Written by Marco Carvajal
Photographs by Marco Carvajal & Volkswagen
Volkswagen Taos SE 4Motion
Driving the 2022 Volkswagen TAOS can surprise you. The practical and small SUV is better than expected.
The name of this new automobile, Taos, is inspired by a town in northern New Mexico, in the high desert, surrounded by the Sangre de Cristo Mountains
Taos the Smallest SUV
I am very satisfied with the value and generous features included in this new compact SUV. I like how Volkswagen tried to give you an easy way to choose your trim model and purchase your Taos, selecting from three good models that each can have very good features in harmony with a low sales price, in order to get you on the right SUV depending on your needs.
TAOS, the smallest SUV in the VW lineup can impress even the most demanding drivers. The Taos is following the success of other new SUVs in the Volkswagen family.
New car buyers can be happy when owning a Taos. The one-year-old Volkswagen SUV is a small car, but sometimes the smallest are the best.
The Taos SUV is the result of an impressive technological and engineering production effort producing a new compact SUV that is giving a very good fight to the competition and providing one more new option for car buyers looking for a compact and practical SUV.
I enjoy test driving the new Taos in Florida, one of the markets where the Taos is stepping into the segment of compact and mini SUVs.
Volkswagen Growing in the SUV Market
Since a few years ago Volkswagen started to change and evolve from a sedan automobile brand into a new important producer of several SUV models. Just a few years ago the German automaker started to produce the Atlas, a successful bestseller among the brand and its segment, then they came along other brothers like the Atlas Cross Sport, Tiguan, and last year the compact SUV Taos joined the family.
The all-electric ID.4 is also one of the new models recently joining the brand’s new lineup.
Volkswagen now features a a full lineup of very attractive SUVs, many of them are manufactured or assembled in the United States and Mexico.
The TAOS is compact but very bold. It has been created to compete in the segment of smaller SUVs. Even if the TAOS is not so small it allows Volkswagen to compete with mini-SUVs and also with compact SUVs, it can fill a gap between the two markets, mini and compact SUVs. This compact SUV is built on the Volkswagen MQB platform.
In general small SUVs are popular among young car buyers who need less space than a large SUV but still don’t want to drive a sedan as they want a mini SUV providing more space and a more aggressive sports design, the Taos is built to give those young buyers a great small SUV.
good value for money. Taos is opening a door into a new segment for Volkswagen.
The attractive exterior of the Taos features a sculpted hood and a wide three-bar grille similar to the larger Atlas Cross Sport. For a sportier look, the Taos’ front bumper with side air intakes, black detailing, and a large lower air intake continues to perfect the appealing appearance.
Continuing with more value for your money, the Taos includes LED headlights, Daytime Running Lights (DRLs), and taillights standard in all Taos trims.
The Smallest Volkswagen SUV doesn’t Feel Small
The Taos is a small compact SUV, but due to its great architecture, design, and space distribution, it feels bigger than it actually is. The Taos reminds me of the great design of some hotel rooms where you feel you have all the space you need when staying in certain hotel rooms or suites. I know the Taos is small, but I feel very comfortable driving this car.
The Taos is about four inches shorter in wheelbase and nearly ten inches shorter overall than the Volkswagen Tiguan, however the passenger area feels very similar in size. The front seats are very comfortable, it has a good optimal space in its segment.
The new Taos would easily take four adults and their luggage with enough space. The Taos has 37.9-inch rear legroom that gives the new SUV a truly compact interior about the size of a midsize car. The rear seats feel even bigger than they are.
Cargo volume is large for the segment, it measures 27.9 cubic feet with seats up and 65.9 cubic feet with seats folded down for FWD models. Measurements drop down to 24.9 / 60.2 cubic feet with the AWD version.
The TAOS looks like a smaller version of its older brother the Atlas. The exterior design, front and back is bold and sporty and even with value pricing, it feels modern and a bit luxurious.
The Taos is a German Volkswagen with an American Body Style, made in Puebla, Mexico, specially designed for the United States.
José Bravo, Product Manager for Compact SUVs from Volkswagen told me that Volkswagen has invested a lot of resources to produce a great quality Taos, elevating quality standards and features with the characteristically perfectionism from the German brand.
The Taos is also produced for Mexico, Brazil, and South America but with different specifications than the Taos available in the U.S.
TAOS Configuration Easy to Buy Just Three Trim Models
It is very easy to select, buy and configure the new Taos. Volkswagen created three main trim models and the main configuration detail you can change is to have your TAOS either Front Wheel Drive standard or select the optional All-Wheel Drive, known as Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system. Pricing is very low but the car is very generous with features and fantastic design details.
The three available TAOS trim models S, SE, and SEL come with several features. Each Taos models is available as FWD or AWD.
The SEL AWD is the top of the line with ventilated seats, great quality premium audio Beats brand and other features. The standard BeatsAudio system on the SEL features a 12-channel, 400-watt amplifier, digital signal processing, and eight speakers with an additional speaker subwoofer. SEL ventilated front seats are only available in the AWD model. If you need ventilated front seats then the SEL AWD is your model.
The top-of-the-line AWD SEL Taos has a very strong push, it is precise, fast, and very attractive inside and outside.
The S comes with an all-weather package that adds heated front seats, heated wash nozzles, and heated side mirrors. This package is standard on other trim levels, with or without AWD. On the inside, S models have cloth seats.
SE models feature CloudTex upholstery and cloth seating surfaces, and SEL models receive leather seating surfaces.
For a small SUV, the Taos has exceptional legroom in the backseat.
