2022 Volkswagen Taos Review: First Drive

Chad Kirchner
by Chad Kirchner


Engine: 1.5L I4 Turbo
Output: 158 hp, 184 lb-ft
Transmission: 8AT / 7DCT, FWD / AWD
US fuel economy FWD (MPG): 28/36/31
US fuel economy AWD (MPG): 25/32/28
CAN fuel economy FWD (L/100KM): 8.4/6.6/11.3
CAN fuel economy AWD (L/100KM): 9.5/7.4/8.5
Starting Price (USD): $24,190 (inc. dest.)
As-tested Price (USD): $29,460 (inc. dest.)
Starting Price (CAD): NA

The 2022 Volkswagen Taos slots under the Tiguan in VW’s U.S. and Canadian lineup and is built on the company’s MQB architecture.

Taos is a town in New Mexico that has a population of around 6,000 people. The name derives from the Taos language meaning “(place of) red willows),” according to Wikipedia. It is also, now, the name of Volkswagen’s newest subcompact crossover, which the company claims gets inspiration from that little town in New Mexico. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, we couldn’t drive the car in New Mexico, but does this new SUV have the character behind its name?

Get a Quote on a New Volkswagen Taos

It’s powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine making 158 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. It’s available in either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. The front-wheel-drive variant has an 8-speed automatic transmission, while the all-wheel-drive uses a 7-speed DSG dual-clutch unit.

The estimated fuel economy for the Taos is 28 city / 36 highway / 31 combined mpg for the front-wheel drive, and 25 city / 32 highway / 28 combined mpg for the all-wheel drive.

A version of Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit comes standard, wireless support for Android Auto and Apple Car Play, plus an available set of safety features as part of the company’s IQ.DRIVE suite. LED headlight and taillights are also standard.

There are three trims available, and all are either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. There is an S trim, SE trim, and premium SEL trim.

The volume trim SE model we drove was the all-wheel-drive variant, and was actually quite a surprising little runabout to tool around in. There’s enough torque on tap to accelerate to highway speeds quickly enough, and even though it’s a DSG transmission is pretty smooth in driving around town.

While nobody is buying a Taos to go to the track, handling is quite excellent for what it is, with steering being direct and easy to place the car where you want it. The all-wheel-drive system helps in low grip situations, but the advantage to all-wheel drive is that instead of a Torsion beam suspension, the AWD units get a Multilink setup.

You want to get the AWD just for that reason.

Michigan’s roads aren’t known to be that well paved, and on the potholed roads on our drive route, the AWD just handles them better. The car is smoother, more comfortable, and less bothered by imperfections in the pavement. While there is a fuel economy hit to going with all-wheel drive, if you live in an area without perfect roads, you want the Multilink suspension.

Rear cargo space is good for a car this size, offering 24.9 cu-ft (705 liters) of cargo capacity behind the second row with all-wheel drive. It’s a mostly flat surface when the rear seats are folded, and there’s even a nice middle seat pass through if you’re carrying something narrow.

Rear seat space is also decent for a full-sized adult. There’s 37.9-inches (963 mm) of legroom in the rear, and I fit well enough for short journeys. I would want to drive across the country in the back, but there should be plenty of room for kids.

The standard infotainment screen is easy to read if a bit small. Supporting wired and wireless phone connectivity is great, and, how most people will use the system. Single-zone manual climate control gets the car cool on a hot day but is basic in operation.

Upgrading to the SEL gets a more advanced infotainment setup (but a similarly-sized screen), dual-zone climate control, adaptive LED headlights, auto-dimming mirror, rain-sensing wipers, ventilated front seats, and all of the IQ.DRIVE features like Travel Assist and traffic sign recognition.

The instrument cluster is also upgraded to the more advanced Digital Cockpit unit, which is customizable to show you a bunch of different driving statistics. You can even view the navigation map as long as you aren’t using Apple Car Play for mapping.

Pricing for the Taos starts at $24,190 for the S FWD, which includes the $1,195 destination charge. AWD S models start at $26,235 including the destination. If you check all of the option boxes the SEL AWD with panoramic roof is $35,440 with destination.

Verdict: 2022 Volkswagen Taos

Overall, the Taos is a nice to drive, well-equipped little crossover. In most places it feels like a premium product, without carrying a premium price. Useful standard features, such as wireless Apple Car Play and Android Auto, is great on the SE trim, which will be the brand’s volume seller. It’s also a handsome-looking SUV, with some practical bits that were well thought out. Because AWD is available, many customers will opt for that because of the all-weather versatility, but it’s also worth considering for the improved ride quality. Ultimately, it’s a strong contender for your dollars.
We’d imagine the people in Taos will love it

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  • Great standard tech.
  • Premium feel.
  • Practical features.


  • Some plastics aren’t great.
  • Torsion beam rear suspension on FWD version.
Chad Kirchner
Chad Kirchner

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