Monday, 28 November 2022

2022 Volkswagen Taos is a roomy, high-tech subcompact SUV Featured

Posted On Saturday, 19 November 2022 21:27 Written by
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The all-new 2022 Volkswagen Taos slots in at the bottom of the VW SUV lineup. The all-new 2022 Volkswagen Taos slots in at the bottom of the VW SUV lineup. Photo courtesy of Volkswagen

 

As the appetite for SUVs continues to grow, lineups continue to expand. 

For Volkswagen, their latest entry slots in at the bottom of their lineup — a brand new subcompact SUV called the 2022 Volkswagen Taos.

It enters an expansive field of competitors including the Chevy Trailblazer, Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-30, Hyundai Kona, Kia Soul, Nissan Kicks, Jeep Renegade, Toyota C-HR and more.

I recently spent some time behind the wheel of a 2022 VW Taos, and I”m back with a full report.

This two-row, 5-passenger SUV impresses by being roomier than many of its rivals in terms of rear seat comfort and overall cargo space, the inclusion of solid tech and safety innovations, and an enjoyable driving experience courtesy of its turbocharged power plant.

LOOKS

The Taos is one step below the Volkswagen Tiguan in their SUV lineup, coming in two feet shorter, three inches less wide and two inches shorter.

Overall, the exterior of the Taos is clean and attractive, particularly the front grille and wheel designs, but I wouldn’t call it a segment standout. What does impress is that it's actually one of the larger subcompact SUVs available, and every inch counts in this segment.

17-inch wheels are standard, but 18-inch and 19-inch options are available. The Taos features automatic LED headlights, daytime running lights and taillights; an adaptive front lighting system with dynamic cornering lights; Illuminated front light bar in grille; Heated, foldable, power adjustable side mirrors; Rain-sensing, variable intermittent front wipers with heated washer nozzles; Rear window washer and wiper; Tinted privacy glass for 2nd row and cargo area windows; and silver roof rails.

There is also an optional panoramic sunroof that definitely enhances the Taos’ looks and driving experience.

Moving inside, the Taos stands out due to the extensive headroom and legroom, even in the rear seats — something that’s rarely found in this segment. The Taos claims 37.9 inches of rear-seat legroom, not much less than the Tiguan. You’ll quickly forget that this is the smallest SUV offering from VW due to its impressive dimensions.

Many small SUVs disappoint when it comes to cargo space, but not the Taos. Cargo space comes in at 28 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 66 cubic feet with rear seats folded down. A 60/40 split-folding rear seat also increases versatility. And small storage spaces are ample in the Taos.

Cloth, leatherette and leather seating options are available in the Taos. Overall, the materials used inside the Taos are high quality for this price range. The vehicle features dual-zone automatic climate control; second-row air vents; heated, leatherette wrapped steering wheel; heated and ventilated driver’s seat; heated and ventilated front passenger seat; and ambient interior lighting.

HOW’S THE RIDE?

The 2022 Volkswagen Taos comes with one engine option — a 1.5-liter, turbo four-cylinder engine paired with either a 7-speed or 8-speed automatic transmission.

Output is 184 horsepower and 158 pound-feet of torque, both FWD and AWD are offered, and an engine-stop-start system is included.

My test vehicle featured the 4MOTION all-wheel drive setup and drive mode selection. Drive modes included Eco, Normal and Sport, and there are also Snow and Off-road modes. If you’re looking for a bolder, more fun experience in your daily drive, you’ll tend to choose sport mode whenever possible.

The Taos' biggest drawback is the somewhat sluggish start when you want to get moving, as there is a bit of a delay. But once you are moving, it's one of the best in the business for acceleration and handling. So while the slow launch is a concern, it's not a deal breaker in my view. Zero-to-60 time is roughly 7.5 seconds.

Typically when I drive these smaller SUVs, the ride can be quite disappointing, So to have a legitimate fun time driving the Taos was a pleasant surprise, and something most SUVs in the class can’t match.

It can be a bit noisy inside the Taos, between engine noise and exterior sounds intruding, but nothing too extreme. And the overall driving characteristics of the Taos are quite smooth and responsive to driver input. Handling is a high point, as is its very responsive braking.

An innovative multi-link suspension design is included on the AWD version of the Taos to improve ride quality further.

 
TECHNOLOGY, SAFETY

The 2022 Volkswagen Taos features either a 6.5-inch or 8-inch infotainment system. Overall the design and utility of this system is pretty simple and easy to use by both voice and touch controls. It’s got a more low-key look than some competitors, but that’s OK as looks aren’t as important as function.

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are included, so if you prefer to mirror your phone in the center screen, you can do so easily. I regularly used Android Auto in the vehicle and it worked well.

Other tech highlights in the Taos include remote start, keyless access, push-button start, anti-theft alarm with engine immobilizer, AM/FM/HD radio, satellite radio with 3-month subscription, Bluetooth connectivity, wireless smartphone integration and wireless phone charging, USB ports, and optional navigation system.

For a smaller vehicle, the Taos has an impressive amount of safety features — including semi-autonomous driving assistance that keeps you safe in your lane for extended periods of time without driver input, which is rare for the segment.

It can also read road signs and share that information in your display.

Other helpful safety features included advanced airbag protection system with six airbags, intelligent crash response system, automatic post-collision braking, LATCH system for child car seats, tire pressure monitoring and a rearview camera.

VW’s IQ.DRIVE offers Travel Assist (the semi-automated driving assistance), Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop & Go, Lane Assist (Lane Keeping System), Front Assist (Forward Collision Warning & Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring), Active Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Traffic Alert.


MPG

The official fuel mileage numbers on the all-wheel-drive 2022 Taos that I tested are 25 city/32 highway/28 combined. Going for the front-wheel drive erosion gets you 28 city and 36 highway.

These are excellent numbers and compare well in the segment, and my driving experience in th Taos showed these numbers to be realistic.

Be aware though that drivers who are heavy footed on the accelerator are likely to experience lower fuel mileage numbers.

PRICE

The loaded Taos that I tested was priced at $36,535, but its base price starts about $25K, so there’s a good range of cost options depending on your budget, and this is a typical range in this segment.

Trim levels are S, SE and SEL, and warranties are decent, including:
— Four years/50,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper and powertrain coverage
— Seven years/100,000 miles of rust-through coverage

— Free scheduled maintenance for two years/20,000 miles

— Roadside assistance for three years/36,000 miles

BOTTOM LINE  

Overall, the subcompact 2022 Taos is a strong entry at the entry level of the SUV class for Volkswagen.

The Taos tops most competitors in roominess, drive quality and tech, and it’s definitely worth a test-drive if you’re looking for a subcompact SUV. 

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AutoTechReviews.com can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page. Follow AutoTechReviews on Instagram at @Autotechreviews. Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu

 



Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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