2022 Volkswagen Taos: VW Debuts Its Smallest SUV 

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By |2020-10-15T09:41:13-04:00October 15, 2020 - 09:37AM|New Car Previews|
2022 Volkswagen Taos / Photo Credit: Volkswagen

2022 Volkswagen Taos / Photo Credit: Volkswagen

The 2022 Volkswagen Taos will be the German automaker’s smallest and cheapest SUV when it arrives in the summer of 2021. Smaller and cheaper than its sibling, the compact Tiguan, the Taos targets SUV shoppers who want comfort and tech touches over ruggedness and all-terrain capability. Jeep Wrangler and Ford Bronco fans, you might want to step out of the room.

Powered by a 158-horsepower 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, the Taos is available in front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). It’s shorter overall than some popular compact SUVs, including the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, but the Taos rides on a 105.9-inch wheelbase that’s exactly the same length as the RAV4’s wheelbase. This translates to a surprising amount of front and rear legroom.

Unfortunately, one drawback is this VW’s absolute paucity of standard advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS). None come standard; a Taos buyer must add them as part of VW’s IQ Drive suite of ADAS features. It’s a strange move in a segment where nearly every direct rival offers at least forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking as standard equipment.

2022 Volkswagen Taos / Photo Credit: Volkswagen

2022 Volkswagen Taos / Photo Credit: Volkswagen

Is the 2022 Volkswagen Taos Right for You?

What Is It & Who Is It Meant for?

The 2022 Volkswagen Taos is a small SUV that fills a niche below the Volkswagen Tiguan. VW did not provide pricing information at the time of writing, though it’s likely the Taos will be $2,000-$3,000 less expensive than a base Tiguan. This would peg the starting MSRP at around $22,000.

Rivals include subcompact SUVs like the Honda HR-V and Hyundai Venue, along with slightly larger models that include the Mazda CX-5 and Ford Escape.

What Makes It Unique?

The Taos is most notable for playing things so safe in nearly every category. The inoffensive exterior is a near clone of larger VW SUVs, such as the Tiguan and Atlas. Inside, the cabin is modern but hardly cutting-edge in terms of layout. It features a standard digital screen in front of the driver, which replaces a traditional gauge cluster. A 6.5-inch infotainment screen is standard, though an 8-inch touchscreen is optional on the SE and SEL trims. The infotainment system includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with standard onboard Wi-Fi. While the turbo 4-cylinder engine creates a modest 158 horsepower, the Taos is available with AWD. A number of subcompact SUVs come strictly FWD.

Taos vs. Other Volkswagens

The Taos will be Volkswagen’s smallest and least expensive SUV when it arrives in mid-2021. Its bigger brothers, the Tiguan and Atlas, offer the convenience of a third row of seating – though, in the Tiguan, those rearmost seats are best left for kids.

Taos vs. Competition

The Volkswagen Taos competes against a wide range of subcompact and compact SUVs that offer fuel-sipping engines, two rows of seating, and the added ride height people love in an SUV:

  • Honda HR-V: Nimble handling, rear seat cushions flips both upward and down.
  • Kia Soul: Roomy cabin, city-friendly dimensions.
  • Nissan Kicks: Lots of cargo room, good fuel economy.
  • Mazda CX-30: Sporty driving manners, upscale cabin design.
  • Hyundai Venue: Frugal on gas, many standard features
2022 Volkswagen Taos / Photo Credit: Volkswagen

2022 Volkswagen Taos / Photo Credit: Volkswagen

Is the 2022 Model Year Right for You?

Changes for 2022

  • Brand-new model for the 2022 model year
  • VW’s smallest and cheapest SUV
  • Turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine
  • Optional 8-inch touchscreen
  • IQ Drive suite of ADAS features optional on all trims

2022 Volkswagen Taos vs. Older Volkswagen SUVs

We know that stepping into a brand new car or SUV is an intoxicating experience for many shoppers. But a used Volkswagen Tiguan or Atlas could be a smart choice for people who need extra seating or want a wider range of comfort and safety features. The Tiguan received its last significant update for the 2018 model year, while the Atlas arrived as an all-new model that same year. Each offers lots of stretch-out space for passengers, plus large cargo holds. The trunk space in the Atlas is particularly impressive, especially when the second and third-row seats are folded.

You can find a used Volkswagen Tiguan with Carfax’s used car listings. Each used car comes with a free Carfax Vehicle History Report.

Research the Tiguan from other model years

2022 Volkswagen Taos / Photo Credit: Volkswagen

2022 Volkswagen Taos / Photo Credit: Volkswagen

Which 2022 Volkswagen Taos Is the Best Value?

