Displaying items by tag: Volkswagen Taos

Saturday, 08 October 2022 09:41

2023 Volkswagen Taos

2023 volkswagen taos suv front parked on a desert track

Subcompact SUVs feed a hunger for space, affordability, and a certain sense of belonging—since almost everyone drives an SUV these days. Among 20 other competitors, the Volkswagen Taos quenches an additional, more recent consumer craving for parsimonious fuel economy. Available in front- or all-wheel drive, every Taos hums along getting exemplary real-world fuel mileage thanks to a stingy, 158-hp 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The Taos doesn’t offer a hitch to tow with, so we’d suggest moving up to the larger Tiguan SUV for that, but there’s plenty of cargo space inside, even with the rear seats in use, to easily handle grocery duty. It’s a close fight among the best in this class, so the Tiguan’s low starting price and capacious cockpit make it a tempting choice among others such as the Kia Seltos and Chevrolet Trailblazer. Beating its EPA-estimate by 4 mpg, an all-wheel-drive Taos SEL we tested managed an awesome 40 mpg during our 200-mile, 75-mph highway fuel-economy test loop. Copious amounts of interior plastic help keep the Taos’ price down while making the more richly-appointed Mazda CX-30 cabin feel like a miniature luxury condo in comparison with the VW.

Volkswagen Taos: What's New for 2023?

VW’s smallest crossover doesn’t undergo much change for 2023, but it does receive a few equipment enhancements. Volkswagen adds driver assistance features such as forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian monitoring, blind spot monitor, and rear traffic alert as standard equipment across all trims. The base S gets 18-inch wheels, instead of 17-inchers, on all-wheel-drive models. Lastly, the SEL now get a fancy panoramic sunroof as standard equipment.

We recommend the mid-level SE model because it provides the best value. It comes standard with 18-inch wheels, blind-spot monitoring, heated front seats, remote start, and wireless charging. We'd add all-wheel drive for an extra $1450, largely because it replaces the front-drive model's rear suspension with a more sophisticated independent unit. We'd also opt for the IQ.Drive and SE Convenience packages that add adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beams, a heated steering wheel, lane-keeping assist, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

Volkswagen Taos: Engine, Transmission, and Performance

The Taos is powered by VW's new turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. It makes 158 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. Front-drive versions feature an eight-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel-drive models have a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. The front-drive and all-wheel-drive Taos also have different rear suspensions, with the former using a torsion-beam setup and the latter using a more sophisticated multilink design. A set of 17-inch wheels are standard, but 18- and 19-inchers are also available. We appreciated the engine's low-speed thrust, the eight-speed automatic's unobtrusive operation, and the suspension's composure on even roads during our time with one.

Volkswagen Taos: Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

The front-drive Taos is rated at 28 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway, and the all-wheel-drive model is rated at 25 mpg city and 32 highway. We tested a front-drive Taos on our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, and it earned an impressive 40 mpg, beating its EPA estimate. For more information about the Taos's fuel economy, visit the EPA's website.

Volkswagen Taos: Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

Inside, there's nothing overtly special about the Taos. The design and materials mimic the modern aesthetic found on other VW models. A fully digital gauge cluster is fitted to every dashboard and the standard two-tone seats are covered in cloth. However, leatherette and leather upholstery are both available, too. There's no shortage of popular options, either. The Taos cabin can be equipped with customizable ambient lighting, an eight-way power driver's seat, dual-zone climate control, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, and a panoramic sunroof. The Taos boasts 37.9 inches of rear-seat legroom, which is only 0.8 inch less than the two-row Tiguan. The Taos also has 28 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seatbacks and 66 cubes with them folded flat.

Volkswagen Taos: Infotainment and Connectivity

Every Taos features a slick-looking infotainment system with a subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspot. A 6.5-inch touchscreen is standard, and an 8.0-inch version is optional. The system can also be equipped with built-in navigation, an eight-speaker BeatsAudio stereo, SiriusXM satellite radio, and wireless smartphone charging.

