In the U.S. market, the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V or Volkswagen Tiguan is considered a "small" SUV. But in much of the rest of the world, C-segment, whether sedan or crossover, is midsized. So to better address the needs and tastes of consumers in emerging markets that want something a little smaller, Volkswagen has debuted the Taigun concept in India. The name is just a word scramble of "Tiguan," as far as we can tell, unlike the lengthy and tortured explanation of what the name Tiguan means (evidently a portmanteau of "Tiger" and "Iguana"). We're assuming Taigun was chosen because it has a familial similarity to Tiguan, as well as sounding like "Typhoon," appropriate considering its target market lies mainly in tropical regions.
Regardless of what you think of the name, the Taigun is a pretty sharp-looking little rig in our eyes, looking like a cross between the recently introduced Up! subcompact and the larger Tiguan. As has become a trend among many VWAG products, as well as industry-wide, the Taigun gets LED daytime running lights. Like the last-generation Toyota RAV4, the Taigun has an exterior-mounted spare tire, likely to maximize space utilization of its cargo area, which is a somewhat snug 10 cubic feet with the rear seats up, and 35 cubic feet with them folded. The lower portion of the tailgate swings left, while the rear glass flips up.
Dimensionally, the Taigun is noticeably smaller than the Tiguan, but not quite tiny to the same extent as a Smart ForTwo or Fiat 500. Overall length is 152 inches, and 157.3 when you include the spare tire. Width is 68 inches, and the wheelbase is 97.2 inches. In comparison, the current Tiguan is 174.5 inches long, 71.2 inches wide, and rides on a 102.5-inch wheelbase.
Under the hood is a 1.0-liter turbocharged I-3 engine producing 110 hp an 129 lb-ft of torque mated to a six-speed manual transmission. This combination is claimed to give a 0-60 time of around 9 seconds flat, and a top speed of 115 mph.
On the inside, the Taigun gets clever, intuitive HVAC vents with central knobs that control both temperature and fan speed, and a central touchscreen that connects with users' smartphones. For the moment, the concept was shown to judge customer reaction to such a model in emerging markets such as India. If it does go into production, it will likely be sold in cost-and-economy conscious emerging markets. But with Jeep about to launch a global subcompact SUV below the Liberty and Compass, and Ford reportedly still mulling the possibility of bringing the EcoSport crossover stateside, never say never.