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First drive: Volkswagen Taigo 1.0 DSG R-Line

Written By Andy Brady

Volkswagen Taigo Review 2023: front dynamic


  • Yet another very competent Volkswagen SUV

  • Looks a bit more stylish than the Volkswagen T-Cross

  • Eager and efficient petrol engines


  • Still not as fun to drive as a Ford Puma

  • Slightly annoying DSG automatic gearbox

  • Is there really a need for it?

Volkswagen Taigo Review 2023: rear dynamic
It's a bit like an Audi Q8 for a third of the price

What is it?

If you're looking to buy a Volkswagen the size of a Ford Puma or Nissan Juke, you now have no fewer than three options. There's the affordable Volkswagen T-Cross, the fashionable Volkswagen T-Roc, and sitting in the middle is this – the new Volkswagen Taigo.

It's a gap that didn't really need filling, but with SUVs accounting for nearly a quarter of all new car sales in the UK, who can blame VW for catering to every niche? The Taigo is more T-Cross than T-Roc, sharing a platform with the brand's smallest SUV. It's 150mm longer than the T-Cross, though, while coupe-SUV styling pitches it against the new Renault Arkana.

We think it's quite a handsome small SUV in an inoffensive Volkswagen way. There are three trim levels available (Life, Style and R-Line), while buyers get the choice of 1.0- or 1.5-litre petrol engines. It's the former that's likely to be the big seller – we've tested it here with the DSG automatic gearbox.

Prices start from £21,960, which means it slots in nicely between the T-Cross and T-Roc on Volkswagen's price lists. You'll spend closer to £26,000 for one of the more desirable engine/trim level combinations, while our Taigo R-Line test car is nearly £28,000.

Volkswagen Taigo Review 2023: front dynamic
There's not a great deal to be offended about with the Volkswagen Taigo
Volkswagen Taigo Review 2023: front interior dashboard
The inside looks pretty smart – especially with the 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster

What's it like inside?

It's pretty standard Volkswagen inside... but that's not necessarily the compliment it once was. We've been disappointed with some of the firm finishes in cars like the T-Roc and the Taigo doesn't raise the bar in terms of interior quality. The door bins feel flimsy, the dash looks pretty solid and the air vents wouldn't look out of place in a Skoda Kamiq (and that's being harsh on the Skoda).

On the plus side, our Volkswagen Taigo R-Line is kitted out with an impressive 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster and an easy-to-use 8.0-inch navigation system. Touch-sensitive climate control buttons look a bit swisher than those in the T-Cross, although these are already showing fingerprints on our brand new test car.

If you're looking for a high seating position, you'd be better looking at the Volkswagen T-Roc. It's comfortable though and forward visibility is fine – while the view of the rear isn't as bad as you might think for a coupe-SUV. Parking sensors and a reversing camera are available to give you a confidence boost, too.

Kids will be fine in the back of the Taigo with ISOFIX points on the outer rear seats making it easier to fit a child seat. Adults will find their knees digging into the front seats but there's a surprising amount of headroom considering the Taigo's sleek profile.

The boot's pretty good too – only down 15 litres compared to the T-Cross, capable of taking 440 litres of luggage. Significantly, that's a fair bit more than the Volkswagen Golf hatch.

Volkswagen Taigo Review 2023: front dynamic
The Volkswagen Taigo feels safe and reassuring to drive, although the Ford Puma is more fun...

And how does it drive?

While the Ford Puma has the edge when it comes to overall fun factor, the Volkswagen Taigo R-Line handles tidily enough. It's a little firm, especially with the 18-inch alloy wheels fitted to our test car (you'll get 17-inch as standard in the UK), while the winter tyres (again, not standard fit) mean there's a fair bit of road noise. There's a reasonable amount of grip, although the steering is typical VW blandness at speed.

We like the little 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine in other Volkswagen Group models and it doesn't disappoint in the Taigo. Sure, you'll have to boot it if you want to join a motorway at pace, but it's a revvy little three-cylinder unit that's more than up to the job of shifting the Taigo's weight.

It's a shame the DSG automatic gearbox isn't quite so impressive. It's slow to change down, and we've experienced a few moments on our Milton Keynes test route when it wouldn't accelerate onto a roundabout quite as quickly as we'd have liked. If you must have an auto, you might be better looking at the 1.5 Taigo.

Read our full Volkswagen Taigo review here.

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Volkswagen Taigo: the facts

Model tested: Volkswagen Taigo R-Line

Engine: 1.0-litre petrol

Gearbox: seven-speed auto

Power/torque: 110PS/200Nm

Combined fuel economy: 46.3mpg

CO2 emissions:  134g/km

Price from: £21,960

As tested: £27,740

The Volkswagen Taigo is a small coupe-SUV that sits between the T-Cross and T-Roc in VW's range. It rivals cars like the Ford Puma, Nissan Juke and Renault Arkana.

The Volkswagen Taigo shares a platform with the Volkswagen T-Cross. It's 150mm longer than the T-Cross, though, and just 37mm shorter than the T-Roc. Price wise, it sits neatly in the middle of the T-Cross and T-Roc.

The new Volkswagen Taigo is priced from £21,960 in Life trim with the 95PS 1.0-litre petrol engine and five-speed manual gearbox. The Volkswagen Taigo Style starts from £25,300, while the R-Line is priced from £26,150.