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Volkswagen previews Up SUV

Easy, Taigun: The Up-based Volkswagen Taigun small SUV is technically a concept, but expect a production version to emerge before 2015.

Taigun concept at Sao Paolo motor show gives sneak peak at future VW small SUV


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23 Oct 2012

VOLKSWAGEN has signalled its intention to add a micro SUV to its range in the near future, revealing the Taigun concept at the Sao Paolo motor show overnight.

The chunky concept is based on a stretched version of the Up light-car platform and features the same tuned 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged engine to be used in the forthcoming Up GT hot hatch.

Based on overseas reports – and given Volkswagen’s track record at morphing show cars into road cars – expect Europe’s largest car-maker to create the production version of the vehicle from around 2015.

Taigun technically remains a concept, so it is too early to say whether it is on the radar for Australia, where it would compete against a new breed of small SUVs soon to arrive here including the Ford EcoSport, Holden Trax, Peugeot 2008 and Nissan Juke.

The front-drive Taigun’s length of 3860mm puts it about mid-way between the regular Up and the larger Polo, while its 1730mm width and 1570mm height exceeds both.

The macho styling – including flared wheelarches, underbody bash-plates and roof rails with LED lights – gives the car a tougher look than its larger Tiguan and Touareg SUV siblings, while the hidden rear doorhandles integrated into the C-pillar are a new touch for the German brand.

Short overhangs front and rear (708mm and 681mm respectively), wide 1473 mm wheel tracks and 17-inch alloy wheels with chunky 205/50 tyres give the concept a purposeful stance.

Behind the familiar VW ‘letterbox’ grille design sits a tuned version of the Up’s 1.0-litre three-cylinder direct-injection turbo-petrol engine – also slated for the Up GT – developing 81kW of power, and 175Nm of torque from a low 1500rpm.

This is almost 50 per cent more poke than the regular Up’s 1.0-litre unit, which lacks direct-injection and develops 55kW/95Nm.

The higher Taigun figures match those of the three-cylinder Ford EcoSport and Peugeot 2008, and take the 985kg VW from zero to100km/h in 9.2 seconds.

Combined fuel consumption is said to be 4.7 litres per 100km when matched to a six-speed manual gearbox.

The concept’s brightly coloured blue and white cabin is claimed to give the driver a commanding view of the road, while the rear cargo space (behind a two-piece folding tailgate) can fit 280 litres and expands to 987 litres when the rear seats are folded – an increase of 29L and 36L respectively on the Up hatchback.

One innovation inside the cabin is the presence of ventilation controls on the dashboard vents, rather than the instrument fascia.

The integrated infotainment system features phone and cable connectivity, while auxiliary gauges on the dash display oil and coolant temperature and turbo pressure.

Volkswagen research and development chief Ulrich Hackenberg told UK publication Autocar in Sao Paolo the company would consider Skoda and even Audi versions of the Taigun to bring economies of scale to production.

The German brand confirmed at the Brazilian show that a two-cylinder Up would hit the road from next year, with an engine adapted from the radical XL1 coupe.

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