2022 Volkswagen Taos
MSRP: $22,995 (S) As Tested: $33,080 (SEL)
New for 2022, Taos slots in as the fifth member of VW’s SUV lineup, joining Tiguan, Atlas, Atlas Sport and the electric ID.4. My Taos tester was an SEL with Front wheel drive. S and SE trims are also offered and AWD can be added to any Taos for an additional $1,450-$2,045, depending on trim level.
Taos competes in the subcompact SUV segment (three times fast, I dare you). All trims share the same motor, but have different transmissions. The turbocharged,1.5 litre four cylinder engine is rated at 158 h.p. @ 5,500 r.p.m. and 184 lb.-ft. of torque @1,750 r.p.m. FWD models get an 8-speed transmission, while AWD’s have a 7-speed dual clutch automatic. There is no manual option, which is regrettable but understandable. People who like to shift for themselves are part of an ever shrinking minority of new car buyers. The take-rates on manual transmissions seem to shrink more every year. A stopwatch would likely put the VW’s 0-60 time somewhere in the 8 second range. In practice, the engine has respectable power, and feels livelier than those numbers suggest. EPA estimates for fuel economy are 28/36/31 (FWD); 25/32/28 (AWD). I registered 27 mpg’s in my FWD tester.
Solid handling is a characteristic long associated with German-engineered cars. Rolling on VW’s MQB architecture, Taos follows suit, with flat cornering and a firm but comfortable ride. AWD equipped models have four, Active Control driving modes (Snow, On-Road, Off-Road and Off-Road Custom), which make corresponding system adjustments to suit the road conditions you find yourself in.
This is a subcompact SUV, but it’s fairly large inside for its class. Six footers can fit in back, with six footers in front. Cargo capacity ranges from 27.9-65.9 cu.-ft. (slightly less – 24.9-60.2 – in AWD models). Rear seatbacks fold mostly flat to accommodate longer items, though the resulting load floor is decidedly split level. Load liftover height in back is low.
Taos draws good marks for the design of its system controls. HVAC adjustments are handled in a mid-dash cluster buttons and dials that’s easy to reach and not too distracting for the driver. The infotainment touchscreen display, top center in the dash, is 6½” on S, 8″ on SE and SEL. The system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; the connection is wireless on SE and SEL trims. A digital instrument cluster is standard. Base models get an 8″ screen, while SEL trims upgrade to a 10¼” display with 21 display options. This allows you, for instance, to put your navigation program’s input right in front of you, where it’s easier to see, and requires less eye-time away from your driving. IQ. DRIVE – VW’s bundle of driver assistance technology – is standard on SEL and available on S and SE. The features include adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, blind spot monitoring, rear traffic alert, forward collision warning, and (in the event of a medical emergency), semi-automated vehicle assistance.
A 40 year resident of the Capital District, Dan Lyons has been reviewing new cars for publications for nearly 30 years. He is the author of six automotive books, and photographer of more than 200 calendars.