2022 Volkswagen Taos Preview

FAST FACTS
  • New compact crossover SUV
  • Competes with entry-level vehicles
  • Available in S, SE, and SEL trim
  • Sophisticated new 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine
  • 8-speed automatic or 7-speed dual-clutch transmission
  • Front-wheel or all-wheel drive
  • Supplies up to 66.3 cubic feet of cargo space
  • Available IQ Drive safety technology
  • Optional wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • On sale in time for the summer of 2021

Introduction

The 2022 Volkswagen Taos is a new small SUV that plugs a big, gaping hole in the automaker’s lineup recently created by the discontinuation of the Golf Alltrack.

2022 Volkswagen Taos SEL Blue Front View 

When the all-new VW Taos goes on sale, it will slot under the 2022 Tiguan and effectively replace the Beetle and most of the Golf lineup in the U.S. market. Don’t worry, driving enthusiasts. Redesigned versions of the sporty 2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI and the Golf R will continue.

VW says it made the Taos specifically for the North American region, where crossover SUVs run rampant. Named for the small, artsy, adventure town of Taos, New Mexico, Volkswagen’s new baby will, according to the automaker, offer “great value, excellent fuel economy, and great packaging, as well as advanced infotainment and driver-assistance features.” 

When it arrives, it will compete against a wide variety of models. They include the Buick Encore GX, Chevrolet Trailblazer, Fiat 500X, Ford EcoSport, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona, Jeep Compass, Kia Seltos, Mazda CX-30, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Nissan Rogue Sport, Subaru Crosstrek, and Toyota C-HR. (Search for reviews of these competitors.)

Exterior Features

Volkswagen says it wanted the Taos to look rugged, more like a traditional SUV than a typical car. To achieve this goal, VW says the Taos features a long wheelbase with short overhangs, a prominent hood, lower body cladding, simulated front and rear skid plates, and chiseled character lines. Standard LED headlights illuminate the way forward, and aluminum wheels are standard, ranging in size from 17 inches to 19 inches in diameter.

2022 Volkswagen Taos SEL Blue Rear View

Interior Features

Every 2022 Taos comes with a two-tone interior treatment emphasizing the SUV’s width and high-tech appearance. Standard equipment includes Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit instrumentation with an 8-inch display and a 6.5-inch infotainment system touchscreen with next-generation Car-Net connected services, and every Taos is ready for Wi-Fi with a paid subscription.

2022 Volkswagen Taos SEL Dashboard

Cloth upholstery is standard with Taos S trim, while the Taos SE features V-Tex leatherette. The Taos SEL has leather seats. Though the Taos is 9.3 inches shorter than a Volkswagen Tiguan, it is nearly as roomy inside and provides exceptional front and rear legroom for the compact crossover SUV class.

Open the rear liftgate, and trunk space is reminiscent of the first-generation Tiguan. You can stash 28.1 cubic feet of cargo in it. Fold the 60/40-split back seat down, and the maximum volume measures a generous 66.3 cu.-ft.

Optional Features

Volkswagen offers numerous upgrades for the new 2022 Taos, either as part of a trim level upgrade or in option packages.

Highlights include a Cold Weather Package with heated front seats, heated side mirrors, and heated windshield washer nozzles. A heated steering wheel is also available, along with ventilated front seats. A dual-zone automatic climate control system helps you ward off a chill or keep your cool, and remote engine starting is available.

Additionally, the new Taos offers automatic high-beam headlights, an adaptive front lighting system that helps drivers see better when taking curves and corners, and parking sensors. A light bar embedded into the grille adds a high-tech appearance, and a 10-color interior ambient lighting system is available. 

Volkswagen will also offer an oversized panoramic sunroof for the new Taos, as well as an 8-way power-adjustable driver’s seat and passive keyless entry.

Under the Hood

Volkswagen debuts a new 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine in the 2022 Taos. It’s based on the 1.4-liter turbo VW uses in the Jetta sedan, but it employs a specific implementation of the Miller cycle to close the engine’s valves early during the intake cycle to improve fuel economy. The engine also features a Variable Turbine Geometry turbocharger, 350-bar high-pressure direct fuel injection, a high 11.5:1 compression ratio, and special cylinder liners to reduce friction.

The result is an efficient engine making 158 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque, the latter available across a broad rev range. With front-wheel drive, Volkswagen pairs the engine with an 8-speed automatic transmission. With all-wheel drive, a 7-speed dual-clutch transmission distributes the power. 

Every 2022 Taos has a front strut suspension. At the rear, FWD models have a simple torsion-beam rear axle suspension, while the Taos AWD gets a multi-link independent design.

We’ve driven pre-production prototypes of the new Taos, and this SUV drives like a Volkswagen. Thanks to its torque, ample acceleration suits a variety of driving situations. The ride is connected but compliant, and the suspension does an excellent job of controlling roll in turns. Light-effort steering is nevertheless crisp and communicative, and the brakes are easy to modulate. We averaged 30.7 mpg in a mix of driving situations.

Safety

The 2022 Volkswagen Taos is the second of the company’s models to get IQ Drive in the North American market. That’s the new name of VW’s collection of advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS). With the Taos, it is optional with S and SE trim, and standard with SEL trim.

IQ Drive is remarkable for several reasons. First, it includes all of the most useful ADAS, including adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic warning, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist.

Second, IQ Drive equips the Taos with something called Travel Assist. Travel Assist pairs the adaptive cruise control with the lane-keeping assistance to reduce fatigue on long highway drives. It is a Level 2 driving aid, but you must keep your hands on the steering wheel, or IQ Drive will issue visual and aural warnings to retake control of the SUV. If necessary, sharp, momentary braking is Travel Assist’s last resort to get a driver’s attention.

Third, IQ Drive has Emergency Assist, which is an automatic emergency stop assistance system. Suppose a driver ignores all of Travel Assist’s requests for attention. In that case, the technology assumes he or she is no longer able to drive, and it will bring the Taos to a stop while activating the hazard flashers to indicate a problem. 

Technology

The Taos’s standard infotainment system has a 6.5-inch touchscreen display, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Car-Net 2.0 connected services, including Wi-Fi access with a paid subscription. 

The available MIB 3 infotainment system upgrades the Taos to superior back-end technology plus an 8-inch touchscreen, wireless smartphone charging, and wireless versions of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Navigation is available with this system, as well as a Beats Audio premium sound system.

During our time in the Taos prototype, the MIB 3 infotainment system’s voice recognition technology performed well, and the Beats Audio speakers delivered impressive sound for the anticipated price point.

Volkswagen is the source of information in this article. It was accurate as of October 12, 2020, but it may have changed since that date.