2022 Volkswagen Taos
As the U.S. market’s appetite for crossovers continues unabated, many of the hottest models are in the compact and subcompact segments. While the compact Tiguan already reigns as Volkswagen’s best-selling model worldwide including the U.S. market, the all-new Taos is designed to compete against smaller entry compact crossovers such as the Jeep Compass, Kia Seltos and Subaru Crosstrek. The 2022 Volkswagen Taos is 9.3 inches shorter in overall length Tiguan, yet it’s a bit of a tweener since this new crossover is also larger than many competitors.
Although smallest of the Volkswagen offerings, the Taos is easily identified as a VW crossover and shares design elements with each of the other models. The sculpted hood and wide three-bar grille are similar to the Atlas Cross Sport, and Taos has a more aggressive lower front fascia with side air intakes, black detailing and a large lower air intake.
The Taos profile reveals a strong beltline similar to Tiguan. The new crossover also has roof rails as standard equipment — black for Taos S with black mirrors, and silver for upper trim levels with body-color mirrors. At the rear, LED taillights are standard and Taos lettering appears centered at the lower edge of the tailgate below the license plate.
The 2022 Volkswagen Taos is offered in three trim levels: S, SE and SEL with the Taos S starting at $22,995, followed by SE at $27,245 and the top-level SEL at $31,490. All trim levels are offered with 4Motion all wheel drive beginning with Taos S at $25,040, SE at $28,695 and SEL at $33,045. Prices do not include a destination charge of $1,195.
Standard equipment on the 2022 VW Taos S includes LED headlights, DRLs and taillights; the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit; Car-Net with Wi-Fi capability; a 6.5-inch infotainment screen; heated front seats; heated side mirrors; and 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.
The 2022 VW Taos SE adds an 8-inch MIB3 infotainment system; wireless charging and App-Connect; remote start, a leatherette steering wheel and combination leatherette/cloth seating surfaces; a power driver’s seat; 18-inch alloy wheels and IQ.Drive. Safety features include front assist (to avoid or mitigate rear-end collisions), a blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert. Taos SE options include 18-inch black wheels for $395 and a panoramic sunroof for $1,200.
The top-level VW Taos SEL adds leather seating surfaces, Discover Media infotainment with navigation, dual-zone automatic climate control, a heated steering wheel, an 8-speaker BeatsAudio premium sound system, ambient lighting, ventilated front seats (AWD only). Taos SEL also adds LED projector headlights, an illuminated grille and 18-inch black wheels for FWD or 19-inch machined alloy wheels with AWD. Additional IQ.Drive safety features include adaptive cruise control stop and go, lane-keeping assist, emergency assist, dynamic road sign display, travel assist with traffic jam assist and light assist. The only option for Taos SEL is a panoramic sunroof for $1,200.
The full suite of IQ.Drive technologies is standard on Taos SEL, and portions of the full package are standard on Taos SE. Both Taos S and SE offer IQ.Drive packages that add additional features. The Taos S IQ-Drive Package for $995 adds front assist, a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control stop and go, lane-keeping assist, travel assist and emergency assist. The Taos SE IQ-Drive Package for $895 adds adaptive cruise control stop and go, lane-keeping assist, travel assist and emergency assist.
Under the Hood
The 2022 Volkswagen Taos draws power from a 1.5-liter direct-injection turbocharged TSI 4-cylinder engine — a larger version of the turbocharged 1.4-liter found in the Jetta. The 1.5-liter produces 158 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque from 1750 rpm for the Taos and gets mated with either an 8-speed automatic transmission for the front-wheel-drive version or a 7-speed DSG when fitted with 4Motion all-wheel drive.
The choice of different transmissions for Taos with front-wheel drive and 4Motion all-wheel drive seems to be for improved fuel economy on the FWD and more performance-oriented driving with 4Motion. Taos FWD earns EPA-estimated fuel-economy ratings of 28 mpg city / 36 mpg highway / 31 mpg combined, but those numbers drop to 25 mpg city / 32 mpg highway / 28 mpg combined when equipped with 4Motion.
The 2022 Volkswagen Taos gets built on the same MQB architecture as other models in the Volkswagen lineup, featuring a strut-type front suspension but utilizing different rear suspension designs for FWD and 4Motion models. Taos 4Motion receives a more sophisticated multilink rear suspension while the front-drive model has a torsion beam design.
Inside, the 2022 Volkswagen Taos features a clean, horizontal design that wraps into the door panels, standard digital instrumentation for all trim levels, and an integrated infotainment screen. The Volkswagen infotainment interface continues to be one of our favorites in the industry, since it is both intuitive to use and possesses a great combination of knobs and touchscreen buttons. The center console provides a decent-size storage bin in front of the shifter, and a tray in the dash above the infotainment screen holds smaller items.
The standard Digital Cockpit features an 8-inch screen with two views and customizable widgets. The top-level SEL trim adds the 10.25-inch fully configurable Digital Cockpit Pro with three views as well as full-screen navigation and 21 viewing options including car status, navigation, driving data, phone information and driver-assistance features.
The 2022 Volkswagen Taos has an attractive design both inside and out. The exterior has a sporty look for a crossover, as well as balanced proportions for a cohesive design that incorporates current Volkswagen elements. Inside, the clean, horizontal design and infotainment screen integrated into the dash are welcome touches — a clear departure from the current trend of tablet-style screen placement protruding up out of the dash. The SE adds cloth / leatherette combination seating, while the SEL features leather seating surfaces.
On the Road
The new 1.5-liter turbo engine in the 2022 Volkswagen Taos delivers max torque at a mere 1750 rpm, and acceleration is quick in the front-drive version. The 8-speed automatic provides smooth upshifts and quick downshifts as needed. In dry conditions, the Taos feels balanced and composed, even with all the power going to the front wheels. The steering is quick and direct, adding to the crossover’s uber- responsive feeling. The Taos has been tuned for a balanced combination of comfort and performance — no one will mistake it for a GTI, but it feels like a sporty, fun compromise for this market segment.
The Taos 4Motion delivers power to all four wheels as needed and gains a performance advantage with its DSG transmission. Once the Taos 4Motion is moving, the shifts are quick and precise with power distributed instantaneously to the front or rear wheels to maintain balance in all conditions. Although we didn’t have a chance to try this Taos in wet or slippery conditions, 4Motion will definitely be the preferred choice when the going gets tough. As with other Volkswagen DSG-equipped models, we do notice a bit of hesitation when accelerating from a start, which can be disconcerting when turning across oncoming traffic or accelerating onto a busy highway.
Right for You?
Volkswagen has announced that 2021 will be the last year for the Golf in the U.S. market, with only the high-performance GTI continuing, so it will be interesting to see whether Golf buyers will embrace the Taos — which is 8.2 inches longer than Golf — as an alternative choice. Although it is not as nimble or quick as the Golf, Taos does offer a sporty, fun driving experience for its size while also offering more rear-seat room and cargo capacity than smaller competitors.
Pros: Attractive design; fun driver; economical; larger than competitors; available AWD.
Cons: Safety features optional to keep price low; AWD expensive on Taos S.
Bottom Line: A competitive alternative to other models in the hot compact crossover market, the 2022 Taos is an attractive, fun new edition to consider.