Volkswagen Taigo (2022) review: a slinkier small SUV

Published:17 December 2021

2021 VW Taigo hero
  • At a glance
  • 4 out of 5
  • 3 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5
  • 3 out of 5
  • 4 out of 5

By Alan Taylor-Jones

Bauer Automotive's new cars editor, although just as happy behind the wheel of a classic

By Alan Taylor-Jones

Bauer Automotive's new cars editor, although just as happy behind the wheel of a classic

► T-Cross’s stylish sibling
► Still surprisingly practical
► Three power outputs, front-drive only

As with many developments in the motoring world, the Volkswagen Taigo takes something first seen in the luxury sector and makes it available for the masses. In this case it’s the now ubiquitous coupe-SUV, that odd combination of a tall body, sloping roofline and five doors first seen on the BMW X6 way back in the late 2000s.

Based on the T-Cross, the Taigo shares its range of three- and four-cylinder petrol engines while much of the interior is clearly cut from the same cloth, too. There’s a clear family resemblance from the outside, too, but the front is a touch more aggressive while the rear is far less boxy.

2022 VW Taigo rear

So it’s just a T-Cross with an angled tailgate?

Not quite. You also get a full width light bar on the back unlike the T-Cross that makes do with a mere reflector. If a bit of LED action flicks your switch, you’ll also appreciate the slim light strip that connects the headlights of models fitted with fancy adaptive headlights.

To ensure it’s still a practical little thing, the Taigo is 150mm longer than the T-Cross, making it a mere 37mm shorter than the pricier T-Roc. It also helps to justify the extra £1000 or so you’ll need to spend, although as we’ll come onto, you do get a couple of other extra baubles.

2022 VW Taigo cornering

Sportier looks, sportier drive?

In a word no, although that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Like the T-Cross, the Taigo is one of the more comfortable pint-sized SUVs out there, even on the 18in wheels and winter tyres of our German-spec test car.

There’s a compliance to proceedings that makes it a comfortable cruiser for the most part and it’s able to soak up all but the worst urban pimples and potholes. The simple MacPherson strut front and beam axle rear does generate a little fidget on certain surfaces at speed, but the only thumping you’ll feel is if you hit a bump mid-corner with the suspension loaded up.

With no adaptive dampers or anything else fancy available, there is more body roll than you’ll find in firmer rivals such as the Ford Puma. This does make it feel a little lazy when you ask of a fast direction change yet there’s plenty of grip and good balance front to rear, too. In other words, it’s capable but unexciting.

2022 VW Taigo side

Is there any point going for a punchy engine, then?

With what we’ve experience so far, we’d say there’s no need to go for the most potent 1.5-litre 148bhp petrol engine. Although it does haul itself up to motorway speeds in shorter order than the 1.0-litre 108bhp triple, the pokier powerplant generates plenty of scrappy wheelspin when accelerating from a standstill and isn’t a great deal smoother.

Now, the former issue will no doubt be less problematic on summer tyres on a warm day, but the simple fact of the matter is that the 108bhp three-pot has ample pull from low engine speeds and provides more than adequate performance for a little shopping trolley. A 94bhp three-cylinder that comes exclusively with a five-speed manual ‘box is also available for those in no particular hurry.

However, our test cars both had VW’s seven-speed DSG auto – standard fit for the 1.5 and optional on the higher power 1.0-litre. It can be a little reluctant to kick down, but switching to Sport mode wakes it up while it shifts manually with obedience. Gearchanges are carried out smoothly and without fuss.

2022 VW Taigo dash

What’s different inside?

Anyone that’s sat in a T-Cross will notice the layout of the dash is much the same albeit with a few changes. For a start the upper is now a squishy plastic that both looks and feels far nicer than the hard, shiny item in the T-Cross. The physical heater controls have also been replaced with a (shudder) touch sensitive panel that’s trickier to use on the move and a magnet for fingerprints.

Unlike the T-Cross, all Taigos get a digital drivers display, 8.0in with slightly fuzzy graphics and limited configurability in basic Life trim or a pin-sharp 10.25in item with far more customisation options in Style and R-Line. Infotainment is taken care of my a responsive and easy to navigate 8.0in touchscreen with higher trims adding navigation. Even basic models get CarPlay and Android Auto, though.

2022 VW Taigo rear seats

Will I fit?

Unsurprisingly space up front is good, with lots of headroom and legroom. Only the width of the cabin really gives the Taigo’s diminutive proportions away as you sit pretty high for a little SUV. Move to the rear and headroom is surprisingly generous and rear legroom is decent for the class, too.

That 150mm longer rump also means boot space is barely any less than the T-Cross at a Golf-busting 440-litres. Only when you toss the parcel shelf will you notice the swoopier styling limiting practicality. A two-level boot floor is a handy practicality aid, too.

Volkswagen Taigo: verdict

Let’s be honest, if you’re looking for a small SUV driving thrills probably aren’t high on your list of priorities. If they are, the Ford Puma is still your best bet, if they’re not the Taigo is certainly worthy of further consideration.

After all, it’s barely any less practical than the T-Cross, not much more expensive, feels slightly plusher inside and has a little bit more extra equipment as standard. Of course, the sensible money would still be on the T-Cross, but if you like the Taigo’s looks and don’t mind paying a bit extra for them, it’s a thoroughly decent thing.

Specs

Price when new: £22,450
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 999cc 3cyl petrol, 108bhp @ 5000rpm, 148lb ft @ 2000-3500rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Performance: 10.4sec 0-62mph, 119mph, 51.6mpg, 124g/km CO2
Weight / material: 1220kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 4266/1757/1518mm

Photo Gallery

  • 2021 VW Taigo rear
  • 2021 VW Taigo side
  • 2021 VW Taigo dash
  • 2021 VW Taigo rear seats
  • 2022 VW Taigo boot
  • 2022 VW Taigo cornering

By Alan Taylor-Jones

Bauer Automotive's new cars editor, although just as happy behind the wheel of a classic

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