Volkswagen has signaled its intention to join the burgeoning small SUV/crossover ranks with the Taigun concept unveiled at the Sao Paulo auto show in Brazil.
The four-seat Taigun previews the look and mechanical layout for a new Volkswagen model to be positioned and priced below the Tiguan compact SUV.
The new SUV will be launched toward the middle of the decade as a rival to vehicles such as the Mini Countryman, Nissan Juke and Chevrolet Trax.
By showing the Taigun two years before its planned market introduction, Volkswagen hopes to receive valuable feedback from potential customers. The Taigun is set to provide the basis for a new family of vehicles, including similar-sized offerings from Seat, Skoda and possibly Audi.
Although the concept was unveiled in Brazil, the head of Volkswagen research and development, Ulrich Hackenberg, said the production version of the new SUV is "not only planned to be sold in South America but around the world."
Based around a stretched version of Volkswagen's NSF (New Small Family) steel platform used for the Up minicar, the Taigun's exterior styling was developed by a team of in-house designers working under Volkswagen brand design boss Klaus Bischoff.
It takes on a more rugged and functional form than the Tiguan, with four front-hinged doors and a tailgate that extends well into the rear bumper.
Bischoff describes the new SUV's appearance as "confident, logical and clean." As seen on recent new Volkswagen models, the Taigun is dominated by horizontal design elements, while various details aim to provide visual links to the Tiguan, most notably the taillamps.
The Taigun is 3859 mm long, 1728 mm wide and 1570 mm tall with a wheelbase of 2470 mm, which is large in relation to its exterior length. The results: short overhangs and appealing proportions.