2022 Volkswagen Taos

A long-awaited entry of a budget compact crossover from VAG but does it live up to the hype it created?

LISTEN 18:14

Being the most compact VW SUV you can buy right now, we are genuinely surprised by how good the Taos is. While the Tiguan was the most compact till now, the Taos, being the smallest, is surprisingly comfy in the rear which, in our opinion, is quite rare in this segment. It is decently powerful, packs a good amount of cabin and driver assistance features while holding a cheap price tag of $22,995. So, what do you get for that price?


If you look at the current SUV line-up of Volkswagen USA, you will have the new Taos as the newest and the most compact member, the next-in-line would be the Tiguan being one of the ideals of the compact SUV, then there is the eight-seater Atlas which we reviewed recently and lastly the sportier Atlas Cross Sport. Now VW ladders up from 16 percent in 2016 to a staggering 64 percent in global sales which might be the appropriate reason for updating the line-up. The new 2022 Volkswagen Taos is the new entry-level SUV that offers the core VW styling at a lower price, good performance via a 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-four engine, better handling capabilities than most of its rivals, and most importantly, a good cabin experience with great seating comfort. So that’s it for the Taos? Well, we didn’t even start about the complete suite of driver aids which even includes adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and even blindspot monitoring. But, it faces tough competition from the likes of Kia Seltos, Hyundai Kona, and the most popular Mazda CX-30. Will the 2022 Volkswagen Taos outrun the competition? How good is it actually? Should you consider Volkswagen’s entry-level crossover?

Trims and Features

2022 Volkswagen Taos Exterior
- image 1039105

The 2022 Volkswagen Taos has been launched in three trim levels: S, SE, and SEL. All three trims get powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-four engine while the FWD variants sport an eight-speed automatic transmission. The AWD trims are blessed with a seven-speed DSG or in simple words, dual-clutch automatic transmission. The latter variants also get an updated rear suspension to elevate handling dynamics. That said, here is a detailed trims and features list to help you choose the right one.

Price: $22,995.

  • LED headlights.
  • Roof rails.
  • 17-inch alloys.
  • 8.0-inch Virtual Cockpit.
  • Cloth upholstery.
  • 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment display.
  • WiFi integration with Volkswagen Car-Net.
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay wired connectivity.
  • Four-speaker audio system.
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seats.

IQ. DRIVE package.
Price: +$995.

  • Active blindspot monitoring.
  • Forward collision warning.
  • Rear cross-traffic alert.
  • Adaptive cruise control.
  • Lane-keeping assist.
  • Emergency assistance.
2022 Volkswagen Taos Exterior
- image 1039008

Price: $27,245.

  • Heated rearview side mirrors.
  • Keyless entry.
  • 18-inch alloys.
  • Remote ignition.
  • 10-way power-adjustable driver seat with power lumbar support.
  • Heated front seats.
  • Faux-leather upholstery with cloth inserts.
  • Six-speaker audio unit.
  • 8-inch touchscreen infotainment display.
  • Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.
  • SiriusXM.
  • Wireless charging pad.
  • Active blindspot monitoring.
  • Rear cross-traffic alert.
  • Forward collision.

IQ. Drive package is optional for the SE excluding the above features.

Price: $31,490.

  • Illuminated grille bar.
  • Adaptive headlights.
  • Blacked-out 18-inch alloys.
  • Automatic high beams.
  • Rain-sensing automatic wipers.
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control.
  • LED ambient interior lighting.
  • Leather upholstery.
  • Heated steering wheel.
  • 10.3-inch Virtual Cockpit.
  • Rear parking sensors.
  • 8-speaker Beats premium audio unit.
  • Navigation system.
  • Ventilated front seats. (Available only with the SEL AWD)
  • 19-inch alloys. (Available only with the SEL AWD)
  • IQ. Drive package unlocked.

