Volkswagen Taigo review

Category: Small SUV

The Taigo is a coupé SUV offering a strong combination of style, comfort and practicality

VW Taigo front cornering
  • VW Taigo front cornering
  • VW Taigo rear cornering
  • VW Taigo interior dashboard
  • VW Taigo boot open
  • VW Taigo interior driver display
  • VW Taigo right driving
  • VW Taigo right cornering
  • VW Taigo front right driving
  • VW Taigo rear cornering
  • VW Taigo left static boot open
  • VW Taigo rear static boot open
  • VW Taigo interior front seats
  • VW Taigo interior back seats
  • VW Taigo interior steering wheel detail
  • VW Taigo interior infotainment touchscreen
  • VW Taigo interior air-con dials
  • VW Taigo front cornering
  • VW Taigo rear cornering
  • VW Taigo interior dashboard
  • VW Taigo boot open
  • VW Taigo interior driver display
  • VW Taigo right driving
  • VW Taigo right cornering
  • VW Taigo front right driving
  • VW Taigo rear cornering
  • VW Taigo left static boot open
  • VW Taigo rear static boot open
  • VW Taigo interior front seats
  • VW Taigo interior back seats
  • VW Taigo interior steering wheel detail
  • VW Taigo interior infotainment touchscreen
  • VW Taigo interior air-con dials
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Introduction

What Car? says...

Coupé SUVs have traditionally been reserved for people with expensive tastes – but the Volkswagen Taigo (pronounced "tie-go") has helped to change that.

The Taigo gives you all the style of the Mercedes GLC Coupé and other premium brand models, but with slightly smaller measurements and a much smaller price tag.

So just how small is the Taigo? Well, despite its sloping roofline, it’s around the same size as Volkswagen's small SUVs, the VW T-Cross and the VW T-Roc.

In fact, save for the stylish shape, it would be fair to argue that the Taigo is more part of that class than the coupé SUV one. That’s not an easy position to be in, because not only does the Taigo have to prove itself against those two, but it also has to go head to head with all their competitors.

That means taking on the Audi Q2, the Ford Puma, the Mini Countryman and the Skoda Kamiq. Does the VW Taigo really have what it takes against the best small SUVs? Read on to find out…

Overview

If you’re after something that’s stylish, comfortable and practical, the VW Taigo could be a great option for you. It's not as capable or fun as the Ford Puma but that’s forgivable given the superb ride, generous rear passenger space and the fact that you get plenty of toys even with our favourite entry-level version.

  • Comfortable ride
  • Surprisingly spacious interior
  • Cheap running costs
  • Rivals are more fun to drive
  • So-so interior quality
  • Reliability could be better
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Our Pick

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Volkswagen Taigo 1.0 TSI 110 Life 5dr review
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox

Despite its modest power output, the VW Taigo’s entry-level 1.0 TSI 95 petrol engine performs adequately enough.

It doesn’t need working too hard to get up to speed and does an admirable job of keeping momentum on uphill stretches of road. You don’t need to frantically change down a gear to keep the engine revving higher, for example.

If you often drive on motorways, we’d suggest upgrading to our favourite engine, the 1.0 TSI 115. With 113bhp, it’s a bit more flexible and makes it even easier to reach motorway speeds, cutting the 0-62mph sprint to 9.9 seconds – almost two seconds faster than the 95. We’d also stick to the manual gearbox, instead of the often slow auto gearbox.

For something even faster, the 1.5 TSI 150 is worth considering. With 148bhp, it has a 0-62mph sprint time of 8.2 seconds (faster than the Ford Puma Ecoboost mHEV 155), so it's even more willing when you need a burst of speed. It’ll also carry a full load of passengers and their luggage without a worry in the world. It’s good, but we don’t think it justifies the extra cost over the 115.

Suspension and ride comfort

The Taigo's ride is well sorted and sits in the sweet spot between the firm suspension of the Audi Q2 and the softness of the Citroën C3 Aircross. As a result, it smooths out potholes and bumpy roads without making the compromise of bouncing you around over undulating roads.

Surprisingly, even on the 17in alloy wheels that come with Match trim and above, the Taigo remains a comfy car. It certainly feels better on a bumpy road than the firmer Puma or the VW T-Cross, and you can go for the optional 18in alloys on R-Line trim without significantly affecting the ride.

Volkswagen TAIGO image
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If comfort is your main priority, the Skoda Kamiq or VW T-Roc will be a more pleasant companion on an undulating road.

VW Taigo rear cornering

Handling

While its great ride and light steering might make it a pleasure when you're tootling around town or commuting, the trade-off is that the Taigo isn’t particularly talented if you take to a country road with any kind of vigour.

Body lean is fairly well-controlled and there’s plenty of grip on offer, but the steering remains a little too light to give you much confidence. As such, the Taigo is not really a car that provides fun or lots of feedback. If you want something more entertaining, we’d advise you to turn your attention to the Puma.

