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VW Taigun vs Skoda Kushaq vs Hyundai Creta vs Kia Seltos

Despite being the second-largest car manufacturer in the world, the VW group has been an ordinary performer in the Indian market. But now, Volkswagen is finally in hustle mode to introduce its brand new car - the Taigun.

Volkswagen Taigun

What you'll like:

  • Has its own fresh, European character and complements its cousin (the recently launched Skoda Kushaq) nicely in a segment dominated by Indian, Korean and Chinese SUVs
  • Unmistakably VW styling matched with solid European build quality
  • Cabin has good legroom to offer, supportive seats, perfect ergonomics & lots of storage
  • 148 BHP engine makes the Taigun one of the most fun-to-drive crossovers in the segment!
  • Sporty 1.0L & 1.5L turbo-petrols are mated to slick 6-speed MTs & smooth ATs
  • Sorted suspension offers a balanced ride & handling package
  • Safety features include up to 6 airbags, ESC (all variants), 3-point seatbelts for all, electronic differential lock, brake disc wiping, multi-collision brake and more
  • Features like active cylinder tech, ventilated seats (weirdly 1.0 TSI only), sunroof, 10-inch touchscreen with wireless Android Auto and CarPlay, auto headlamps & wipers etc.
  • Advantages over the Kushaq = a top AT variant with 6 airbags, design that stands out more, cabin 'feels' better, fabric seats are executed in a nicer manner...

What you won't:

  • No 1.5L diesel is a major disadvantage in a world where petrol costs over 100 bucks/litre
  • GT customers will need to choose between the rock (potential DQ200 transmission problems) and a hard place (GT manual variant misses out on many top-end features)
  • Narrow cabin width makes a 5th adult completely unwelcome. Best for 4 onboard
  • Interior colour scheme and quality don't feel up to traditional VW standards. Some polarising details too (chrome outside, painted plastics inside...)
  • Sure lacks the street cred / presence offered by some competitors
  • VW’s after-sales service can be a hit or miss. Many VW owners find it expensive too
  • Missing some now-expected features such as 6 airbags in the MTs, a subwoofer, driving modes (sport), panoramic sunroof, 360-degree camera, electric driver's seat adjustment & rear window blinds
  • Turbo-petrols are very sensitive to driving style. FE will drop drastically when you drive hard
  • Kushaq's 'clever' touches are missing = no spot on top of the dashboard to place a deity, no smartphone holders on the front seatbacks, no ticket clip on the windshield, no elastic band in the doorpad to keep items in place, or even something as simple as the small reflective tapes on the doorpads

Review Link

Skoda Kushaq

What you'll like:

  • A breath of fresh (European) air in a sea of Korean, Chinese & Indian SUVs
  • Classy exterior & interior styling matched with solid European build quality
  • Cabin has good legroom to offer, supportive seats, perfect ergonomics & lots of storage
  • 148 BHP engine makes the Kushaq one of the most fun-to-drive crossovers in the segment
  • Sporty 1.0L & 1.5L turbo-petrols are mated to slick 6-speed MTs & smooth ATs
  • Sorted suspension offers a balanced ride & handling package
  • Safety features include 6 airbags (sadly MT only), ESC (all variants), 3-point seatbelts for all, electronic differential lock, brake disc wiping, multi-collision brake and more
  • 6-year extended warranty & 4-year all inclusive service packages available
  • Features like active cylinder tech, ventilated seats, sunroof, wireless Android Auto and CarPlay, audio system with a punchy subwoofer, auto headlamps & wipers etc.

What you won't:

  • No 1.5L diesel is a major disadvantage in a world where petrol costs over 100 bucks / litre
  • DQ200 DSG transmission has a history of poor reliability & breakdowns in India
  • Narrow width makes a 5th adult completely unwelcome. Best for 4 onboard
  • Lovely 1.5L TSI is only available on the top variant
  • At 385 litres, boot space is lesser than its direct rivals (Creta & Seltos = 433L)
  • Sure lacks the street cred / presence offered by some competitors
  • Skoda’s notorious dealerships & after-sales horror stories
  • Missing some now expected features such as 6 airbags on the ATs, driving modes (sport), panoramic sunroof, 360-degree camera, electric driver's seat adjustment & regular USB ports
  • Turbo-petrols are very sensitive to driving style. FE will drop drastically when you drive hard

