7
Probably not an Autocar reader’s cup of tea but has a decent interior and is quite likeable to drive

I don’t know if you saw the gap, but Volkswagen did. The Taigo is a crossover-coupé-SUV-type thing with a sloping back that slots into the small space between the T-Cross, which is 150mm shorter, and the T-Roc, which is 37mm longer.

It’s based on Volkswagen’s MQB platform, like the Polo and T-Cross, so is a front-wheel-drive, internally combusted small car.

Confused by VW's growing model range? This new compact crossover slots into the small space between the T-Cross and T-Roc

Tempting though it is to call small crossovers like this niche-fillers, it’s worth remembering that more than a third of all Volkswagen’s sales are accounted for by its seven SUVs (or something approximating them; the margins meld these days).

The Taigo has 1.0-litre and 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engine options. The 1.0-litre comes in 94bhp or 109bhp flavours, with a manual or, on the 109bhp car, a dual-clutch automatic (DCT) option. Our test car was the 148bhp 1.5 TSI, which comes with a dual-clutch automatic gearbox only.

The Taigo feels spacious for a small car, and the sloping roofline doesn’t overly impinge on passenger space. Behind my own driving position, I had reasonable knee room and only an inch or so spare above my head, so it can fit four adults easily, while there’s a 438-litre boot – not much less than in the upright T-Cross.

The interior’s materials are pretty good as well: harder and scratchier than in something like the Golf, even high in the cabin where you'd sometimes find softer materials at this price. But it feels well constructed, with miniscule tolerances and good fit and consistent surfacing. VW is good at this sort of thing.

Back to top

The ergonomics are fine, too. Yes, there’s a lot of touchscreen and the instruments are digital, but the climate controls are separate, the lane-keeping assistance is switchable via the steering wheel/stalk and there’s even an actual manual handbrake, if you remember those.

It’s inoffensive to drive, too. The steering is smooth, the ride is mostly settled, bar the odd jiggle around town on 18in wheels, and there aren’t too many hints that it’s a tall car. Roll is well contained.

Sure, the Polo – itself not the most dynamic car in its class – changes direction more readily, but the Taigo is relatively sprightly, albeit with the odd small nibble of torque steer. The steering is otherwise very smooth and consistent; you can change the weight of it with different drive modes but it doesn't get much different. Most VWs have a consistent easygoing nature to their drive and this is no exception; it's harmless and not entirely unfun. And given its little bit of extra height, it’s easy to get in and out of.

Taigo prices start at £22,450 and rise to £29,140 for the 1.5 TSI R Line. That’s a fair chunk more than for the Polo but competitive with other crossovers like the Ford Puma or Nissan Juke. If you just consider their length it makes superminis like a Polo or Fiesta look like a bargain, but they do have better interiors and, often, more powerful engines. Whatever, the formula obviously works, and does here, too. It's a likeable car.