2022 Volkswagen Taos review: Fashionably late

The new Taos is beautiful and surprisingly nice.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

When it comes to launching SUVs, Volkswagen has been around the curve. In response to insatiable customer demand, other automakers have expanded their range of utility vehicles at a much faster pace than this Wolfsburg-based company. But giving drivers another choice in the compact SUV segment, 2022 Volkswagen Taos has finally arrived, and it has been worth the wait.

Like it

  • Beautiful looks
  • Solid Germanic feel
  • Cavernous interior

I do not like

  • Lethargic throttle response
  • Vague steering

While it doesn’t offer a lot of frills or thrills, this little schlepper nails the fundamentals and checks all the right boxes. The Taos has huge amounts of interior space and is very comfortable, efficient, affordable, and offers all the advanced driving aids you would expect. Wrap it all up in pleasantly understated style and this VW has no problem competing with rivals like the Honda HR-V, Jeep Compass And Subaru Crosstrek. In some ways, the Taos can also give Mazda luxury CX-30 a run for his money.

Unlike, say, the Chevy pioneer or Hyundai Kona, this Volkswagen lacks visual fireworks, but is still an attractive styled vehicle. The front is strong but accessible, the body lines are sharp and all the spaces between the panels are laser-straight and precise to the millimeter. There is a real feeling of meticulous craftsmanship with the Taos. One aspect of this top-of-the-line SEL example that I particularly love is the paint job. Called Cornflower Blue, it may be bizarrely called, but this color is electric. If this shade is too bright for you, however, more conservative colors are available.

Based on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB architecture, as ubiquitous as a Jimmy Buffett concert boom, the Taos 2022 is refined and surprisingly spacious. Size-wise, it’s 9 inches shorter than its big brother, the Tiguan, even though it’s just as roomy. The Taos offers nearly 28 cubic feet of luggage space behind the second row seat. Fold the 60/40 split backrest down and you get only 66 cubes of trash transport space. Unusually, all-wheel drive models are less roomy, but not by much.

Accommodations for passengers on the Taos are equally generous. Front bucket seats are comfortable, and buyers opting for an SE or SEL model are treated to an eight-way electric driver’s chair with adjustable lumbar support. The rear bench seat offers miles of space in all directions, so even lanky adults should have no problem getting comfortable and staying that way for hours at a time. From bow to stern, the interior capacity of this VW is truly impressive.

It’s not opulent, but the Taos’ cabin is very nice for the segment.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

What’s not that commendable are some of the cabin materials. The top of the dashboard is a large, cheap, textured strip of hard plastic. The high-gloss painted finishes go from door to door and climate controls seem like a pretty low rent. These elements are somewhat offset by the decent quality leather on the seats and soft plastic on the top of the doors, so that’s not bad at all even though the Taos feels a lot less premium than the CX-30.

An 8-inch digital instrument cluster is standard, but SEL models feature a fully reconfigurable 10.3-inch panel that’s crisp and colorful. As for the infotainment technology, three configurations are offered. The Taos base comes with a 6.5-inch display, while the mid-range and high-end models both feature an 8-inch, although the latter also has built-in navigation. Taos’ infotainment system isn’t immediately intuitive, but it’s simple enough to decipher after poking around for a few minutes. The real headache, however, is the quadrant to the right of the screen. It looks like a tuning knob, but you can rotate it all day and the radio stations never change. Instead, this works like a control knob, allowing you to scroll through some settings and infotainment menus, even if it’s as cumbersome as it is unintuitive. Simplifying things, Apple CarPlay And Android Auto they are standard equipment.

Up to three USB Type-C ports are available in this VW, and the first two finishes are equipped with a wireless charging plate. Making the SEL trim stand out from the package, it also boasts an eight-speaker Beats sound system that sounds pretty good. Ventilated seats are offered in the Taos, albeit only on the SEL setup and only with all-wheel drive.

Yes, there is an engine under that bundle of cables and pipes.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

Only one engine is offered here – a 1.5-liter I4. Running on a modified version of the Miller cycle and equipped with a variable geometry turbocharger, this little dynamo delivers a respectable 158 horsepower and 184 foot-pounds of torque. This engine is reasonably smooth and quite powerful, although it doesn’t stand out in any significant way from the powertrains you get in competing vehicles.

Two broadcasts are available in the Taos. Front-wheel drive models (like the one tested here) are equipped with a conventional eight-speed automatic, but variants that feature all-wheel drive are equipped with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. The first unit is generally fast, smooth and responsive, although it can be a little too eager to shift gears at times. This problem, however, is minor than the vehicle’s throttle response. When taking off while driving, the Taos can feel absolutely lethargic, as if it doesn’t want to move unless you push the throttle halfway or more. Fortunately, there is a simple solution to this problem: just click the gear in Sport mode and it makes the Taos much more responsive at low speeds.

When equipped with front-wheel drive, the Taos should return 28 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. Combined, this compact SUV is rated at a respectable 31 mpg, although I was just shy of 36 mpg in mixed driving without even trying, which is pretty impressive.

The back seat of the Taos is spacious and comfortable.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

The interior of the Taos is cavernous and accommodating, but its driving position is a little out of the way and I can’t understand why. The relationship between steering wheel and seat does not seem correct, as if the instrument cluster is too low and the steering wheel too high. Either way, this compact SUV isn’t a sports car (duh!), But it drives well enough for what it is. The steering is light and on the vague side, although the ride quality is superb, firm but devoid of any harshness. The chassis absorbs the biggest impacts without flinching and does an excellent job of filtering out vibrations and graininess, practically giving this VW the feel of a German luxury car.

Volkswagen’s IQ Drive safety suite is available on the S and SE models, although it is the standard fare on the SEL version. This technology package includes services such as blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and more. Also included is always-useful adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality. It’s fluid and confidence inspiring, it works pretty much exactly as advertised. SEL models are also equipped as standard with automatic high beams, rear parking sensors and road sign recognition.

Volkswagen’s new Taos arrived a little late to the party, but it was worth it.

Craig Cole / Roadshow

Available in dealerships right now, the Volkswagen 2022 Taos it is offered in three versions: S, SE and SEL. This compact SUV starts at $ 24,190 including $ 1,195 in destination tax. If you want all-wheel drive, plan on spending around $ 2,000 more. Close to cargo, the front-wheel drive SEL variant featured in this review costs just $ 32,685, a bargain sum for such a spacious and highly functional vehicle.

Volkswagen was conspicuously late to the compact SUV party, but the Taos was worth the wait. While not particularly exciting, this SUV does exactly what it needs and should be a big seller for the brand.

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