Review Link

Hyundai Creta

What you'll like:

  • A superbly engineered all-rounder that delivers a premium experience
  • We find the Hyundai Creta to be well-priced for what it offers
  • User-friendly interiors with sufficient space & good quality parts
  • Loved the 1.4L turbo-petrol & 1.5L diesel. These are fantastic engines
  • Smooth & competent automatic gearboxes available. With the useful "auto-hold" feature too
  • Sorted road manners & handling for a Hyundai, including on the highway. You will be surprised!
  • The Creta's safety package includes 6 airbags, ESP, all-wheel disc brakes, TPMS etc.
  • Impressive kit (panoramic sunroof, paddle shifters, Bose sound system, cooled seats, cabin air purifier & loads more)
  • Hyundai's competent after-sales service, fuss-free ownership & upto 5-years standard warranty

What you won't:

  • Oddball love it or hate it styling. We find the Creta's exterior design to be too weird & futuristic
  • Firmer suspension isn't as cushy as the 1st-gen Creta. It is more comfortable than the Seltos though
  • Back seat's width makes it better for 2 adults and a kid, rather than 3 adults
  • Some misses (no auto wipers, 360-degree camera, illuminated window buttons, full-size spare tyre on top trims)
  • Dual-clutch ATs (like the Hyundai Creta Petrol DCT) have a history of poor reliability in India
  • Diesel’s 113 BHP & 250 Nm – although adequate – are the lowest in the segment. Old 1.6L CRDi was superior
  • No manual transmission available with the fast 1.4L Petrol (Seltos offers this combo)
  • The stiffer Seltos has an edge in the handling department. IMHO, the Kia is better looking too
  • You get bigger SUVs & Crossovers for the same money (e.g. Hector, Harrier, XUV500)

Review Link

Kia Seltos

What you'll like:

  • A superbly engineered all-rounder that delivers a premium experience
  • Handsome, contemporary styling. Looks very sharp
  • We find the Seltos to be well-priced for what it offers
  • Nice, user-friendly interiors with sufficient space & good quality
  • Loved the 1.4L turbo-petrol & 1.5L diesel. They are BS6 compliant too
  • Both the automatics - Diesel AT & Petrol DCT - are simply fantastic!
  • Mature on-road behavior, including at highway speeds. A+ brakes as well
  • Unusually wide variant offering. Seems there is something for everyone
  • Safety kit includes 6 airbags, ESP, all-wheel disc brakes, blind spot monitor, TPMS etc.
  • Impressive kit (360 degree camera, HUD, front parking sensors, Bose sound system, cooled seats, cabin air purifier & loads more)

What you won't:

  • Barely managed 3-stars in the GNCAP crash tests (full discussion)
  • Firm suspension. Liveable, but bad roads will bother you (especially on 17" wheel variants)
  • Back seat's width makes it better for 2 adults and a kid, rather than 3 adults
  • Niggles are being reported by owners (details here)
  • Some misses (illuminated window buttons, thinner spare tyre on top trims, no dual-tone option on GTX+ / HTX+)
  • Dual-clutch ATs (like the Petrol DCT) have a history of poor reliability in India
  • Diesel’s 113 BHP & 250 Nm – although adequate – are the lowest in the segment
  • Extremely confusing & complicated variant spread. We still haven’t gotten the hang of it!
  • Kia's after-sales service quality is an unknown. We await details in our ownership reports
  • You get bigger SUVs & Crossovers for the same money (e.g. Hector, Harrier, XUV500)

Review Link

Jeep Compass

What you'll like:

  • Handsome Cherokee-inspired styling & loads of character
  • Solid build. Feels very robust, just as a Jeep should
  • Powerful 2.0L diesel. Good driveability in the city, fast on the open road
  • 1.4L turbo-petrol makes 161 BHP! Offers fast performance
  • Mature suspension setup, nicely-tuned EPS & rock-solid stability
  • Capable AWD available (unlike some competitors)
  • City-friendly: Compact size, higher seating, smooth gearshift, soft clutch & low NVH
  • Topnotch safety: Strong all-disc brakes, a plethora of electronic aids & 6 airbags
  • We think the Compass is well-priced for what it offers. The driving experience & overall package feel premium

