• Volkswagen Taigun SUV concept shown in Brazil
  • Features turbocharged 3-cylinder engine
  • Could reach production, possibly for U.S.

Volkswagen recently pulled the cover off an all-new compact SUV concept that could find its way to the U.S. market within the next few years. Brazil's Sao Paulo Motor Show played host to the unveiling of the small SUV concept, officially dubbed the Taigun, which would slot below the popular Tiguan in the automaker's growing lineup.

On the outside, the Taigun shares many familiar stylistic traits with the Tiguan, including its bulging rear fenders, characteristic Volkswagen grille and clean, crisp tailgate design. New exterior styling features include rear door handles located high on the SUV's doors behind its windows and a rising belt line below the windows that gives the Taigun a compact, sporty look. Its small appearance is no illusion: At 151 inches long, the Taigun is just six inches longer than a MINI Cooper.

Inside, the Taigun emphasizes its status as a concept car, offering a no-frills interior replete with blue seats and door panels, a white dashboard and few controls. While the Taigun's interior might preview the direction for a future compact Volkswagen SUV's cabin, we expect that it will include more traditional styling--and more familiar colors--should it see production.

We also expect a production version of the Taigun to have more power than its concept counterpart. While the concept's 110-horsepower 1.0-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder engine might give it enough power for European or Latin American drivers in densely packed cities, the SUV will likely require more grunt if it's destined for shoppers in the U.S. That's emphasized by the concept SUV's quoted 0-to-60 mph acceleration time of more than 9 seconds, which places it a second and a half behind the Tiguan 2.0T.

While we can't say for sure whether the Taigun will become a reality, we think it has a high likelihood of reaching production--especially as fuel economy regulations tighten while SUV demand remains strong. And while we're even less certain if the SUV would make it to the U.S., the recent arrival of smaller cars like the Chevrolet Spark, FIAT 500, Scion iQ and Toyota Prius c suggest it could find buyers on American shores.

What it means to you: City-dwelling car owners may soon have a new SUV to consider if the new Volkswagen Taigun concept becomes a reality.

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Jeffrey Archer is fortunate to have turned a passion for cars into a career. His wide-ranging automotive experience includes work for automakers and dealers in addition to covering the news. When not writing, he spends his time searching for unique cars on AutoTrader.com.

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