Volkswagen’s Latest SUV
Volkswagen introduces a sporty 2022 Taos five-passenger small SUV into the growing subcompact market outfitted with excellent mileage, spacious cabin, plenty of technical features and an attractive profile.
It joins the company’s popular Tiguan, Atlas Cross Sport and Atlas as Volkswagen’s smallest SUV, slotted beneath the Tiguan and the Atlas duo.
Volkswagen Taos’ Interior
Inside, however, Taos has one of the largest cabins in its competitive niche, with ample third row seating comfortable for a family of four, making it more spacious than top competitors like Subaru Crosstrek and Kia Seltos.
The SUV’s surprisingly large cabin was outfitted with comfortable two-tone CloudTex cloth seats, decent fit and finish, mostly black and gray plastic trim, padded door panels and 99.5 cubic feet of passenger space in what VW calls a Digital Cockpit. Storage spots are plentiful, including a top-of-the-dashboard tray.
Taos’ Gas Mileage
EPA rates Taos’ 31 miles per gallon average with VW’s popular 1.5-liter engine available in front or all-wheel drive. The exterior copies some features from its SUV siblings and other VWs with lighting, hood crease, roof rail, surround cladding and three-bar front grille, all creating a strong, attractive profile.
VW Taos Test Drive
We test-drove the Taos SE, between base S and top SEL trims, with front-wheel drive, eight-speed automatic transmission and four options totaling $2,885 for exterior paint, IQ.DRIVE safety aids, power sunroof and 18-inch black alloy wheels wearing all-season tires. Even without options, the Taos is pricer than many competitors.
Handling was quick and accurate, navigating twists and turns, the ride firm but not uncomfortable for passengers. It squeezed into tight parking spaces, proving to be a solid urban performer.
The 1.5-liter engine felt sluggish off the line but adequate on the highway with driver vigilance during lane merges and passing.
The fuel-saving stop/start system was barely perceptible.
Typical standard driver safety features were adequate but not as sophisticated as in higher end VW models. Headlights dim automatically and there is a rear-seat occupancy check.
The Taos Dashboard
The feature-rich 8-inch dashboard touchscreen (also manipulated by a center spine knob) displayed sharp graphics and uses VW Car-Net App Connect to access smartphone hookups via Apple Car Play or Android Auto for navigation and Internet access.
There is also a standard 8-inch configurable digital instrument cluster. Technology features include VW’s MIB3 highly touted infotainment system, plus wireless charging. EV outlets rest in a tray below climate controls.
Taos offers two years of complimentary maintenance, rear seats fold and there is a compact spare tire. Visors don’t fully extend.
At a Glance
LIKES: Spacious cabin, mileage, looks, handling, tech features, versatility
DISLIKES: Price (needs options), low power
BOTTOM LINE: Roominess and mileage will help Taos succeed
Fact File: 2022 VW Taos 1.5T SE FWD
1.5-liter, turbo, DOHC, inline4
158 hp @ 5,500 rpm
184 ft.-lbs. @ 1,750 rpm
8-speed automatic w/Triptonic
28 mpg city/36 hwy
0-60 in just under 8 seconds
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Tom Crosby has written more than 1,000 automotive reviews and is a retired Vice President of Communications for AAA Carolinas. He has seen dramatic changes in the automotive industry over the past 25 years and ponders the advent of self-driving vehicles, electric-only vehicles, sophisticated in-car telematics, and the financial challenges facing automotive manufacturers in an increasingly congested worldwide market.