2022 Volkswagen Taos SEL

2022 Volkswagen Taos SEL

The Taos is an all-new model for 2022 and becomes the smallest and cheapest crossover made by Volkswagen. It 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: $31,490
As Tested: $33,885
Horsepower: 158
Mileage: 28 mpg city/36 mpg highway/31 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 eight-speed automatic, and it can be a little slow to shift. 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 front-wheel-drive tester are 28 mpg city and 36 mpg highway with a combined rating of 31. I got 30 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 rather spartan compared to the materials, trims and features in some competitors. My top-of-the-line SEL has snazzy two-tone upholstery that looks great. There are some hard plastics that look a little cheap, along with some nicer soft-touch materials. 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 eight-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.

The good:

Composed handling

Smooth ride

Excellent fuel economy

Roomy interior – five adults will fit comfortably

The not-so-good:

Lackluster performance

Cabin not as upscale as rivals

Pricing info:

My tester starts at $31,490. Power tilting and sliding panoramic sunroof is $1,200. Destination charge is $1,195 bringing the grand total to $33,885.

Bottom line:

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.

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