The 2022 Volkswagen Taos is available in three trim levels (pricing has not yet been announced):

  • S
  • SE
  • SEL

Despite the lack of standard ADAS features, the base Volkswagen S trim is hardly bare-boned. Every Taos comes with rain-sensing wipers, a digital gauge cluster, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, and a rearview camera. The optional IQ Drive package includes safety items like automatic emergency braking, forward collision warning, blind spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control. This suite of safety features is available on all trims, though Volkswagen has yet to mention how much it will cost. The sweet spot in the Taos range could be the SE. At this level, the Taos is available with an 8-inch touchscreen, navigation, and satellite radio.

2022 Volkswagen Taos / Photo Credit: Volkswagen

2022 Volkswagen Taos / Photo Credit: Volkswagen

2022 Volkswagen Taos Performance

Engine Options

The 2022 Volkswagen Taos has one engine option:

  • 158-horsepower 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission or 7-speed dual-clutch automatic (with AWD). Available in FWD or AWD.

Compared with the class? The 158-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder is about average for this class of SUV. Larger compact SUVs offer significantly more horsepower, though they’ll also cost more than the Taos.

Fuel Economy

At the time of writing, the 2022 Volkswagen Taos subcompact SUV has not been tested by the EPA.

For reference, the 2022 Volkswagen Taos has a slightly larger version of the 1.4-liter turbo 4-cylinder engine used in the 2020 Volkswagen Jetta compact sedan. In the Jetta, this motor returns a combined average of 33 mpg.

2022 Volkswagen Taos / Photo Credit: Volkswagen

2022 Volkswagen Taos / Photo Credit: Volkswagen

2022 Volkswagen Taos Safety Ratings & Features

Safety Ratings

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has crash-tested the 2022 Volkswagen Taos. This will be done closer to the vehicle’s on-sale date in summer 2021.

Key Standard Features

  • Rearview camera

Key Optional Features

  • Forward collision warning with pedestrian detection: Warns drivers of a potential front-end collision, or of people in the road ahead.
  • Automatic emergency braking: Helps a vehicle avoid a collision – or reduce the severity of a crash – if the driver doesn’t respond in time.
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Blind spot monitoring: Alerts drivers when a vehicle is located next to them on either side, just out of view. Some systems also auto-steer away from nearby vehicles.
  • Lane keep assist: Uses the car’s steering system to help keep the vehicle between lane lines.
  • Rear cross-traffic alert
  • Automatic high beams
  • Adaptive headlights
  • Parking sensors

Compared with the class? The Taos’ available safety features are fine for this class of SUV. However, nearly every competitor comes with some degree of standard active safety features. VW offers only a rearview camera on the Taos; getting more than this requires adding the IQ Drive suite of safety items.

2022 Volkswagen Taos / Photo Credit: Volkswagen

2022 Volkswagen Taos / Photo Credit: Volkswagen

2022 Volkswagen Taos Interior

Cabin Storage and Features

  • 2 rows of seating
  • 6.5-inch touchscreen, 8.0-inch screen optional
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard
  • Onboard Wi-Fi hot spot standard
  • Available wireless device charging
  • Optional leatherette or leather seating
  • Optional heated and ventilated front seats
  • Cabin storage areas: Glovebox, front door pockets, second-row door pockets, sunglasses holder

Compared with the class? Like many small SUVs, the Taos can be kept fairly simple, or decked out in a wide variety of comfort and convenience items. Extras include a heated steering wheel, heated and cooled front seats, wireless device charging, and customizable ambient cabin lighting.

Cargo Space

  • 28.1 cubic feet of cargo space.

Compared with the class? The larger Tiguan offers 33 cubic feet of cargo room behind its second-row seating. With this in mind, the Taos delivers a solid amount of luggage space considering it’s more than 9 inches shorter than the Tiguan. The available space also compares nicely to roomy subcompact rivals like the Nissan Kicks and Honda HR-V.

Seating Space

Compared with the class?  With 40.1 inches of front legroom and 37.9 inches offered in the second row, the Taos excels when it comes to passenger space.

2022 Volkswagen Taos / Photo Credit: Volkswagen

2022 Volkswagen Taos / Photo Credit: Volkswagen

2022 Volkswagen Taos Warranty

  • 4 years / 50,000 miles bumper-to-bumper. Covers many parts and systems, but does not include consumables such as brakes, tires, wiper blades, shocks, or struts. The warranty is measured from the date the first owner purchases the car. It is transferable to used car buyers.

Compared with the class? Average for the segment.

If you have questions about this story, please contact us at Editors@carfax.com

About the Author:

I love uncovering fun and fascinating car stories, researching every aspect of the automotive world and reviewing the newest makes and models. I've driven a BMW at nearly 200 miles per hour on the German autobahn, and piloted a Zamboni in Manhattan at its slightly slower top speed of 4 mph. I'm based in the New York City area, but recent adventures have included everything from dune driving in the Sahara, to learning how to keep hungry mice from making a home in your car’s engine bay.