Exterior: Just a Tiguan but compact

2022 Volkswagen Taos Exterior
- image 1039018

Well, we are not completely thrilled by the Taos’ design philosophy because it looks similar to the other thriving VW SUVs like the Tiguan and the Atlas. So there is the typical VW front fascia with LED headlights as standard, which makes it look bold along with the X-shaped upper and lower intake grille which appears in glossy black color. Here too the Taos gets visual enhancements if you choose the top-tier SEL trims: an LED light strip runs across the grille, which we have seen before and we like it more with the latest Mk8 Golf. All three trims get fake side vents, which are of no use but give the overall look a bump. We should complement the Taos’ rugged looks which, in our perspective, can get more attention while the others are focusing on the sportier SUV design. All of that is evident when you get to the front and rear bumpers, the side plastic claddings over the wheel arches, and decent-ish ground clearance. The rear gets similar design treatments as you would from VW with horizontal LED taillights with a fairly big VW logo at the center, a roof spoiler at the top, and a single exhaust tailpipe which you won’t see coming out. From the sides, you will be amazed how compact the Taos is and that will be the only differentiating factor of the crossover from its bigger and more expensive brothers. There are just two wheel sizes available: 17 and 18-inch while the SEL gets a black treatment to its 18-inch alloys.

2022 Volkswagen Taos Exterior
- image 1039020

The new Taos is built on the MQB platform and for that matter, it is quite compact. But if you see the competition, the Taos, surprisingly, is slightly longer in length at 175.8 inches, even wider at 72.5 inches while matching the height with Seltos at 64.4 inches. Surprisingly, the ground clearance is the lowest in the segment with just 6.4 inches but that would not be a deal-breaker if you stick to the tarmac. The wheelbase is the longest at 105.9 inches in the segment. The dimensions of the Taos are just the ideals for a compact crossover but said that the most compact among the competition would be the Kona while the CX-30 and Seltos are pretty much the same with an inch give or take. In terms of the overall curb weight, the Taos seems to be on the heavier side with 3,175 pounds, sliding quickly under the CX-30 while the Kona and Seltos are just under 3,000 pounds.

2022 Volkswagen Taos Exterior
- image 1039021
2022 Volkswagen Taos Exterior Dimensions
Model 2022 Volkswagen Taos
Curb Weight  3,175 lbs.
Length 175.8 in. 
Width  72.5 in. 
Height 64.4 in. 
Ground Clearance  6.4 in. 
Wheelbase  105.9 in. 

Interior: Comfortable and spacious, straight-up business

2022 Volkswagen Taos Interior
- image 1039017

While we are glad that the longer wheelbase has granted a better rear passenger seat spaciousness and all that, we are quite happy with the interior design where things didn’t get rough while cutting corners. We mean, of course, there are blocks of hard plastics but they are laid out in the typical VW way and it gets better when you pay extra for the upper trims. The dashboard trim, for example, will differ within the base S and the top-tier SEL with the latter having more air vents and a leatherette trim on the lower part along with the door panels. What remains unmatched in the segment is the default eight-inch Virtual Cockpit which gets upgraded to a ten-inch one with the SEL. The steering wheel is a flat-bottomed one found in other current Volkswagen cars but only the base trim cancels out on leatherette-wrapping and the SEL gets a heated steering wheel. While the interior features like dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, and heated front seats come default with the SEL, the SE gets leatherette/cloth upholstery, remote ignition, and a ten-way power-adjustable driver seat. The base S gets basic air conditioning, smaller infotainment and driver information displays, and cloth upholstery as standard - your typical base-model Volkswagen.

2022 Volkswagen Taos Interior
- image 1039019

Enough of feature talks, let’s dive into a detailed overview regarding the cabin comfort and this is where the new Taos shines. Not demeaning the other competitors though, but if you compare, the Taos and the Seltos would be the best fit if you want overall comfort.Let’s start with the standard cloth seats and in our short time examining the crossover, we did notice that the cushioning is just like it should be out of an SUV. The cloth seats, though aren’t the best, are really comfortable and you can stick with the base trim if you want to make the Taos a daily commuter. Otherwise, a few thousand dollars would buy you either faux or genuine leather depending on what you choose. As for the spaciousness, the Taos has 40.7 inches of front headroom and 40.1 inches of front legroom. We would quote it as pretty standard if not less in the segment. But what is truly appreciated is the rear-seat headroom of 39.8 inches and legroom of 37.9 inches. You can take the Kona, CX-30, or the Seltos, which have an adequately spacious front row but all of them, except for the Seltos, have a cramped up rear legroom which might hinder taller passengers to experience comfortable long drives. With the Taos, your family and even friends will be more than happy. Speaking of happiness, the default boot space is set at 27.9 cubic feet which is the biggest in the taken competition and will reduce to 24.9 cubic feet with the optional AWD. The latter numbers are still better than the standard Mazda and Hyundai, to be precise.

