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Volkswagen’s Taigun is likely to be the first car on the up! platform to come to India. The Taigun concept, based on a stretched version of the VW up! NSF (New Small Family) platform, made its debut at the Sao Paulo International Motor Show in Brazil in October and previews VW’s future SUV face.

Measuring 3,859mm (just under the crucial 4m mark) in length, the concept features a 108 bhp, three-cylinder, turbocharged 1.0-litre petrol motor. The engine bay of the up! is currently not wide enough to take a four-cylinder engine, but it could be modified to receive the new 1.5-litre, four-cylinder diesel that VW is developing for India. However, it’s also likely that by the time the Taigun is launched in India, VW will have launched a new range of state-of-the-art compact diesel engines that would include a compact three-cylinder unit. VW’s R&D boss, Ulrich Hackenberg, told Autocar India at the Geneva Motor Show in March: “A future three-cylinder 1.4-litre diesel is a possibility for the Taigun and we are looking at it."

There will be no four-wheel-drive version of this compact SUV as the NSF platform has been designed to be exclusively front-wheel drive. However, the Taigun will feature an electronic stability program.

The Taigun concept car weighs just 985kg, though it remains to be seen how much heavier it will be in production form. With its bold, clean styling, it is sure to appeal to the Indian psyche. It looks a lot less radical than the Ford EcoSport and its simple lines are designed to appeal to everyone and offend no one. As for the interiors, VW designed them to resemble the simplicity of the latest smartphones. The clean, minimalist look aims at being visually clear and simple to use.

Hackenberg also said VW is first developing the Taigun for South America. The car can subsequently be an option for India too. So it is unlikely that the Indian market will get the Taigun before 2016.

For the Indian market, however, the Taigun could be stretched, closer to the 4m mark (the cut-off point for lower excise duty), with a further increase in wheelbase from the current 2,470mm. “This will offer more interior space, especially rear legroom which is important for Indian customers," said Hackenberg. If this happens, VW will be keen on localizing the Taigun to a large extent, as it will help it to bring the up! hatchback, saloon and other offerings on the same platform to India to help achieve economies of scale. It is also likely that Škoda will have its own version that could be positioned under the Taigun.

The senior management at VW has been looking at the success of the Logan-based Duster closely and is taking a keen interest in VW’s performance in India. They know that competitively priced compact vehicles are the way to the future in markets like India

The Taigun is aimed directly at the Ford EcoSport, which also made its debut in Brazil and goes on sale in India next month.

Content powered by Autocar India.

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