R-Line trim comes with a Driving Profile Selection switch (it’s optional with Style trim), which allows you to swap between four driving modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport and Individual. The modes alter throttle response, the gearbox's aggressiveness (in the automatic), the weight of the steering, and other settings, but don't have much of an effect. We’d stick to Comfort mode.

Noise and vibration

Our favourite engine for the Taigo, the 1.0 TSI 115, is quiet enough at a cruise and never becomes particularly intrusive, even when you rev it hard. It's also very quiet at an idle, with very little vibration making its way into the cabin. At motorway speeds, road and wind noise are well isolated in all versions.

While the 115 comes with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, the 1.0 TSI 95 has to make do with five gears. That makes it the least refined of the line-up because it sits at higher revs when speeds increase, but even that version is good by class standards.

Both manual boxes are light and easy to use, with an equally light and long travel clutch pedal that encourages you to drive in a relaxed manner.

A seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox is optional with the 1.0 TSI 115 engine and standard with the 1.5 TSI 150. It changes gear smoothly enough, but we’d stick with the six-speed manual, due to it often being hesitant to change gears.

Driving overview

Strengths Comfortable ride; strong engines; refined at speed

Weaknesses Rivals are more fun to drive; automatic gearbox can be slow

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

Driving position and dashboard

When you climb inside the VW Taigo, you’ll find it easy to get comfy. All trim levels come with plenty of driver's seat adjustment – including lumbar support – and you can move the steering wheel up, down, in and out.

The interior is laid out in a sensible way, with all the relevant buttons and knobs stationed exactly where you’d expect, so you’ll quickly feel at home. What’s more, if you stick with entry-level Life trim, you get physical air-con controls, which are easier to use on the move than the touch-sensitive ones in higher trim variants.

All versions come with a digital display instead of more traditional analogue dials. The size depends on trim level, with Life and Match getting an 8.0in screen and the two higher trims a 10.3in one. Regardless of which you go for, the display is clear and can show a wide range of information alongside your speedo, including power output, fuel efficiency and even full width map on the larger screen.

Visibility, parking sensors and cameras

Thanks to the Taigo's raised seating position and slim front windscreen pillars, visibility out of the front is good and you’ll never struggle to see out at junctions. 

Despite the sloping roofline, it’s much the same story when you look over your shoulder, thanks to the large rear windows. Your view straight out the back isn’t great though, because the small rear window restricts your vision.

Fortunately, all versions of the Taigo come with front and rear parking sensors as standard and a system that’ll parallel park for you. If you upgrade to Match or above, you’ll also add a rear view camera.

Bright LED headlights are standard across the range, so you’ll be able to see well after dark. Style trim upgrades them to clever matrix headlights that allow you to keep full beam on without dazzling other drivers.

VW Taigo interior dashboard

Sat nav and infotainment

All Taigo models come with an 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system that has a few touch-sensitive shortcut buttons along the edge of the screen.

Volkswagen gives you plenty of toys as standard, including DAB radio, Bluetooth, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring (so you can use your phone apps on the screen). If you opt for either Style or R-Line trim, you also get built-in sat-nav

The graphics are sharp and the system is quick to respond to your prods, even if you press lots of buttons in quick succession. Like many infotainment systems now, the Taigo’s relies almost entirely on the touchscreen, which is more distracting to use on the move than rivals with physical buttons.

Quality

The quality of the Taigo's interior is better than it might seem at first glance, with pleasantly soft materials on top of the dashboard and a satisfying leather steering wheel on all trims.

Sadly, you’ll find no end of scratchy hard plastics everywhere else below eye level, and it could do with a bit more colour than the vast expanse of grey used.

We’d say that the Taigo's interior quality is only slightly better than in the Seat Arona (a car that's cheaper, even in its highest trim). That’s fairly disappointing, and we’d direct you to the Audi Q2 or Mini Countryman if plushness is important.

Interior overview

Strengths Good visibility; sound driving position; impressive driver display

Weaknesses Disappointing interior quality

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Front space

The VW Taigo offers plenty of headroom and seats that slide a good way back for lots of legroom, so even people measuring north of six feet won’t find themselves struggling for space in the front. The width is impressive, and you won’t find you and your front-seat passenger rubbing shoulders.

There’s ample storage space up front, too. The Taigo has a decent-sized glove box, door bins that can swallow a large bottle of water, a deep cubby in the central armrest and a space for your phone in front of the gearstick, which doubles as a wireless charger on all trims.

Rear space

Typically, cars with coupé SUV styling suffer when it comes to rear headroom. We’re happy to report that the Taigo isn’t one of those cars. In fact, even your tallest friends will be pleasantly surprised by the amount of head room on offer, which is only marginally less than in the front.

