Susan Frissell, Editor,

As with all manufacturers in the auto world, SUV’s rule. As the years pass, so do the few sedans that are still around. This writer for one, hates to see the demise of the four-door car, being replaced just by SUV offerings. So too with Volkswagen as they add the 2022 Taos. Replacing the VW Golf, Taos-competing with GMC Acadia, Mazda CX-50, Buick Encore, among others-isn’t anything special. Which is not to say it isn’t a nice SUV. As with most SUV replacements (for the sedans), you’ll pay more.

The VW Taos offers three models, the entry-level starting at a reasonable $24,190. Buyers can still opt for the VW GTI and Golf R, but the Taos provides extra space, more cargo room, and more a car-like ride than the VW racers. Priced competitively, Taos

Not especially ‘distinctive,’ the new Taos is a nice-looking SUV. No frills, just basic styling. With a formal SUV-type roofline, Taos adds more cargo space and headroom inside, even with the optional panoramic moonroof, which our test Taos had. Offering some ‘standard’ features such as LED headlights and taillights, the Taos also has nice looking bodyside trim. Lettering is new on the tailgate, and one can opt for different trim levels: S,SE, SEL.

The Taos offers a choice of wheel size to compliment the ride. Our Taos SEL came equipped with 19-inch alloy wheels. Standard tire size is P215/50HR 18, front and rear. Compact spare.

The new Taos can be had in one of three different trim levels: 1.5T S: $23,495, 1.5T SE, $27,895 and 1.5T SEL, $32,090. Our press Taos carried a SRP of $35,835 with two options: Pure Gray Exterior ($395), and Power Tilting and Sliding Panoramic Sunroof ($1,200). The engine: 1.5L TSI 16-valve DOHC turbo 4-cylinder engine.

As noted above, the Taos is available with a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine; 158 hp and 184 lb.-ft. torque. Standard is FWD, fitted with an eight-speed automatic suspension. While the Taos seemed to provide enough power, the jerky transmission was unpleasant to drive. AWD is standard (pared with 8-speed automatic trans, while AWD comes with 8-speed dual clutch automatic.

In competition with the Chevy Trailblazer and Subaru Crosstrek, the Taos is a tad quicker; or feels so. Compared with the Taos, the Trailblazer is fitted with a small turbocharged 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine (137 hp). The Crosstrek comes with 152 hp and 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. One can opt for a 152-hp, 2.0-liter four cylinder engine, with 145 lbs.feet torque. AWD is standard on the Crosstrek, also.

Driving the Taos is easy; it’s quiet and takes all matter of roadways well. We have a lot of good size potholes here in Indy, so avoiding them can be an art. The turning radius in the Taos is tight, allowing u-turns in a small space.

The Taos’ street manners offer little feedback-a good thing-offering a different kind of feeling than the outgoing Golf. It feels as though you’re sitting taller. Street driving is comfortable and without any jarring. Whether the Taos is equipped with 18-or 19-inch wheels options, the ride is even and quiet. The seating fits different body shapes well; whether the driver is short or tall. It feels more like a wagon than a SUV.

The interior of the Taos is similar to other VW products but has up-to-date styling and comfort. All knobs are within reach and rich-looking, but not so easy to figure out. It took a while to adjust available stations. What should have been easy-switching from FM stations-wasn’t and took patience. The standard digital gauge cluster (8-inch on intro trim) is attractive, yet busy. The “look” resembled the Passat, Atlas and Tiguan trim and identified as Volkswagen. Easy to operate, but persistence needed to figure out the hitch for switching stations!

New features on the Taos include standard digital gauge cluster, VW Car-Net connectivity suite (Wi-Fi capability), heated seats, side mirrors and washer nozels on the base S AWD version. Aside from the familiar plastic materials, the interior is a small improvement.

The starting price for a new Taos S is $24,190, and just what the outgoing Golf was.
What the entry level S FWD version offers is reasonable for under $25,000. Included is the standard front and back LED lights, black mirrors and roof rails, a 6.5-inch multimedia system, 8-inch digital gauge cluster. Opting for the SE will give you faux leather and cloth seating, larger wheels and tires, more goodies. And finally, the SEL is fully-equipped. AWD w/optional panoramic moonroof and other competitive extras.

As noted, the new top-of-the-line SEL Taos feels like a ‘genuine German SUV.’ It’s a handsome, though not real shapely, small SUV. We expect it to be popular.


MSRP: $33,045; SEL edition
Engine: 1.5L TSI, DOHC Turbo 16 valve, 4-cylinder 4 motion
Transmission: 8-speedd auto, FWD
Length: 175.8 in.
Height: 64.4 in.
Width: 72.5 in.
Wheelbase: 105.9 in.
Fuel tank: 13.2 gal.
Seating: 5
Category: SUV
Tires: 19-inch,
Options: Pure Grey exterior, $395; Power tilting and sliding panoramic sunroof, $1,200
Warranty: new vehicle limited: 4 yrs/50,000 miles; Unlimited warranty against corrosion; 7 yrs/100,000 miles; scheduled carefree maintenance 2 yrs/20,000 miles; 24-hour roadside assistance, 3 yrs/36,000 mi.