Volkswagen Taos: Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

The smallest VW crossover is available with a variety of driver-assistance technology, too, including forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking. For more information about the Taos's crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:

  • Standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
  • Standard forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking
  • Standard rear traffic alert

Volkswagen Taos: Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

Volkswagen provides an above-average limited warranty and below-average powertrain coverage. However, the company does include complimentary scheduled maintenance that aligns with Toyota.

Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
Complimentary scheduled maintenance is covered for two years or 20,000 miles

SOurce: caranddriver.com

Published in Volkswagen
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Nearly as large as the compact Tiguan, the Taos is an attractive new entry point for VW's crossover lineup.


The all-new 2022 Volkswagen Taos is the product of a familiar pattern in the car business. As a particular vehicle segment grows in popularity (in this case, crossovers), manufacturers tend to enlarge and differentiate their entries to make room for new models that fill the newly created gaps in their lineup. With VW's range of SUVs in the United States swelling to include the compact Tiguan, mid-size Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport, and the electric ID.4 (sort of an SUV, we guess), a vacancy opened up in the increasingly popular subcompact space, among the likes of the Jeep Compass, Kia Seltos, and Subaru Crosstrek. It also helps that VW won't be offering Americans a regular TSI version of its latest Golf hatchback, which we're still sore about. At least the Taos is a compelling little crossover on most fronts.

2022 volkswagen taos sel rear

"Little" is sort of misleading, though, as the Taos is one of the larger players in its class. Its MQB-based architecture rests atop a wheelbase of either 105.6 inches for the all-wheel-drive variant or 105.9 inches for the front-driver. It has a huge back seat for a subcompact SUV, and its capacious and easily accessible cargo hold can swallow 25 cubic feet of stuff behind the rear seats (28 cubes if you forgo all-wheel drive). On the road, if you don't know to look for its distinguishing design cues—a broad LED lightbar that connects the standard LED headlights plus chrome TAOS lettering on the rear liftgate—you can easily mistake it for a (slightly) larger Tiguan. VW says the name Taos refers to the rugged, picturesque town in New Mexico. We didn't go there for our drive, but we did traverse our local Michigan haunts in both of the vehicle's primary configurations.

2022 volkswagen taos sel interior

HIGHS: Cavernous interior for a small SUV, impressive fuel economy, attractive base price.

Powering the Taos is a new 1.5-liter version of the EA211 turbocharged inline-four—a 1.4-liter EA211 is found in the Jetta sedan. Aided by the boost of a variable-geometry turbocharger, the engine purrs willingly to its 6400-rpm redline and produces a respectable-if-not-quite-spirited 158 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, the latter from just 1750 rpm. That's less grunt than you'll get from a top-spec 175-hp Seltos 1.6T or a 250-hp Mazda CX-30 Turbo, but it's perfectly adequate for casually merging onto highways. Standard front-wheel-drive models pair the turbo-four with a conventional eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel-drive versions get a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic, which VW calls a direct-shift gearbox (DSG). The company says this split allowed it to focus both on greater fuel efficiency with the eight-speed and a sportier driving character with the dual clutch.

2022 volkswagen taos sel
Our test car was a front-wheel-drive SEL model, which ambled to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds and covered the quarter-mile in 15.8 seconds at 87 mph, making it slightly quicker than the latest Subaru Crosstrek with a 2.5-liter flat-four and significantly fleeter than a Jeep Compass. The more-powerful turbocharged Kia Seltos, however, is roughly a half-second quicker both to 60 and through the quarter-mile.

That said, the front-drive Taos is the fuel miser's choice, earning an EPA combined estimate of 31 mpg, versus 28 mpg for all-wheel-drive models. Our example fared well in the real world with a 30-mpg average, and it posted an impressive 40 mpg on our 75-mph highway test, beating its federal rating by 4 mpg. Both the aforementioned Subaru and Kia managed only 30 mpg on our highway run. But the all-wheel-drive model's DSG isn't as convincing in its role as a sporty transmission. While its shifts are generally quick and well-coordinated at speed, it lacks the eight-speed's unobtrusive smoothness, being relatively clumsy around town and under quick on-off-on throttle applications. Only all-wheel-drive variants get a drive-mode selector with Normal, Eco, Sport, and Individual settings, but even in its most aggressive mode the dual clutch hesitates between upshifts when accelerating briskly. There are no steering-wheel paddle shifters, so we mostly let the DSG pick its own gears rather than use the shifter's sluggish manual gate.

