Volkswagen Taigo 1.0 R-Line (2022) review
VW has released yet another compact SUV-crossover, called the Taigo. We've driven a high-spec version.
Shane O' Donoghue
Shane O' Donoghue
Pics by Paddy McGrath

Published on March 28, 2022

Volkswagen Taigo overview

It's arguable that the Volkswagen Taigo is the answer to a question that nobody asked. The latest SUV to join VW's line-up isn't really a brand-new model since it's based on the same running gear as the T-Cross. However, the Taigo is slightly longer than that model and it has a coupe-style roof line to help it stand apart. The Taigo is actually 3.2cm longer than the Golf-based T-Roc, too, although that car has a longer wheelbase, and it starts at a higher price point, as well.

Not only does the Taigo muddy the waters of VW's combustion-engined SUV range, but its coupe-SUV profile isn't one that fits with rivals. The Toyota C-HR and Renault Arkana are larger and pricier, while cars like the Ford Puma, Hyundai Kona, Renault Captur and Opel Mokka are more SUV-like in their appearance. Other options include cars such as the Citroen C4 and Kia XCeed, which are more like sporty looking high-riding hatchbacks than full SUVs.

Here we're testing the top-spec Taigo that's coming to Ireland, the 1.0 TSI-powered R-Line model with DSG twin-clutch gearbox. As with the entire Taigo range, it comes exclusively with front-wheel drive.

The Volkswagen Taigo model range

Irish pricing for the Volkswagen Taigo starts from €28,745 for the entry-level variant. This gets you a model in Life spec with a 95hp 1.0 TSI three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine and a five-speed manual gearbox. Go for a seven-speed DSG twin-clutch automatic gearbox and it means an upgrade to a 110hp engine - and an extra €4,890 to the price. All other models in the range get this 110hp version of the 1.0 TSI engine, with a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed auto gearboxes, while Style and R-Line trims are the other spec options offered.

Standard equipment on the Taigo Life is decent, with 16-inch alloy wheels, LED lights, roof rails, heated electric mirrors, auto lights, a digital cockpit, multifunction steering wheel and connected services all included. Safety kit is well stocked, too, including front assist emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane assist, hill-start assist and a driver alert system all featuring.

Style has some additions over Life, the most significant being an eight-inch infotainment screen that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity. Also included are LED matrix headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control, sports seats and front and rear parking sensors.

At the top of the tree, the Taigo R-Line adds a sportier look. There's a different alloy wheel design, a chunkier body kit and the roof rails are deleted, while inside there are R-Line branded sports seats and the equipment list is largely the same as the Style model's.

As well as all this standard kit, VW offers option packs to upgrade the Taigo even further. You can add navigation to the eight-inch touchscreen, or you can choose a 9.2-inch system instead, plus there's a Beats Audio speaker upgrade. A panoramic sunroof, park assist and a rear-view camera are all available, although adding these options, as well as different paint and wheel designs, can ramp up the price significantly.

In terms of cost, the VW Taigo is more than the T-Cross, but the difference varies depending on trim. The Life models are around €250 more, but the gap widens to around €800 for Style versions, and the R-Line adds roughly €1,400 to the list price. This ends up being quite a significant margin, although it does mean the Taigo still undercuts the T-Roc by at least €4,000.

VW is currently offering 1.9% APR finance on the Taigo, and monthly repayments start from €259, although visit the VW Ireland website for the latest deals.

The Volkswagen Taigo interior

The Taigo is based on the same platform as the T-Cross, and it shares much of its cabin appearance, too. The dashboard is largely identical, and so are the seats, but unfortunately that means you get a lot of the same relentlessly black plastic throughout the cabin. It's not the most high-quality material, either so looks a little out of place when you consider the Taigo's price.

Another quirk of the Taigo is the tech that's on board. All models feature VW's Digital Cockpit dials, but in other places there are some surprising omissions. Our top-spec R-Line car didn't have automatic climate control or keyless entry and starting, for example, which are the kind of extras you might expect to find these days on a car costing more than €40k.

One benefit of the Taigo's T-Cross roots is that it uses VW's older touchscreen infotainment system, so the rotary air conditioning controls are better to use than the touch-sensitive system seen in some of VW's newer models.

Where the Taigo does impress is in terms of space. There's plenty of it on offer, and our car's optional panoramic roof boosted the sense of airiness. The car's coupe-like profile only really has an impact on taller back-seat passengers, too, although the car will be a little on the narrow side to fit three adults across the rear bench. However, there's decent foot space in the back, while the VW comes with the standard two sets of ISOFIX child seat mounts for the outer rear chairs.

The car's long body also benefits boot space, with a capacity of 440 litres available in five-seat mode. This is just five litres shy of the T-Roc's capacity, although the T-Cross can carry even more (455 litres) with its sliding rear seats fully forward with zero legroom for those sitting in the back.

The Volkswagen Taigo driving experience

Driving the VW Taigo is much like any other small SUV - it does the job, but fails to excite. The raised ride height offers a good view of your surroundings, while light controls mean the car is easy to manoeuvre at low speeds.

But while R-Line trim has a sporty look, as well as a decent leather-trimmed steering wheel that feels good to hold, there's nothing really sporty about the way the Taigo drives. Admittedly, there's decent mid-range punch from the three-cylinder turbocharged engine, and it's quiet and refined enough when you're at a cruise, too.

The DSG gearbox has the familiar habit of shifting up as early as possible to help fuel economy, which has the added benefit of improving refinement, and we recorded a return of eight litres/100km during our time with the car.

High-riding small cars need to have the added benefit of offering a smooth ride, but often this isn't the case. In the Taigo, the ride is smooth enough, although a Golf is still better in this regard.

Our verdict on the Volkswagen Taigo

Overall, the Volkswagen Taigo is a bit of a mixed bag. It might appeal to some people looking for a bit of sporty style to go with their small SUV, but it doesn't have the driving fun to back up its sporty looks.

If you want greater practicality, then the cheaper T-Cross might be a better choice thanks to its sliding rear bench, while the VW T-Roc feels more grown up to drive thanks to its Golf-sourced underpinnings - although it is a bit pricier. The Taigo makes more sense in Style spec, because it's nearly as well equipped as R-Line trim, but saves around €1,200.


Tech Specs

Model testedVolkswagen Taigo R-Line 1.0 TSI 110hp DSG
Irish pricing€40,515 as tested; Taigo starts at €28,745 on the road
Engine1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol
Transmissionseven-speed dual-clutch automatic, front-wheel drive
Body stylefive-door, five-seat crossover
CO2 emissions135g/km (for this car without options)
Irish motor tax€210 per annum
Fuel consumption47.9mpg (5.9 litres/100km)
Top speed191km/h
0-100km/h10.9 seconds
Max power110hp
Max torque200Nm
Boot space440 litres
SafetyEuro NCAP rating for Volkswagen Taigo
Rivals to the Taigo 1.0 R-Line (2022)