Volkswagen has stolen the headlines at the Sao Paulo Motor Show in Brazil, with a new small SUV concept based on the up!. Called the Taigun (an anagram of Tiguan, which sits above it in the range), it’s a car that VW thinks has huge potential in the booming South American market, but the production version will be sold around the world – including in the UK.
“If I make a concept, my aim is always to put it into production - it’s not just a dream,” Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, head of product development at VW, told us.
Built on a slightly stretched version of the ‘New Small Family’ platform, the Taigun is 319mm longer, 83mm wider and 81mm taller than the up!, and has a 50mm longer wheelbase.
It also features a more powerful version of the up!’s 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine, already seen in the up! GT Concept. Turbocharged and with direct-injection, it produces 109bhp and 175Nm of torque and returns fuel economy of 60.1mpg with CO2 emissions of 110g/km.
Power is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox and, with a kerbweight of just 985kg – 40kg more than the entry-level up! – performance is impressive for a car of this size. The 0-62mph sprint takes 9.2 seconds and the top speed is 116mph. “There will be no four-wheel-drive version; this is a city car designed for urban driving,” Hackenberg revealed.
Look closely at the bodywork, painted in ‘Seaside Blue’, and there are clear nods towards the up!’s design. The shoulder line that kicks up above the rear wheel arch is a feature from the up! three-door (although the Taigun uses a five-door layout), with the rear handle hidden in the C-pillar. A wider track, boxy wheel arches, roof rails with LED spotlights and metal scuff plates give it a proper off-road look, despite the compact dimensions.
The front end is reminiscent of the current Tiguan and Touareg, with the grille and headlights creating a horizontal bar across the front of the car. Here though the designers have taken it a step further with the horizontal bars actually cutting into the clusters. At the rear, square taillights are echoed by twin exhausts, while there’s a Range Rover-style split tailgate, plus the rear window can be opened independently.
On the inside there’s space for five passengers and a 280-litre boot, which grows to 987 litres with the rear bench folded – that’s just a few litres larger than the Polo. Trimmed in blue cloth to match the paint, the interior has a number of innovative features – such as digital temperature selectors built into the air vents, a grab handle for the front passenger and a trio of dials – including a turbo boost pressure gauge – on top of the dash. Rather than clipping into a cradle, the up!’s standard infotainment system has been integrated into the dashboard.
“We have to wait and see what the reaction to the concept is, but if it’s positive it would take two to two and half years to put into production,” Hackenberg explained. When it does make it to showrooms, expect prices to start from around £12,000.