What you won't:

  • Small size for the price! A sentiment echoed by most people who saw it in person
  • Suitable for 4 adults, not 5. Boot is small too
  • Tiny dealership network. Plus, after-sales quality & long-term reliability are unknown factors
  • AWD's premium is over 2 lakh rupees on-the-road
  • Turning radius of 5.65m is wide. Also, 17º approach angle is too low
  • Missing goodies (blanks on the steering, lumbar adjustment, reclinable rear seats)

Review Link

Review Link - Petrol AT

Link to Report - The Trailhawk

Tata Harrier

What you'll like:

  • Smooth & competent 6-speed automatic transmission
  • Stunning looks & strong road presence. Solid build too
  • Classy, spacious cabin with comfortable seats & a chilling air-con
  • Fantastic 9-speaker audio system. Sound quality & bass are enjoyable
  • The Harrier's 2.0L diesel now gets 30 BHP more & offers good performance
  • 205 mm of ground clearance + terrain response system. Latter will make monsoon driving safer
  • Topnotch safety kit includes 6 airbags, ESP, break reminder, hill hold, brake disc wiping & more
  • Features such as the panoramic sunroof, Eco & Sport modes, auto headlamps & wipers, cruise control…

What you won't:

  • Heavy steering gets cumbersome at parking / u-turn / crawling speeds (<5 km/h)
  • Harrier AT’s focus is on smoothness & comfort; gearbox is not the most responsive
  • Concerns over niggles & long-term reliability associated with Tata cars
  • Service visit every 6 months / 7,500 km (12-months is the norm today)
  • Diesel engine does get loud at 3,500 rpm & its engine note is quite sad too
  • No petrol option (almost all competitors offer it). No AWD for enthusiasts either
  • Although improved, the Harrier's steering @ 120 km/h is still a level too sensitive
  • Tata's after-sales service quality is a hit or miss. Remains a gamble

Review Link

Review Link - Diesel AT

MG Hector

What you'll like:

  • Big size & lots of bling for the money! We find the Hector to be well-priced
  • A spacious cabin that can easily seat 5 adults. Massive 587 litre boot too
  • Fiat-sourced 2.0L diesel is simply fantastic
  • Compliant ride quality. Suspension is tuned for comfort
  • Lots of kit (panoramic sunroof, 360-degree camera, electric seats & tailgate etc.)
  • ‘Connected’ Tablet ICE with an embedded SIM & lovely sound quality
  • 5-year / unlimited km warranty with roadside assistance
  • Top safety equipment includes 6 airbags, ESP, HSA, all-wheel disc brakes, TPMS & more

What you won't:

  • Awkward styling on the side & rear profiles. Looks weird from some angles
  • Sloppy high-speed handling, noticeable body roll & easy understeer
  • The petrol engine is “adequate” at best. Its guzzling Automatic variant is unimpressive
  • No Diesel AT (Creta, Seltos, XUV500, Hexa offer this combination, which we love)
  • Some annoyances like the ~6 meter turning radius, strange rpm meter…
  • Small after-sales network. Service quality & long-term reliability are big unknowns
  • Waiting period runs into a couple of months
  • Don’t get blinded by the British branding. This is a Chinese car

Review Link

Mahindra XUV500

What you’ll like:

  • A well-engineered, contemporary SUV with a value-for-money price tag
  • More mature styling. Front end no longer looks garish
  • Acres of space on the 1st & 2nd seat rows
  • Competent engine delivers fantastic urban driveability, as well as fast highway performance
  • Balanced ride & handling package
  • Safety kit includes 6 airbags, ESP with rollover mitigation, ABS + EBD and all-wheel disc brakes
  • Expansive feature list (sunroof, touchscreen ICE, powered driver's seat, cruise control etc.)

What you won’t:

  • Absolutely no luggage capacity with all the seats in place
  • Cramped 3rd seat row is best suited to children only. A sliding middle row is sorely missed
  • Interior quality, although better, still has a lot of scope for improvement
  • Clutch is lighter now, but has a long travel range & high resting point. Gets cumbersome in traffic
  • Niggles & issues, as reported by existing XUV500 owners
  • Mahindra's inconsistent sales & service experiences

Review Link

Review Link - Diesel AT

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