2022 volkswagen taos sel

LOWS: Modest performance, some cheap-looking interior plastics, clumsy optional dual-clutch transmission.

The other significant difference between the two drivelines is the rear suspension. The front-wheel-drive Taos features a torsion beam at the rear, while the all-wheel-drive model employs a multilink setup. This is why there are two wheelbase lengths. The multilink's greater composure and more substantial feel make the all-wheel-drive Taos our clear choice. Though the all-wheel-drive Taos adds a claimed 255 pounds of additional mass, its more sophisticated suspension fosters greater driver confidence by bringing better body control. We'll have to wait for a second test car to see if this more-refined character translates to better grip than the modest 0.83 g that the front-driver exhibited on the skidpad.

Braking ability is adequate and is controlled via an easy-to-modulate pedal, despite some mushiness in the first inch or so or travel. We recorded a so-so 176-foot stop from 70 mph. All of the examples we've driven have rolled on 18-inch wheels (17s are standard, 19s are optional), with our test car's wrapped with Bridgestone Turanza LS100 all-season tires. With decent ride comfort and reasonably low levels of interior noise—68 decibels at a 70-mph cruise; 73 at full throttle—road isolation is good for a vehicle that starts at $24,190. Just don't expect Golf levels of agility from the Taos's extra girth and higher center of gravity.

2022 volkswagen taos sel
From the low liftover height of its cargo floor to its rear climate-control vents to its ability to easily accommodate six-plus-footers front and rear, the Taos's interior is highlighted by its functionality. This subcompact feels solidly built, and material quality is mostly commensurate with its price, although the hard, shiny plastic dashtop panel looks chintzy, especially in the top-spec SEL models that go for more than $30,000. While not boldly inspired, the Tao's cabin does benefit from contoured trim pieces and contrasting colors that lend it some character. Soft-touch materials are soft enough and well placed, and there's VW's familiar and nicely thick-rimmed steering wheel. Seating choices include cloth upholstery for base models, leather at the top of the range, and a leatherette/cloth combo with grippy inserts for mid-level SE trims. All offer good comfort and excellent visibility.

At 72.5 inches, the Taos is actually a hair wider than the one-size-up Tiguan and feels similarly spacious in terms of elbow space. Unlike the Tiguan, there's no available third row of seats. Base models get an 8.0-inch digital instrument cluster and a 6.5-inch center touchscreen, with the displays in higher trims increasing to 10.3 and 8.0 inches, respectively. We like that the Taos sticks with VW's more familiar infotainment system rather than adopting the newer, less-intuitive version in the ID.4 that we're still warming up to. Ambient lighting, automatic headlights, and VW's App Connect smartphone integration system all are standard.


2022 volkswagen taos sel
Additional microprocessors control the IQ.Drive bundle of active-safety features: stop-and-go adaptive cruise control with semi-automated assistance, active blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, automatic forward-collision warning, and emergency braking. IQ.Drive is a $895 to $995 option on lesser S and SE trims and standard on the top SEL. Notable extras include a heated steering wheel, a panoramic sunroof, and a yet-to-be-released Basecamp appearance package that will add a touch of off-road flair.

Coincidentally, the starter S model's competitive $24,190 base price is the same as that of the outgoing Golf hatchback that the Taos more or less replaces. Budget $28,440 for the SE trim and a somewhat substantial $32,685 for an SEL model like our test car, plus another $1450 to $2045 if you want all-wheel drive. Depending on the configuration, those prices position the Taos awfully close to certain versions of the grander Tiguan, which starts at $26,440. Yet, considering the Taos's generous packaging and strong roster of equipment, potential Tiguan buyers won't have to sacrifice much if they step down to this new lower rung in the brand's model range. The Taos isn't the fun-to-drive substitute for the Golf that we'd prefer, but it does make a solid anchor for VW's SUV lineup.


