2022 Volkswagen Taos quick drive review: This little SUV is VW’s next big thing – Roadshow

The Taos will formally debut on Oct. 13.


The Taos is Volkswagen’s forthcoming new small SUV, and it will possibly’t get right here quickly sufficient. The 2022 VW Taos will compete within the booming subcompact crossover class, which is tremendous vital, particularly contemplating SUVs accounted for roughly 60% of the model’s gross sales within the US by the primary half of this yr. Smaller than a Tiguan however extra sensible than a Golf, the Taos should be a right-size providing.

Forward of the Taos’ official debut on Oct. 13, I spent about an hour driving a prototype close to Volkswagen’s analysis and growth middle in Oxnard, California. It is undoubtedly not prepared for primetime simply but; the outside and inside had been completely coated and I can not affirm a lot in the way in which of specs. My massive takeaways? The Taos is peppy, cozy and straightforward to drive. Plus, it may need an actual edge when it comes to gas economic system.

As for the way it’ll look, do not get too hooked up to the images seen right here. This would possibly appear to be a accomplished SUV, nevertheless it’s really a really intelligent type of camouflage the place your entire automobile is wrapped with styling components from different VW fashions. The automotive you see right here is white, however the true SUV beneath is definitely blue.

The Taos is successfully an Americanized model of the Volkswagen Tharu offered in different nations, and was rumored to be known as Tarek, to not be confused with Tarok (severely, these names). It appears to be like like slightly Tiguan with barely extra upright proportions. In different phrases, it is cute, if a bit fundamental. However since I do not really know what the US-spec automotive appears to be like like, I am going to have to order remaining judgment till it is unwrapped. Actually.

Volkswagen tells me the 2022 Taos is roughly 11 inches shorter in size than a Tiguan, which is massive for its class. Meaning this newcomer is 174.2 inches lengthy, positioning it properly towards rivals just like the Kia Seltos ( inches), Nissan Rogue Sport (172.eight inches) and Subaru Crosstrek (176.5 inches). Count on width and top to fall in line, as nicely.

There’s loads of area contained in the Taos. Headroom is ample, shoulder room is satisfactory, and with the motive force’s seat set to my excellent place, backseat riders have a good quantity of legroom, although have in mind, I am solely 5 ft, eight inches tall. Given the Taos is about the identical measurement as its aforementioned rivals, anticipate this SUV to be inside a couple of inches of their respective dimensions. In different phrases, if you should haul a number of individuals and issues, it’s going to doubtless be too small. However for you, a associate and perhaps a child or a canine, the Taos will likely be tremendous.

The Taos is 11 inches shorter in size than a Volkswagen Tiguan.


The US-spec Taos will likely be obtainable with one engine, which is half new. This 1.5-liter turbo I4 is an evolution of the 1.4-liter EA211 engine presently discovered within the Jetta. The up to date, barely enlarged motor will get APS-coated cylinder liners as a way to scale back inner friction, in addition to a variable turbocharger with greater increase stress. All informed, the 1.5T just isn’t solely barely extra highly effective than the 1.4T it replaces, it needs to be extra environment friendly, too.

VW says the 1.5T makes 158 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. That is an 11-hp enhance versus the 1.4T, however an an identical quantity of twist. When the Taos goes on sale, it’s going to initially be obtainable with front-wheel drive and an eight-speed automated transmission, however shortly after launch, an all-wheel-drive variant will come on-line with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Volkswagen of America COO Johan de Nysschen says the AWD mannequin is not simply to appease people who want foul-weather traction, both; paired with the DCT, he says this model needs to be barely extra participating to drive. Here is hoping.

Because it stands, the Taos is not actually a thrill behind the wheel, not that it must be. I solely drove the prototype for 29 miles in early-afternoon visitors, so I am not ready to offer you a full dynamic evaluation but. My fast impressions: The steering is direct however lacks suggestions, the journey high quality is tuned for consolation above all and there is an acceptable quantity of physique roll whereas cornering. Extra importantly, the factor that impresses me most is how quiet the Taos is on the street, even on this unfinished prototype kind.

The Taos’ new 1.5-liter engine looks as if an actual peach.


The additional advantage of the brand new EA211 engine is not only a slight energy bump, it is higher gas economic system. I am not speaking EPA check numbers, both — VW actually needs to make sure its engines are environment friendly when pushed by actual individuals in the true world. For what it is value, I’ve at all times had a fairly simple time assembly or exceeding the EPA mileage rankings in trendy VW fashions (particularly the TDIs — remember those?). The 2022 Taos ought to ship extra of the identical.

With out deliberately altering my driving type, on the finish of a (decidedly brief) 29-mile loop, my check Taos’ journey pc confirmed 34.2 miles per gallon. That is after a mixture of 70-mph freeway driving, 55-mph backroad cruising and a few 25-to-40-mph metropolis stuff. If this hypothetically interprets to an EPA combined-cycle ranking of 34 mpg, that places the Taos forward of the aforementioned Crosstrek (30 mpg), Rogue Sport (28 mpg) and Seltos (31 mpg), to not point out the Ford EcoSport (28 mpg), Hyundai Kona (30 mpg), Jeep Renegade (27 mpg), Mazda CX-30 (28 mpg) and others. Not dangerous.

I am going to be capable of inform you extra about its specs, infotainment tech, driver-assistance choices (my check automotive had lane-keeping help energetic, so there’s that) and, most significantly, pricing (suppose low $20,000s) when the Taos debuts on Oct. 13. However assuming Volkswagen would not screw up the remainder of the Taos package deal, it is poised to be a strong contender within the extremely aggressive subcompact crossover class — and never a second too quickly.

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Steven Ewing