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The Volkswagen Taigun concept has debuted at the 2012 Sao Paulo international motor show in Brazil, giving the world its first look at the German manufacturer’s upcoming new-generation baby SUV.

Tipped to enter production in either 2013 or 2014, the Taigun will sit below the Tiguan in Volkswagen’s global showroom, targeting the likes of the Ford EcoSport, Holden Trax, Nissan Dualis and the Subaru XV in the compact crossover market.

At 3859mm long, 1728mm wide, 1570mm tall and riding on a 2470mm wheelbase, the Volkswagen Taigun concept is 568mm shorter, 81mm narrower, 116mm lower and 135mm shorter between the wheels than the Tiguan, making it similar in size to the Mini Countryman.

The Taigun’s tiny 1.0-litre three-cylinder direct injection turbocharged petrol engine produces 81kW of power and 175Nm of torque, motivating the 985kg four-seater from 0-100km/h in 9.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 186km/h.

Efficiency is also impressive, with the concept’s combined cycle fuel consumption rated at just 4.5 litres per 100km.

Volkswagen says the Taigun’s relatively torquey engine, high ground clearance and lower-body protection also gives it some off-road ablity.

The designers describe the styling as “independent, confident … logical and clean”, combining the bold horizontal lines already seen in the Tiguan and Touareg with strong wheel arches for a mature attitude and a chunky stance. Short overhangs and LED lights contribute to the modern look.

The cabin teams spaciousness and practicality with an emphasis on technology designed to appeal to smartphone and tablet users.

The boot swallows 280 litres of luggage and expands to 987 litres with the rear bench folded down, while a series of stowage bins add to the Taigun’s practicality.

A touchscreen panel dominates the minimalist dashboard, while the combination of crisp white, blue, yellow and satin chrome upholstery and trim bring light and life to the cockpit.

The Volkswagen Taigun is tipped to start below $25,000 when it reaches international markets in the coming years.