The panoramic sunroof is available as an option for SE and SEL trim levels.
The Taos falls into the compact SUV category, competing with other compact crossovers or SUVs like the Buick Encore GX, Jeep Compass, Mazda CX-30, Kia Seltos, and Subaru Crosstrek, among many others. The Taos also competes with smaller cars like the Hyundai Venue or Kona.
The compact SUV segment is very competitive with many auto-manufacturers producing new models at value pricing.
Volkswagen has an attractive SUV that competes well in a tough segment. It offers an excellent ride with excellent interior space, which with its
Pricing is relatively low for all that you get with this sporty and attractive SUV. For 2023, the base model Taos S FWD starts with pricing around $24K, and the SEL, top of the line, $34K for the AWD fully loaded version. This price is around two thousand dollars higher than the 2021 and 2021 Taos models.
TAOS offers great value due to its low pricing, safety, standard features, style and very good interior interior distribution.
The Taos turbo engine is powerful and its handling is similar to that of VW’s large SUVs, such as the Atlas and the Atlas Cross Sport, and it responds without problems.
This SUV is very easy to drive, with a pleasant driving quality, that stays firm in curves with a smooth and light direction.
The automatic engine start and stop system helps to save gasoline and activates quickly.
The Volkswagen Taos is an ideal vehicle for those looking to feel comfortable, safe and powerful while driving a small SUV.
Thanks to sophisticated technology such as variable geometry turbocharging, the Taos delivers excellent fuel economy and good performance. The new TAOS produces very good low fuel efficiency with 31 MPG Combined in the FWD trim, 28 MPG City / 26 MPG Highway.
Turbocharged 1.5-liter Four-Cylinder Engine
The Taos is powered by a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a direct-injection EA211 TSI engine. The Taos 1.5 L turbocharged engine produces 158 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque.
It generates its peak torque of 184 pound-feet of torque at 1,750 rpm, helping you get up to speed quickly.
- 1.5-liter TSI engine
- 158 hp
- 184 lb-ft of torque
- 8-speed automatic and front-wheel drive, or
- 7-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic and available 4Motion all-wheel drive
Volkswagen’s 4Motion All-Wheel-Drive System is Optional in all TAOS Trim Models
All 2022 Taos models come standard with front-wheel drive and 8-speed automatic transmission, while all-wheel-drive models have a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. Drivers who like more control of the ride and a stronger shift from speed to speed would prefer the dual-clutch transmission, but if you want a smoother ride and don’t need so much power then the FWD 8-speed automatic can be a good model to select.
“S” Sports Mode
The Taos seems to have a similar quality ride and handling as his bigger brothers’ SUVs like the Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport. Its turbo engine is excellent. The FWD drives well but the AWD has the power and it is my choice. The “S” Sport setting in the transmission, holds gears longer and shifts later, producing more power for those who want a sporty Taos.
This SUV is very easy to drive, with good performance and precision, which maintains composure in corners with smooth steering. It has the ride of an excellent compact SUV, which could capture new car buyers for the Volkswagen brand, who are looking to feel comfortable, safe, and with power at hand.
The automatic engine starts and stops system, which shuts down the engine at stops to help save gas, but it kicks in quickly and with just a slight shudder.
Value is everywhere inside the Taos, It seems that the German automaker is following strategies from competitor Korean brands who give you full extras cars for a low price, with the goal to sell and sell with huge volume, even with a very small profit on each unit but winning in the long run.
The Taos come standard with a digital instrument cluster that can be customized to display anything from the song being played to turn-by-turn instructions, either from the navigation system or from your phone, via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
A 6.5-inch infotainment screen is standard, expanding on more expensive models to an 8-inch screen, capable of wireless connection for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.
The big tech differences are the larger 10.3-inch digital cockpit display on the SEL, which beats the standard 8.0-inch digital cockpit and navigation. The Taos screen resolution is very high, it looks very good, better than many competitors.
Standard and optional features like standard Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, Car-Net with Wi-Fi capability, IQ.DRIVE driver assistance suite, and MIB3 with wireless App-Connect
Car-Net Remote Access allows Taos owners to interact with their vehicle from miles away via mobile app.
The Taos brings optional safety packages that will include features like blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and adapted cruise control that can bring the car to a complete stop when traffic jams. Blind-spot monitors and the automatic forward emergency braking are standard.
It includes six airbags standard along with a number of electronic safety systems, such as an Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Volkswagen’s Automatic Post-Collision Braking System. All Taos models feature a standard rearview camera.
The Taos also includes Volkswagen’s Intelligent Crash Response System that shuts off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and switches on the hazard lights if the car is involved in certain types of collisions.
Volkswagen’s IQ.DRIVE advanced driver assistance technology features hands-on semi-automated capability.
IQ.DRIVE alerts you when obstacles appear in front of the driver and keeps an eye around.
Blind Spot Monitor is available on S models in the IQ.DRIVE S package and standard on SE and SEL.
Taos Warranty and Maintenance
Every Taos includes a generous bumper-to-bumper New Vehicle Limited Warranty and Carefree Maintenance Program. The warranty provides coverage for four years or 50,000 miles and contrary to other car brands’ warranties, this one can be transferred to a subsequent owner throughout the remainder of its duration.
The Taos Carefree Maintenance Program provides scheduled maintenance services for two years or 20,000 miles at no additional charge and can be transferred to a subsequent owner throughout the remainder of its duration.
Volkswagen offers an excellent warranty, however, some competitors offer longer and extended warranties in the competitive automobile US market.