Small crossovers keep gaining in popularity and Volkswagen joins the party with the Taos, an all-new model for 2022. It becomes the smallest and cheapest crossover from the German automaker. The Taos fits below the Tiguan in the VW line-up and its boxy shape makes it look like a mini version of the Atlas, VW’s largest crossover.
Base Price: $28,695
As Tested: $32,775
Mileage: 25 mpg city/32 mpg highway/28 mpg combined
The five-passenger Taos comes in trims: S, SE and SEL. Starting prices range from $22,995 to $33,045. Front-wheel-drive is standard and all-wheel-drive is available.
All trims have the same engine: a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 158 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel-drive models get an eight-speed automatic transmission. AWD models get a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
The Taos isn’t exciting to drive but it has composed handling and gets the job done in most situations. The powertrain is fairly peppy in city traffic but could use more oomph when trying to quickly merge or pass on the freeway. My tester has the seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, and it can be a bit clumsy. The ride is smooth and comfortable. There’s some body roll when cornering. Visibility is good all the way around.
Fuel economy is excellent for the class. EPA ratings for my AWD tester are 25 mpg city and 32 mpg highway with a combined rating of 28. I got 33 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The cabin is surprisingly roomy for a small crossover. There’s room for five passengers, and even five taller adults will fit in both rows and enjoy decent leg- and headroom. Seats are comfortable and supportive. Controls are logically laid out and will look familiar to VW drivers.
The design is pleasant, but the lower trims are spartan compared to the materials, trims and features in some competitors. There are some nice soft-touch materials but also hard plastics that look a little cheap. Some road and wind noise is noticeable, especially at faster speeds.
Standard features include push-button start, rearview camera, cloth upholstery, 6.5-inch touchscreen, four-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, HD Radio, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, USB ports, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.
Available features include keyless entry, remote start, dual-zone automatic climate control, synthetic leather upholstery, real leather upholstery, power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated and ventilated front seats, eight-inch touchscreen, navigation, six-speaker audio system, eight-speaker Beats Audio sound system, satellite radio, additional USB ports, wireless device charging, and panoramic sunroof.
Available driver assistance technologies include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, pedestrian detection, rear cross traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors, and traffic sign recognition. Many of these are included with Volkswagen’s IQ.Drive package.
Whether you get the 6.5-inch or 8-inch touchscreen, the infotainment system is user-friendly. The screen is easy to see and reach and there are redundant physical controls for common functions.
Cargo space is excellent for the class. Front-wheel-drive models have 27.9 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 65.9 cubes with the second row folded. AWD models have 24.9/60.2 cubes. The low liftover height makes it easy to hoist large and/or heavy items.
Excellent fuel economy
Roomy interior – five adults will fit comfortably
Cabin not as upscale as rivals
My tester starts at $28,695. Kings Red Metallic exterior paint is $395. Power tilting and sliding panoramic sunroof is $1,200. IQ Drive SE Package is $895 and includes semi-automatic driving technologies including adaptive cruise control with stop & go, lane keeping assistance, emergency assist in a medical emergency, blind spot monitoring, and rear traffic alert. Black Alloy wheels with all-season tires are $395. Destination charge is $1,195 bringing the grand total to $32,775.
The 2022 Volkswagen Taos is a spacious and practical new entry among subcompact crossovers. It doesn’t have the sportiest performance or nicest interior in the class, but it does have a smooth ride, decent fuel economy and a surprising amount of room for passengers and cargo.