Volkswagen Taigun concept confuses the São Paulo Motor Show

Aki Sugawara

Volkswagen's penchant for odd SUV and minivan names knows few bounds. The VW Toureg takes its name from a nomadic North African tribe that once helped VW's chairman on safari; the Tiguan is a portmanteau of the German words for tiger and iguana. This week, VW kept the beat going with the Taigun, a concept car unveiled in Brazil that slots below the Tiguan. Paradoxically, taigun is the Japanese word for a large horde or army. Word?

Aside from the spage-age interior, the crossover concept looks like a near-production car, but whether it gets released depends on public reaction at the São Paulo motor show, which opened its doors to press on Monday.  Shorter and narrower than Mark 7 Golf, the Taigun nonetheless boasts a more spacious cabin. That utility is paired with a 108-hp turbocharged three-cylinder motor, which returns about 50 mpg.

If green-lit, the Taigun may compete with mini-crossovers like the Nissan Juke, and help VW increase in sales in North and South America, where the thirst for small yet tall all-wheel-drive wagons seems to know few bounds. With rumors suggesting VW may consider a seven-passenger SUV for America, there's no telling what weird name awaits -- although we'll be able to guess what letter it starts with.

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