The Taos will be Volkswagen’s smallest crossover, launching early next year with a new 1.5-liter turbo engine.
Oh hello there. The little guy you see above is the new Volkswagen Taos. The fourth model in the brand’s fast-expanding SUV stable, the Taos will anchor the lineup as the new first step on the ladder. When it arrives in the second quarter of 2021, the compact SUV will do battle with the likes of the Kia Seltos, Subaru Crosstrek, and Nissan Rogue Sport.
SEE ALSO: 2021 Subaru Crosstrek First Drive Review
Like the Tiguan, which is one of the only models in its class to offer three rows, the Taos stretches further from nose to tail than its rivals. At 175.8 inches, the newest VW is longer than the Seltos (172.0 inches / 4,370 mm) and Rogue Sport (172.4 inches / 4,380 mm). Volkswagen is promising nearly as much space as in the Tiguan too, with 99.5 cubic feet (2,817 liters)of passenger space in the Taos. That’s just 1.6 cubes (45 L) shy of the two-row Tiguan. Owners will still have access to 28.1 cubic feet (795 L) of storage space out back, which expands to 66.3 (1,877 L) with the rear seats folded down.
Using the same MQB platform as the Tiguan and Jetta, the Taos will introduce a new 1.5-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder to our market. A slightly enlarged version of the current Jetta’s heart, the four-pot produces a 158 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. That’s less horsepower than the Seltos and Crosstrek, but more torque than the latter, and more of both than the Nissan. That should be an ample amount of oomph then: we found the new 2.5-liter engine in the Crosstrek to be just that recently. Transmission choice depends on the number of powered wheels: a traditional eight-speed auto for front-drive models, and a seven-speed DSG for all-wheel drive.
VW hasn’t thrown out the brand design rulebook for the Taos. It sticks to the script pretty rigidly: the largest departure is the blacked-out bodywork in the nose, giving the grille a semi-floating look. It’s safe and sober, with wheel sizes ranging from 17- to 19-inches, but like other VW products, that should help it age well. VW will offer the Taos with the option of eight exterior colors.
Inside, every Taos will feature a digital, customizable instrument panel. An 8.0-inch infotainment screen running VW’s MIB3 system is available in mid-level trims and up, including wireless charging, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. An uprated BeatsAudio sound system and ambient lighting are both reserved for the top trim.
Volkswagen will offer a suite of driver-assist features, bundled under the IQ.DRIVE banner. It includes automated emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keep assist. IQ.DRIVE isn’t standard however, which puts the Taos at a competitive disadvantage over models like the Seltos.
Production of the Taos will take place in Puebla, Mexico. When it goes on sale in the second quarter of next year, the Taos will be available in S, SE, and SEL trims. We’ll have more details on those levels, including pricing, as we get closer to its on-sale date.
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