2022 Volkswagen Taos Interior
- image 1039048

For a quick rundown, here are the full interior features for your reference.

  • Dual-zone automatic climate control.
  • Leatherette-wrapped and heated steering wheel.
  • Leather upholstery.
  • 10-way power-adjustable driver seat.
  • 10.3-inch multi-information display.
  • Heated front seats.
  • Ventilated front seats. (AWD variants only)
2022 Volkswagen Taos Interior Dimensions
Model 2022 Volkswagen Taos
Seating Capacity 5
Front Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches) 40.7/56.5/40.1
Second Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches) 39.8/55.2/37.9
Cargo Capacity  27.9 cu.ft. 
2022 Volkswagen Taos Interior
- image 1039015

The infotainment system consists of the usual suspects which include a 6.5-inch touchscreen display with wired Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration along with WiFi connectivity and connected services. The system-wide MIB3 integration is very refined but is a bit sophisticated like the other German infotainment systems. Going up the trim levels will unlock features like an eight-inch touchscreen display, LED ambient lighting, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, a satellite radio, and a navigation system. A few of the important ones are listed below:

  • 8-speaker Beats premium audio system.
  • Bluetooth connectivity.
  • Ambient interior lighting.
  • SiriusXM.
  • Volkswagen Car-Net.

Performance and Handling: Couldn’t be better at this price point

2022 Volkswagen Taos Exterior
- image 1039073

With the new Taos, you would get much better performance if compared to the naturally aspirated mess created by the competition, as standard. It is a new 1.5-liter turbocharged engine which is a slightly bored-out version of the Jetta’s base 1.4-liter engine. It produces 158 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of maximum torque while driving the front wheels as standard. The engine gets mated to an eight-speed auto by default but for your spirited heart, VW packs a seven-speed DCT with the optional AWD. And since it is a turbocharged engine, the torque kicks in as early as 1,750 revs, reviving a great city driving experience. But, the Taos is not the best either, because it does not have a powerful alternative engine to make the lineup more exciting like the 1.6-liter turbo-powered Seltos, a massively powerful 2.0-liter engine found with the Kona and the 2.5-liter engine with up to 310 pound-feet ratings found with the CX-30. So might not be able to get athletic with the Taos but the engine would be a great sync of adequate power and good fuel economy.

2022 Volkswagen Taos Exterior
- image 1039092

In our short time with the new Taos, we couldn’t get it for acceleration tests but Car and Driver did and they recorded a pretty good 7.4 seconds for the 0-60 and about 15.8 seconds for the standing quarter-mile. Is it any better? Absolutely. Not a single competitor has a faster take-off time than the Taos. The Seltos is the slowest among the group with 10.3 seconds, then comes the Kona with 9.2 seconds, and lastly the CX-30 with 8.4 seconds. We were talking about the 0-60 miles per hour timings, just to be clear. As for the driving impressions, the Taos is a gentleman. It acts as it should be. Not a lot of crossovers in this range will make you feel energetic except for the Kona N but will cost you a lot more than the AWD-equipped Taos. We must add to the statement that the seven-speed DCT is not the fastest and it kind of reacts harshly when accelerating hard. The DCT variants get driving modes like Normal, Eco, Sport, and Individual. The sportier Taos with DSG and All-Motion also sports a better suspension compared to the standard ones and that will unlock the handling prowess. There’s a center limited-slip diff and Volkswagen’s intelligent drive tech divides the required power to the front and rear axle to keep you moving even if you are caught up in a bad or snowy road.

