Stylish, Spacious, and Surprisingly Affordable: The 2022 Volkswagen Taos

The Volkswagen Taos is a sizable entry-level model.

Volkswagen has a new crossover and it occupies the entry-level position once held by the VW Tiguan. The 2022 Volkswagen Taos is the latest utility vehicle from this German brand, a subcompact model with room for five.

The VW Taos slots beneath the Tiguan and is followed by the Volkswagen Atlas Sport and Atlas. Add in the electric ID.4 and Volkswagen has five utility vehicles for consideration. SUVs remain the fastest-growing automotive segment, therefore Volkswagen is poised to win over new customers with its broad and varied offerings.

The 2022 Volkswagen Taos comes in S ($22,995/$25,040); SE ($27,245/$28,695); and SEL ($31,490/$33,045) trims. The first set of prices are for the front-wheel-drive models, the second prices cover all-wheel drive. Add $1,195 for the destination charge.

2022 Volkswagen Taos Review

Certainly, as an all-new model, there is much to digest about the 2022 Taos. For starters, this model rides on Volkswagen’s modular MQB platform. The new architecture allows Volkswagen to standardize the location of pedals and most engine-bay dimensions.

In brief, the cross-utilization allows this automaker to share rough layouts, ensure uniform safety across its model line, and save money. Hopefully, at least some of those savings are passed on to customers.

What Does Taos Mean?

Volkswagen chose Taos for its subcompact crossover utility vehicle, which is the name of a small town in northern New Mexico’s high desert region.

The town is known for its historic adobe buildings, which are inhabited by Native Americans. Taos is pronounced “taws” or “touse,” or house with a “t.”

Familiar Styling

VW Taos profile

There is something inherently familiar with the Volkswagen Taos. That quickly becomes known when comparing it with other VW models, especially the Atlas. Specifically, Volkswagen took several Atlas design elements and applied them to the Taos.

These include the wide grille, fascia chin, wheel wells, beltline design, and liftgate layout of the midsize model. Notably, the Taos can also pass for a smaller version of the compact Tiguan.

Where the original Tiguan was the smallest of compact crossovers when it rolled out in 2009, the Taos is the largest subcompact crossover. Moreover, its dimensions are larger than the original Tiguan, thus it is sized well for the segment.

2022 Volkswagen Taos front three-quarter view
The all-new 2022 Volkswagen Taos crossover SUV.

The list of standard features includes LED reflector headlights with LED daytime running lights. The SEL trim comes with projector lights. Automatic headlights, LED taillights, roof rails, power-adjustable side mirrors, and 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels are included.

Among the upgrades are rain-sensing wipers, heated side mirrors, and a panoramic sunroof ($1,200). Some models come with 18- or 19-inch wheel choices, including black ($395) and machined alloy. Heated front washer nozzles are also available.

Roomy Interior

Volkswagen Taos front seats

With a wheelbase just four inches shorter than the Tiguan, the Taos delivers exceptional room for a small crossover. Five can sit in a pinch, although four is ideal. We have sat in competing models where the rear seat is tight for adults and is best suited for children. At least the Taos can claim room for four adults.

There is nothing spectacular about the Taos’ cabin, at least from a styling standpoint. However, it is not utilitarian boring as it makes use of notches and curves across the dashboard. A combination of soft-touch materials, brightwork trim, and hard plastics are utilized. As for fit and finish, we give the Taos high marks.

Volkswagen Taos rear seats

We found the front seats mostly comfortable, although, like other small crossovers, a few additional inches of thigh support would be ideal. A 60/40 split fold-down rear bench seat occupies the second row. The Taos comes with 28.1 cubic feet of standard cargo space or a whopping 66.3 cubic feet with the rear seat folded.

All Taos trims feature push-button start. Full power accessories, air conditioning, cloth seats, and a manual driver’s seat are included. Move up through the trim levels and remote start is present.

Other available features include upgraded cloth or leather seats, an 8-way power driver’s seat with lumbar support, heated front seats, and ventilated front seats. Dual-zone climate control is available.

Safety Features

Volkswagen Taos

Driver assistance technology is a big deal these days and the Volkswagen Taos has what customers want. Bundled under the IQ Drive S Package ($995 with the S, $895 with the SE, and included with the SEL), these features build on an automatic post-collision braking system that comes standard.

The package comprises forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and blind-spot monitoring. Lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control with full stop and go, and emergency assist is part of the package.

Yes, you will pay extra for these features on the S and SE. However, we think that this is the one package upgrade worth taking.

Technology Features

Volkswagen Taos dashboard

On the tech front, the Taos comes with a 6.5-inch display, four speakers, HD Radio, two USB ports, Bluetooth, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Also available is an 8-inch touch-screen display, six speakers, navigation, two rear USB ports, wireless device charging, and an 8-speaker audio system.

One of the more intriguing features is the Taos’ standard and customizable digital instrument panel. The S and SE trims come with an 8-inch display, while the SEL has a 10.25-inch display that’s fully configurable.

You might miss the standard displays at first, but the panel offers clear and crisp readouts that seem as if they belong on a far pricier vehicle.

New Powertrain

VW Taos

Volkswagen supplies the Taos with one engine choice, a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. This one makes 158 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. It works with an 8-speed automatic transmission in front-wheel-drive models. A 7-speed dual-clutch transmission sends power to all four wheels with all-wheel drive.

A cursory inspection of what competing models offer shows the Taos is the middle of the pack. That said, we found the Taos offers capable straight-line acceleration and fair passing power. An “S” drive mode on all models holds gears long, but only the all-wheel-drive models feature a selectable drive mode.

Moreover, the Volkswagen swaps out the rear torsion beam for a multi-link rear suspension for the all-wheel-drive model. We found the Taos AWD delivers decent stability and control while turning.

VW Taos rear three quarter

The ride is also comfortable. The default steering mode is light, if not especially involved. But with the drive mode selector, more engaging driving thanks to increased steering weight becomes possible.

In other words, you might not need all-wheel drive where you live. But if you prefer a better driving experience, then it is worth considering.

Competitive Set

The number of Volkswagen Taos competitors easily exceeds one dozen models. Most come with standard front-wheel drive, although models such as the Nissan Kicks and the Toyota CH-R are front-wheel-drive-only. The Subaru Crosstrek is the lone competitor with standard all-wheel drive.

Customers should also cross-shop the all-new 2024 Toyota Corolla Cross as well as the Ford EcoSport and the Chevrolet Trax. The Ford Escape, Ford Bronco Sport, Kia Seltos, Jeep Compass, Mazda CX-3, and Mazda CX-30 are other models to consider.

Finally, the Mitsubishi Outlander, Hyundai Kona, and the Nissan Rogue Sport are worth a look.

Our Recommendation

Volkswagen Taos rear view

It is “mission accomplished” with the Volkswagen Taos. This small SUV does everything it needs to do to supply a gateway to the VW brand. You can still shop the Golf if a small VW car model is to your liking, but when it comes to crossovers, the Taos supplies a compelling entry point.

Some more good news about the Taos is that there isn’t a poorly equipped model to be had. We can see people starting their search with the S and adding the safety package and be done with it. This is an important consideration for anyone who needs to keep their budget around $25,000.

See AlsoAbout the Volkswagen Taos

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Matthew Keegan

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