2022 Volkswagen Taos

By March 15, 2022

The Volkswagen Taos is a five-seat crossover compact SUV. A sibling to the slightly larger Tiguan, it’s some 9.3 inches shorter but still has a roomy cabin and good cargo space.

Like the Tiguan, the Taos has styling that’s clean and conservative. The cabin is simple, with black plastic on the dash and in front, reflecting the fairly low price.

The engine is new for Volkswagen, a 1.5-liter turbo-4 making 158 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, mated to an 8-speed automatic with front-wheel drive, or a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic with all-wheel-drive. It’s not quick. But the steering is accurate, if light, and the ride is good. The AWD versions use a multi-link rear suspension that makes them more agile.

The front-wheel-drive Taos is EPA-rated at 28 mpg city, 36 highway, 31 combined. The all-wheel-drive versions drop by 3 combined mpg, to 25/32/28 mpg; that’s partly due to the additional weight of 255 pounds, and the dual-clutch transmission, which is sharp but not quite as good on gas.

The Taos hasn’t been crash-tested by the IIHS or NHTSA yet. The base S model lacks automatic emergency braking, which comes with the SE and above, as do blind-spot monitors. Available safety equipment includes active lane control, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control that works down to a stop. This equipment is standard on the SEL, along with rear parking sensors.

Model Lineup

Made in Mexico, the Taos is sold as S, SE, and SEL models, with front-wheel drive standard and all-wheel drive optional.

The S starts at $24,190 and comes with cloth upholstery, a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, an 8.0-inch digital display, LED headlights and taillights, two USB-C charging ports, keyless start, and 17-inch alloy wheels. AWD costs $2,045, but it includes a cold weather package with heated front seats, heated side mirrors, and heated windshield washer nozzles.

The $28,440 SE adds soft synthetic leather, an 8.0-inch touchscreen, and a wireless phone charger. AWD adds $1,450.

The SEL costs $32,685 with FWD or $34,240 with AWD. The SEL adds real leather seats, 19-inch alloy wheels, cooled front seats (AWD only), a BeatsAudio system, a 10.3-inch instrument display, navigation, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and the safety equipment. A panoramic sunroof is optional.


The Taos styling isn’t edgy or risky, it’s flat and minimalist, like most other Volkswagens. Its grille is X-shaped, like the VW Atlas Sport Cross, and there’s a dramatic horizontal LED light bar below it.


The base S comes with cloth seats and the SEL gets real leather, but the in-between SE has synthetic leather that’s soft like Alcantara.

The instrument panel’s center stack is well organized and easy to use, with dials for climate controls and the 6.5-inch touchscreen on the S or 8.0-inch screen on the SE and above.

Even with a wheelbase that’s about four inches shorter than the Tiguan, it has about an inch more leg room in the rear seat, at 37.9 inches, a great number for a compact crossover. It’s narrow, so three across is a tight fit.

There’s good cargo room as well, with as much as 27.9 cubic feet behind the back seat. Rear passengers get two climate vents and a USB port for their phones and things.

Driving Impressions

The new engine is a 1.5-liter turbo-4 with 158 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. Front-drive versions get an 8-speed automatic and the AWD comes with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic with quicker shifting.

The front-wheel drive version feels a bit peppier from a standing start, probably because of the extra weight carried by all-wheel drive. But the dual-clutch cars feel stronger in upper gears, in part due to the transmission’s rapid gearchanges. Both trannies do have a Sport mode that holds gears longer.

In addition to the twin-clutch, the all-wheel-drive Taos has two more advantages: it comes with drive modes, and has a multi-link rear suspension instead of the basic torsion-beam setup in the front-wheel-drive models.

The steering, like most VWs, feels light but direct. With drive modes, the AWD Taos gets heavier steering feel but no more feedback. There’s some body roll in corners, as the Taos is sprung on the soft side, with passenger comfort the priority, but the all-wheel-drive Taos predictably feels more composed in corners.

Final Word

The 2022 VW Taos doesn’t give up much in size compared to the bigger Tiguan. It offers comfort, economy and solid driving dynamics. Take the Taos SE with active-safety tech, and opt for the all-wheel-drive model’s more sophisticated driving feel.


—By Sam Moses with driving impressions by The Car Connection

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