The most tangible proof to date that VW is serious about introducing a sub-Tiguan scaled crossover SUV into its lineup came this week in Brazil where the Volkswagen Taigun Concept made its debut at the 2012 Sao Paolo Auto Show. While no final decision has been made about its future, VW has run up an impressive track record when it comes to turning well-engineered one-offs into production vehicles. Sadly, even if the Taigun does make it to volume-build status, it's highly unlikely we'll ever see it in a U.S. showroom.

Borrowing key visual cues from the current Tiguan and Touareg, the Taigun Concept is based on the automaker's New Small Family platform which also underpins the diminutive Up! model. Like its larger SUV siblings, the Taigun matches its purposeful body contours with a relatively long wheelbase, wide track, short front/rear overhangs and generous ground clearance. Other welcome touches include a convenient split tailgate, LED spotlights on the roof rails, front/rear skid plates, underbody protection 17-inch alloy wheels with 205/50 tires.

Melding practicality with a minimalist flair, the cabin of the VW Taigun Concept offers room for four and a cargo bay that can open from 9.9 cu ft to 34.9 cu ft. Its underlying emphasis on simple, straightforward functionality can be seen in certain elements that do double duty -- like air outlets that also control the blower speed and temperature settings. It also has an infotainment system designed to easily pair with a smartphone.

The Volkswagen Taigun Concept is fitted with a new turbocharged/direct-injected 1.0-liter/3-cylinder engine that develops 108 horsepower engine and 129 lb-ft of torque which gets sent to the front wheels via a 6-speed manual transmission. Volkswagen says that's sufficient muscle to take the 2,172-lb Taigun from 0-62 mph in a respectable 9.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 115 mph while delivering a combined fuel consumption rating of 60.1 mph on the Euro cycle.

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