By Mike Torpey on 2023-08-19 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
Volkswagen Taigo 1.0
YOU could be forgiven for wondering why Volkswagen decided to launch another model into its eight-strong SUV line-up - especially when it is almost exactly the same size as its T-Roc and T-Cross stablemates.
Well there's a sensible reason and it's because the Taigo offers something outside of the norm in the shape of genuine coupe styling in a compact SUV body.
It also does just about everything you might expect of a family model to a high degree, whether it be regarding dynamics, comfort, space, practicality or running costs.
In addition, a pair of efficient 1.0-litre petrol engines - with power outputs of 95 and 110ps - give valuable extra choice to buyers who don't want something as powerful as the 150ps 1.5-litre unit.
You can also pick between three trim grades of Life, Style and R-Line - all of which are well kitted out - plus manual or DSG automatic transmission.
Our tested Style model, from the centre of the line-up, featured the higher powered of the two three-cylinder petrol engines and also the six-speed manual gearbox.
The official acceleration time of 0-62mph in 10.2 seconds may not sound anything special but the Tiago really picks up its feet once the turbo kicks in, progress on the faster roads is smooth and there's plenty of punch available for overtaking.
Around town and on country lanes the car feels well balanced, copes admirably with pitted or uneven surfaces and rides comfortably on the 17-inch alloy wheels standard on this model.
All round visibility is well sorted despite the sloping roofline and the driver's seat is manually adjustable, as is the leather-covered steering wheel for reach and rake.
The Taigo is efficient too, our average fuel return over almost 300 miles of mixed town, country and motorway driving getting close to the official 51.4 figure at 48.7 miles per gallon.
Move inside and space for both head and legroom is plentiful, even for tall adults, the only passenger to feel inconvenienced - on longer journeys at least - being a centre rear occupant who can feel a touch squeezed and sits in a perched position.
The front ‘sports comfort' seats are exactly as described and come with lumbar support height adjustment and for an extra Â£325 they can be heated.
You get lots of stowage space too, with the likes of door bins incorporating bottle holders, a deep container in the centre armrest, a glovebox, a smartphone charging pad ahead of the gearshift.
There's also a storage compartment under the front seats and, as you would expect, cup-holders all round.
Boot space of 440 litres is better than some of the Taigo's principal rivals, there are bag hooks plus a removable cover and the rear seats split/fold 60:40 as well as folding flat, so there's plenty of carrying capacity.
Infotainment and tech sees Volkswagen moving away from analogue dials in favour of a digital display, in the case of Style trim including a 10.25-inch high resolution TFT screen with customisable menus and info.
For in-car entertainment and communication it's an eight-inch colour screen with shortcut buttons, sat nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth and mirroring for both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Yes, it can be distracting at times, but operation is straightforward.
Safety gear is in keeping with the recognition of a five-star Euro-NCAP rating with the likes of a driver alert system, automatic emergency braking and lane change assist all included.
Volkswagen Taigo 1.0 Style
Mechanical:110ps, 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine driving front wheels via six-speed manual transmission
0-62mph: 10.2 seconds
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