Leg room in the back is generous too, with ample knee room and a good amount of space under the front seats for passengers' feet. It’s not quite as spacious as the Skoda Kamiq (the class leader in this respect), but there’s definitely more space back there than you’ll enjoy in the Ford Puma.

It’s not quite the same story for a middle-seat passenger, because the centre seat is slightly raised. Six-footers will struggle for headroom there.

VW Taigo boot open

Seat folding and flexibility

To help you load larger items, the Taigo's rear seats can be split 60/40 and folded flat. That’s pretty standard for the class, but not as versatile as the 40/20/40 split folding seats you’ll find in the Mini Countryman.

Other than that, the Taigo’s rear seats don’t do anything fancy. In contrast, the Countryman and VW T-Cross offer seats that slide backwards to make space.

Boot space

If you plan to regularly carry lots of luggage, you’ll be happy to know that the Taigo gives you 440 litres of space to play with. That's more than you’ll find in a Seat Arona or Toyota Yaris Cross.

In real-world terms, it translates into six carry-on suitcases and will easily swallow a buggy or a good bulk buy at the cash and carry. 

If that’s still not enough space, the Skoda Kamiq and VW T-Roc will each swallow one more suitcase under their parcel shelves and the Puma an additional two.

Practicality overview

Strengths Good rear head room; decent boot volume

Weaknesses Rivals have more versatile rear seats

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

As a cash purchase, the entry-level VW Taigo costs about the same as the Ford Puma and undercuts the Mini Countryman, but costs more than the Skoda Kamiq. In fact, just like its size, its price sits perfectly in the middle of its two siblings, the VW T-Cross and the VW T-Roc.

Even better than that, your investment should be a sound one, because the Taigo is expected to hold its value well over three years – better than almost all its competitors, with the exception of its siblings.

It should also be relatively cheap to run. According to official WLTP figures, our favourite engine, the 1.0 TSI 115, with a manual gearbox should average more than 52mpg and produce 123g/km of CO2. Impressively, those numbers are almost as good as the Puma 1.0 Ecoboost Hybrid's.

Equipment, options and extras

Despite being the entry-level version, even Life trim gets plenty of toys, including 16in alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, electrically heated wing mirrors, adaptive cruise control and all the infotainment kit. Meanwhile, mid-spec Match doesn’t cost much more and adds 17in wheels, keyless entry and a reversing camera.

Taking a step up to Style trim adds clever LED matrix headlights, silver roof rails, sports seats and the upgraded infotainment system with built-in sat nav.

The most expensive trim, R-Line, does without the LED matrix headlights but gets sportier exterior styling alongside Style trim’s other toys.

Reliability

The Taigo as a model didn’t feature in the 2023 What Car? Reliability Survey but Volkswagen as a brand came 22nd out of the 32 car makers included. 

That’s not particularly impressive, and puts it below Toyota (second), Mini (third) and Skoda (16th) but above Renault and Audi.

VW gives you a three-year/60,000-mile warranty. That matches what Audi and Skoda offer but doesn’t come close to Hyundai’s five-year warranty, and both are eclipsed by Kia’s seven-year one.

VW Taigo interior driver display

Safety and security

When it was tested for safety by Euro NCAP, the Taigo was awarded the full five stars, scoring well at protecting adult and child occupants. That’s better than the four stars that the Puma was awarded but hard to compare with the Kamiq, due to that car being tested when the tests were less stringent.

In terms of safety equipment, the entry-level car comes with automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane-change side assist, hill-start assist and a driver alert system that detects fatigue. R-Line versions also get high-beam assist and a system that helps you in traffic jams.

Costs overview

Strengths Well priced; efficient engines; plenty of standard kit

Weaknesses Reliability score could be better

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FAQs

  • The Taigo doesn’t have many direct rivals because most coupé SUVs are much more expensive. Even so, you might also want to look at the Audi Q2, the Ford Puma and the Mini Countryman or the Taigo’s SUV siblings, the VW T-Cross and VW T-Roc.

  • Aside from the VW T-Roc being slightly bigger than the Taigo, the T-Roc doesn’t have the coupé-like styling the Taigo gets. The T-Roc also costs more and gets slightly more standard kit.

  • Slightly. In fact, the Taigo’s size is in between the VW T-Cross and the VW T-Roc. It’s the only one of the three to get a sleek coupé-like roof though, and that does eat into head room slightly.

At a glance
New car deals
Save up to £2,193
Target Price from £24,570
Save up to £2,193
or from £259pm
Swipe to see used car deals
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From £17,999
RRP price range £25,870 - £33,690
Number of trims (see all)4
Number of engines (see all)4
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)petrol
MPG range across all versions 47.9 - 52.3
Available doors options 5
Warranty 3 years / 60000 miles
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £1,433 / £2,002
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £2,867 / £4,004
Available colours