Taigun is small on the outside – at just 12.66 feet (3.86 meters) long and 5.67 feet (1.73 meters) wide – but big on the inside, thanks to a long for the vehicle size 8.1 foot (2.47 meter) wheelbase. These dimensions give the Taigun short overhangs 27.87 inch (708 mm) front and 26.81 inch (681 mm rear) and the exterior styling follows the newest Volkswagen design DNA.
Powering the four-seat Taigun is a new 1.0-liter, three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine producing 108.5 horsepower (110 PS) at 5,000 rpm and pushing 129 pound-feet of torque through the six-speed manual gearbox.
The engine is based on the latest EA211 series, and with the use of direct fuel injection and turbocharging it is able to return a combined fuel consumption of 4.7 liters per 100km (60.1 mpg), despite being able to take the 2,172 pound (985 kg) Taigun from zero to 62 mph in 9.2 seconds and on to 115 mph top speed.
The look of the Taigun is deliberately styled to emulate that of its SUV siblings, the Tiguan and Touareg, as is evident in the rugged side panels, underbody protection and practical roof rails with LED spotlights. Wide tracks – 58 inches (1,473 mm) front and rear – help give the Taigun a purposeful look.
This is, however, very much a vehicle for the urban environment: the high driving position gives the driver an optimum view in traffic, while there’s plenty of room for luggage. The tailgate is split, with the top two-thirds opening upwards and the bottom third folding down, making loading even easier.
The interior of the Taigun is said by Volkswagen to be simple and spacious – headroom is 40.78 inches (1,036 mm) in front and 38.58 inches (980 mm) at the back – with controls pared back to a minimum. The front air nozzles, for example, not only individually control the direction of the air flow, but also the blower speed and the temperature, which is displayed within the nozzle. Meanwhile the central infotainment system can be paired with the majority of smartphones, providing an intuitive interface. Above this are mounted auxiliary instrument gauges that display oil pressure, coolant temperature and turbo charge pressure.
Volkswagen will be monitoring public reaction to this vehicle before taking a decision on whether to put the Taigun into production.