Published in Volkswagen

It’s a good thing you like SUVs, America, because the march of replacing passenger cars with compact crossovers continues without delay. The latest automaker to do it: Volkswagen. This is the new 2022 Taos, which will replace the Golf hatchback in VW’s lineup when it arrives in June (the GTI and Golf R will remain, however). Typically with these swaps — Ford Escape for Ford Fusion and Focus, Chevrolet Trailblazer instead of Cruze — the incoming SUVs are more expensive than the outgoing car. Not so with the new Taos with its starting price of $24,190 (all prices include destination), which is exactly the starting price for the outgoing 2021 Golf. The thought here is that VW is offering up the extra space, extra cargo, higher seating position and boosted utility of the Taos without a price penalty.

Is it enough to make us forget the demise of one of our favorite compact cars? We went to Chelsea, Mich., to drive the new Taos and see if VW’s new strategy will keep our interest in its crossover-heavy showroom.

Clean, Simple, Volkswagenisch Style

There’s nothing distinctive nor distracting about the Taos’ styling. It’s a nondescript crossover shape, same as most everything else out there. It does have a more formal SUV-like roofline, however, providing a boost to cargo space and headroom inside even with the optional panoramic moonroof installed. There are some surprising details, such as standard LED headlights and taillights, some nice bodyside trim with the Taos name embedded in it and VW’s new lettering style on the tailgate. Wheel sizes depend on which of the three trim levels (S, SE or SEL) you choose and whether you select front- or all-wheel-drive. Seventeen-inch wheels come on the S, 18-inchers on the SE and you can get 19-inch wheels only on the AWD SEL trim. The overall look is modern, clean and understated, but paint it in the optional Cornflower Blue pigment and the Taos really pops out on the street.

Competitive Dynamics

Powering all versions of the Taos is a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine making 158 horsepower and 184 pounds-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive is standard and comes with an eight-speed conventional automatic transmission, while all-wheel drive is optional and comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic. That might not sound like much grunt, but it’s extremely well tuned to the Taos, and always provided peppy acceleration and plenty of oomph whenever called on. I drove both the FWD and AWD versions, and neither felt underpowered or sluggish in the slightest. The FWD version did feel a bit lighter on its feet, but that’s to be expected given its 255-pound weight advantage over the AWD model.

The Taos easily feels quicker than competitors like the Chevy Trailblazer or Subaru Crosstrek despite not really making much more power than either of their upper trims with optional engines. The Trailblazer’s base engine is a tiny turbocharged 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine making 137 hp and 162 pounds-feet of torque mated to a continuously variable transmission; you have to opt for higher trim levels to get the more powerful 155 hp and 174-pounds-feet of the turbo 1.3-liter three-cylinder. The Crosstrek comes with a 152-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes a paltry 145 pounds-feet of torque, but higher trims get a 182-hp 2.5-liter engine with 176-pounds-feet — plus, all Crosstreks have standard all-wheel drive, which is optional on the Taos. If you want something high-zoot, the Kia Seltos is the one to look at: While it starts with an unremarkable 146-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 132-pounds-feet of torque, its optional engine is a zippy turbo 1.6-liter that makes 175 hp and 195 pounds-feet.

Stacked up against other competitors’ base engines, the Taos does them one better — compared against optional engines, the Taos is competitive. It’s even surprisingly efficient, as during my limited test drive that involved considerable spirited driving, it still returned better than 30 mpg, according to the onboard computer.

Both FWD and AWD models exhibit neutral ride and handling characteristics. There’s nothing athletic about the Taos, but then there’s very few people who’ll expect one to be. The steering is feather-light and offers very little feel or feedback, but the steering ratio is super-quick and the turning radius is tight, making for quick directional changes with minimal input on the tiller. It also enables the little Taos to make U-turns in an extraordinarily small space, a boon for urban maneuvering. It feels very different from the Golf it replaces, but it should — it’s taller, larger and heavier. What it doesn’t have are the tighter, more buttoned-down European road dynamics that were seemingly baked into every Golf hatchback.

