Reasons why I chose the Taigun over the Kushaq as my Baleno replacement

Both, the Kushaq and Taigun are hands down best in performance, dynamics and safety in this segment. Looks are subjective, and features is the only area where they are slightly behind.

BHPian shashank511 recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Last month I purchased a Wild Cherry Red Taigun GT+ MY23. I wanted to upgrade from my Baleno to the compact SUV segment (not sub 4-meter) and my final shortlist was the Kushaq, Taigun, and Seltos.

Many folks out there always have this question Taigun or Kushaq. I hope this post will help them take a decision.

Let's start:

My priorities - Good looks, great to drive, both engine and dynamics wise, space, practicality and decent feature list. Above all, safety.

There are more models available in this segment including the Grand Vitara, Hyryder, Creta and Astor.

First, let's talk about how I eliminated them one by one.

Didn't even bother about MG. MG belongs to the SAIC group which is a Chinese state owned company, and I know we will always have some dependency on them when it comes to commodities, I don't want to relate with them on such a large scale. Have even stopped using Chinese phones or any other major devices.

P.S: I am not judging anyone who buys Chinese products, everyone has their own personal preference.

Next, Grand Vitara or Hyryder. Anyone who is looking for these can easily take a decision based on the brand they trust and the look of both. These two differ very slightly only in front looks, and rest is exactly same. From engine tuning, to suspension, to interior, etc. I went to Nexa once, just to check the Vitara, and it surely is a good looker with plenty of features. But I was never interested in either of them, purely based on two reasons:

  • Hybrid, I am not currently much confident in, besides it eats into boot space. And the 1.5NA mild hybrid is a very dull engine for a car this big. I have even heard in many reviews  that hybrid is good till around 80, but slows down when achieving expressway speeds.
  • Rear space, leg room wise I felt it was slightly small, even though it was not a deal breaker. I am a tall guy.

Now, lets come to the Seltos and Creta. These two share a similar platform, but come with biggest differences when it comes to sibling rivalry. For me, the Creta was instantly eliminated, because personally, I don't like its looks. Even though its interior is really good, and is feature packed. The Seltos, for me is a good looker, is feature loaded and good to drive. Some prefer the Creta in terms of features, but I think Seltos has more useful features, four sands apart when compared to the Creta - 360 camera, lane watch camera, HUD, and telescopic steering. I can easily trade panoramic sunroof and electronic parking brake for those.

The Seltos 1.4 Turbo is a good engine. DCT gearbox is fast, ride is stiff, handling is good, steering ok. Stiff suspension does give it decent body control, but ride I felt was very harsh among all the ones which I took a test drive of. The Creta on the other hand has slightly softer suspension, making a bit more prone to body roll, but much better ride. Also the Seltos is a good looker, but its very common on road these days and doesn't stand apart. I know it would have had a great after sales experience, but for me the real kicker was safety. Everyone knows Koreans have heavily compromised on structural safety against their international counterpart, and hence an average 3 star GNCAP rating.

Now comes in the Kushaq and Tthe aigun. Lets talk about the experience one by one:

  • Design - I like design of both cars, they look more crossover than SUV, but for me its not a bad thing. I prefer the rear of Taigun in comparison to the Kushaq though.
  • Engine - I test drove the 1.5L with DSG. Both excellent, best in the segment. Fell in love with it. Upgrading from Baleno, it was a huge difference for me. I also drive my father's Verna 1.6 petrol(121hp) a lot, and even compared to that it was a huge step-up.
  • Ride and Handling - Very good. Its obviously not sedan like, but is really good for a crossover/SUV. Suspension is bit stiff. Low speed ride feels a bit harsh, but high speed stability is good, and occupant movement on undulations is very well contained. The car also doesn't bounce much, I think the suspension rebound is very nice. I felt the Kushaq had slightly plusher ride. Not a huge difference though.
  • Features - Both have good amount of features but competition is slightly ahead. It was not a deal breaker for me, but I would have loved powered seats, 360 camera or at-least front parking sensors, and adaptive cruise control. ADAS in India is currently not a priority for me.
  • Safety - No debate, 5 stars for both adult and child. Shows how far they have gone in ensuring structural safety of the vehicle. Was one of the prime deciding factors for me.
  • Practicality - Space all around is very good, except the rear middle seat. Its best for kids below 14 years of age. Legroom is very good, front and back, and the boot space though not class leading, the way its designed can take in lots of luggage. Don't go by numbers here.

Both, the Kushaq and Taigun are hands down best in performance, dynamics and safety in this segment. Looks are subjective, and features is the only area where they are slightly behind. Its not a deal breaker, as they come with plenty of good and useful features like wireless Android Auto and Apple Car Play, auto start/stop, ventilated seats, sunroof, cylinder deactivation, etc.

Now finally the reasons why I chose the Taigun. In terms of driving experience, I felt the Taigun gearbox was bit smoother and quick, and the Kushaq's ride was slightly more plusher. The difference was not day and night, and both are felt only when driven one after another. But this was not the obvious reason I went with the Taigun. There were three main reasons why I selected it over Kushaq:

I loved the tail light and the front headlight design. Even though the second barrel is a dummy, overall it looks good, and comes with LED turn indicators in comparison to the Kushaq which has a halogen one. Also the interior color of the Taigun including seat color is I found more appealing. The Kushaq has a dull grey color on seats which I found a bit depressing.

Exclusivity. You can't tell the Kushaq 1L and 1.5L apart. They don't have any difference in and out. I don't think its a bad thing to do a little bit of show off if you are spending more money on a bigger engine. The Taigun has GT branding all around, and even the infotainment system displays it while booting up. The Kushaq's Monte Carlo edition does have some exclusivity, but its very pricey for just a bit of cosmetic upgrades.

More consistency with the feature set. The Kushaq 1.5 Style comes with digital instrument cluster, but it is compromised on the infotainment system which is an older 8-inch one and even lacks wireless Android Auto and Car Play. The 1.5 Style Anniversary Edition does have a 10-inch screen, but has the analogue instrument cluster. And though the Monte Carlo has both, again, the pricing for me was not justified. The Taigun doesn't have this problem. It comes with both 10 inch screen and a digital instrument cluster. And MY23 is now coming with ventilated seats and rear fog lamp as well.

So there you go. These were the three main reasons why I eventually went ahead with the Taigun. That aside, these both are similar in almost all aspect sand are excellent cars overall.

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