New compact crossover takes over for the Golf in America.
The crossover segment is the largest in the US right now and Volkswagen has no intention of missing out. Introducing the all-new 2022 Volkswagen Taos, a compact crossover slotted beneath the popular Tiguan in the lineup. The Taos is the fifth new VW SUV in just four years: sales of traditional cars continue to drop and one example of this is the discontinuation of the VW Golf in the US, though the GTI isn't going anywhere. To this end, the Taos is the Golf's crossover-shaped replacement, at least in the US.
VW has learned a lot about what American customers want in crossovers, evidenced by strong sales of both the Tiguan and Atlas. The Taos is aimed at those who desire a sporty and fun-to-drive crossover that's big on interior volume but small on exterior dimensions. The packaging was key here and it appears the automaker will, once again, deliver the goods.
From the moment you look at it, it's clear the Taos can't be mistaken for anything other than a modern VW. Its bold front end, sculpted hood, and LED light signature are very similar to that of the Atlas Cross Sport. You can't argue with what's already proven to be a hit. Moving up the trim levels, buyers will benefit from LED headlights with adaptive lighting, and a cool-looking illuminated light bar running through the grille. A panoramic sunroof is optional.
From the side, the Taos looks quite similar to the Tiguan with its squared-off wheel arches and distinctive character line. Wheel sizes measure from 17 to 19 inches, again depending on trim. Size-wise, the Taos is 9.3 inches shorter than the Tiguan, though passenger space is only 1.6 cubic feet less. The total width measures at 72.5 inches and height comes to 64.4 inches.
VW describes the Taos's interior as a "modern design" with a "premium fit and finish." This couldn't be more accurate. All Taos trims (S, SE, and SEL) receive two-tone seats. Fully-equipped models receive leather upholstery while lower trims have cloth or leatherette. Behind the second-row seats (no third-row is available) lies a competitive 28.1 cubic-feet of cargo space.
The Volkswagen Digital Cockpit is also standard and includes a configurable instrument cluster with Wi-Fi connectivity. The MIB3 infotainment system features wireless charging and wireless App-Connect for your smartphone. An eight-inch touchscreen includes voice control and optional navigation. More expensive trim levels benefit from 10-color ambient lighting and an eight-speaker BeatsAudio sound system.
Some standard features include an eight-way power driver's seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers, heated leatherette steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, and push-button start.
Regardless of trim, the sole engine is VW's 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which is also found in the Jetta sedan. Total output comes to a respectable 158 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel-drive versions receive an eight-speed automatic while 4Motion all-wheel-drive models get a seven-speed dual-clutch. Eventually, VW may offer a hybrid or plug-in hybrid version. Those who desire a battery-electric, meanwhile, should look no further than the also-new VW ID.4.
Optional on every trim is the IQ.Drive suite of driver-assist systems. These include forward-collision warning, active blind-spot monitor, adaptive cruise control, and travel and emergency assist. Buyers can alternatively spec high-beam light assist and park distance control.
Volkswagen has not yet announced official pricing nor an on-sale date, though the latter is expected to get underway sometime next year given the 2022 model year designation. Production will take place at the automaker's Pueblo, Mexico factory.
Classified as a compact crossover rather than a subcompact, the VW Taos technically occupies the same segment as the Tiguan. But as such, it will face some stiff competition from the likes of the Mazda CX-5, and Kia Sportage, both of which are also two-row compacts. One area where the Taos may fall slightly short is power, as both the CX-5 and Sportage offer turbocharged powertrains with more power and torque. But remember, this is only the beginning of the Taos and chances are high VW will launch a more powerful version at some point.
All in all, it looks like VW has delivered yet another winner. It may be sad the standard Golf is no longer sold in the US, but the Taos is an excellent replacement in a segment that continues to rapidly grow.