2022 Volkswagen Taos Performance Stats
Model 2022 Volkswagen Taos
Engine Type 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-4
Drive Type FWD/AWD
Transmission 8-speed shiftable automatic/ 7-speed DCT
Power  158 hp @ 5,500 RPM
Torque  184 lb-ft @ 1,750 RPM
0-60 (mph)  7.4 seconds
Quarter-mile 15.8 seconds
Top Speed 125 mph (est.)

Fuel Economy

2022 Volkswagen Taos Exterior
- image 1039037

The front-wheel-driven Taos should be the one to go for if you wish to enjoy a lower fuel cost. However, the competition is not far behind but more on that later. The smallest VW SUV has been rated 28 miles per gallon in the city, a massive 36 miles per gallon on the highway, and a combined figure of 31 miles per gallon. Now, if you compare the numbers to the likes of the Seltos and Kona, the Taos’ city mileage is a little inferior to a mile or two. But the highway mileage is quite impressive with a lead of two to three miles from the leading competition. However, if you get the AWD Taos, then the mileage will come down to 25/32/28 for city/highway/combined. As for the gas tank size, VW has packed a reasonably sized 13.2-gallon gas tank which can deliver up to 475 miles on the highways.

Model 2022 Volkswagen Taos
MPG (City) 28
MPG (Highway) 36
MPG (Combined) 31
Tank Capacity (Gallons) 13.2
Range (City, Highway, Combined) 369.6/475.2/409.2

How safe is the 2022 Volkswagen Taos?

2022 Volkswagen Taos Exterior
- image 1039057

If you want to get your hands on the full suite of driver aids, then you have to choose the IQ. Drive, which is a $995 additional add-on available for the S and SE and is standard on the top SEL trim. The IQ. Drive will unlock features like forward collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, rear cross-traffic alert, active blindspot monitoring, and emergency assistance. We recommend you to not miss this opportunity and if you want an all-round protection with the availability of a semi-autonomous driving experience then the package is a must-have. The Taos is a relatively new crossover that has not received any federal ratings for crash tests from the NHTSA. The IIHS, however, rates the same with the “Good” in the roof strength category and both “Good” and “Marginal” in the headlights category. We will let you know if there are more tests conducted by these agencies. Here are a few standard safety features found with the Taos.

  • Auto delay off headlamps.
  • ABS.
  • Dusk-sensing headlights.
  • Dual front side-mounted airbags.
  • Front and rear head airbags.
  • Post-collision safety system.
  • Stability control.
  • Tire pressure monitoring.
  • Emergency braking assist.

Should you buy the 2022 Volkswagen Taos?

2022 Volkswagen Taos Exterior
- image 1039009

We mean, why not? For the asking price of $22,995, you are getting a spirited yet economical 1.5-liter engine, adequate power on offer, a well-designed cabin with the Virtual Cockpit as standard, optional IQ. Drive and lastly a comfy rear row. All of these features are quite important and VW delivered them well but the competition is not something you should laugh at. The Kona gets a lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, automated emergency braking, and driver attention warning, all of these as standard. The Seltos on the other hand is a great crossover with ample space on offer but comes at a cheaper price tag than the Taos. The only nitpick we would like to discuss and that might be a dealbreaker for a lot of people would be the lack of a few important driver assistance features as standard.


Is the Volkswagen Taos new?
Yes, the Taos is an all-new crossover by the German automobile conglomerate, Volkswagen AG.

At what price does the Volkswagen Taos start?
You can get the new Taos at $22,995 without the destination charges. However, the top-tier SEL is priced at about $31,490.

How powerful is the 2022 Volkswagen Taos?
The 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-four engine powered Taos puts out 158 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque while driving either the front wheels or all four wheels.

How efficient is the Volkswagen Taos?
The front-wheel driven Taos gets an EPA rating of 28/36/31 for city/highway/combined and these figures drop down to 25/32/28 if you choose the 4-Motion system.

Amreetam Basu
Amreetam Basu
Automobile Journalist
After working predominantly as a freelancer at CarHP/CarIndigo, Amreetam joined the TopSpeed team as a journalist in September 2021. In a world where SUVs are booming, he favors sedans and adores BMWs and Mercedes, with a special spot for Lexus and Genesis. He is currently pursuing Master of Arts in History and is 23 years old.  Read full bio
About the author

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