It’s well-known that SUV’s are booming these days, but specifically compact ones are really booming. Volkswagen is hoping to get a piece of the action with its own new entry into the compact crossover segment with the 2022 Volkswagen Taos.
There’s no mistaking the fact that the Taos is a Volkswagen product. It is borrowing its look heavily from its larger siblings, the Tiguan and Atlas. This means the front face has VW’s typical horizontal grille treatment, while the body lines have a similar generic appearance stretching its 175.8 inch length. Somewhat unique to the Taos, its lower air dams are more aggressive than the larger siblings.
Volkswagen is also offering a host of rugged-looking trim options on the Taos, hoping to seize on a styling trend consuming most of the Taos targeted competitors. The rugged bits include black plastic cladding around the wheel arches and skid plate lookalikes.
Much like the exterior, the interior shares a familiar look. The Taos is borrowing a general interior layout from the Jetta, but it is packing some decent standard technology. All Taos models feature an LCD gauge cluster display, with the base model measuring in at eight-inches, while higher trim levels get a 10.25-inch unit. Similarly, Taos S models get a 6.5-inch touchscreen to control VW’s MIB3 infotainment system, while SE and SEL models get an eight-inch version.
Taos’ feature list is typical for the segment, with items such as automatic lights, keyless ignition and cloth seating as standard fare. Buyers who climb up the food chain can add higher-end options, including things like ventilated front seats.
Perhaps one interesting call out on the feature list is that VW is not saying that any active safety features are standard on the Taos. Specifically, features like forward collision alert have quickly been moved to the standard feature list on most new vehicles in this segment, but apparently not on the Taos. That said, VW’s IQ Drive suite of active safety features, which includes things like adaptive cruise control, is available.
Based on VW’s MQB architecture that underpins most of the brand’s products, the Taos is going to be powered by an iteration of Jetta’s 1.4-liter turbo inline-four. In the Taos, this means an engine that has been bored to 1.5-liters that generates 158 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. In standard front-wheel drive form that power will flow through an eight-speed automatic, but when equipped with 4Motion all-wheel-drive a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is leveraged.
Volkswagen will produce the Taos at its Puebla, Mexico assembly plant alongside the Jetta and Tiguan. It is expected to go on-sale in the U.S. next summer with a price point around $3,000 less than the Tiguan, which means around $22,000. Given it is very similar in size to the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Kia Seltos and Jeep Compass, that puts it right in line with its competitive set.