Out on the street, the Taos’ ride is comfortable regardless of 18- or 19-inch wheel options. It’s well damped, quiet and while it does exhibit a noticeable amount of body roll in corners, it’s never uncomfortable or tippy-feeling. It does feel like you sit taller in a Taos than in a competitor like the Crosstrek or Trailblazer, but it’s part of the appeal of a crossover, I suppose. You’ll never mistake it for a tall wagon; unlike some competitors in the class, it does indeed feel more like an SUV than a passenger car.

Entry-Level Digs

The interior of the Taos is familiar to anyone who’s been in a VW recently. The polygonal styling, the touch-sensitive multimedia system, the buttons and knobs for the climate controls, they’re all right out of the old Tiguan, Passat, Atlas and other models, which is fine — it all works well, is easy to identify at a glance and still maintains things like a volume knob for the audio system. The touch-sensitive steering wheel and climate control system coming for the new Tiguan aren’t here yet, which could be another reason the Taos might be more popular than VW’s upcoming new, slightly larger crossover. New items in here include a standard digital gauge cluster (an 8-inch unit on lesser trims, a reconfigurable 10.25-inch one on the SEL), Volkswagen’s Car-Net connectivity suite with Wi-Fi capability, and heated seats, side mirrors and washer nozzles on the base S AWD model.

The interior is comfortable and surprisingly spacious, especially in the backseat. The front seats have a variety of materials, depending on which trim you select, but all of them feel like an upgrade over the past vinyl transgressions of VW interior designers. The same cannot be said for material quality in other areas, such as the dashboard itself, which features a large swath of shiny plastic that feels and looks cheap, especially when compared with the high-quality materials seen in vehicles like the Seltos. The SEL trim I drove had faux-leather upholstery on the dash and doors, and it does help things, but it doesn’t carry into the backseat, which features plain plastic door skins. It’s not a deal killer and certainly isn’t worse than most other vehicles in its class, but I wouldn’t call it best-in-class materials.

But just as in other VW vehicles like the big daddy Atlas, the sketchy materials quality becomes rather less significant when you realize that the Taos offers extraordinary space. I could sit in the backseat after adjusting the front seats to my normal driving position, and my nearly 6-foot-tall frame didn’t see my knees touch the seatbacks — something you can’t say about a Ford Escape or Jeep Compass.

There’s so much usable space in the second row and cargo area that I do wonder if the Taos doesn’t become more popular than the larger, slightly more expensive Tiguan; having seen them both in person, it’s obvious to me that VW wants to reposition the Tiguan as a more premium, more luxurious option in the class, leaving the Taos to take up the mantle of volume and price-leading family mover.

Priced to Bring ‘Em In

The starting price for a new Taos is $24,190, exactly the price of an outgoing Golf. For that money, you get an S FWD trim with standard LED lights front and back, black mirrors and roof rails, a 6.5-inch multimedia system, the 8-inch digital gauge cluster and more (our full pricing breakdown can be seen here). The mid-level trim is the SE, which brings faux leather and cloth seats, more amenities, and larger wheels and tires, while the top of the line is the SEL, which comes extremely well equipped. A fully loaded SEL AWD with optional panoramic moonroof will top out at $35,440, a considerable sum for a compact SUV but competitive with other models in the category — although at those upper reaches of the price spectrum, VW would truly prefer to show you a new Tiguan SEL R-Line, with its racier styling, bigger wheels and more premium cabin.

So, is this a suitable replacement for the Golf in the VW showroom? Well, not if you’re intent on finding something that’s still tight and entertaining while still being a capable commuter. But given Golf sales versus Tiguan sales over the past decade, it looks like those buyers are increasingly uncommon. The new Taos definitely has a more “American-style compact crossover” feel to it than a “tight European hatchback” feel, but that’s what sells these days, and the new Taos meets all the requirements to be a success in this segment. Priced right, loaded with equipment, efficient, more spacious than expected, and providing that high seating position and AWD capability that buyers are craving, the new 2022 Taos has the potential to be more popular here than the Golf ever was.


Published in Volkswagen

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