The Taos will slot below the Tiguan and will be the cheapest crossover from the German automaker

The paradigm shift towards SUVs and crossovers has forced automakers to abandon sedans and pour in most of their resources into developing new, budget high-ride vehicles. Take Volkswagen itself, for instance. The company has launched four SUVs in less than half-a-decade, but that didn’t deter it from introducing a fifth product in the series.

The company has unveiled a new compact crossover for the U.S. market called the Taos. The Taos will slot below the Tiguan in the automaker’s lineup and will take on the likes of Jeep Compass and Subaru Crosstrek. Can it make a name for itself and co-exist without affecting the Tiguan’s sales?

How Is It On The Outside?

The Taos Is Officially Volkswagen's Most Attractive SUV In The United States Exterior
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The 2022 Taos is a clean- and neat-looking vehicle without any extra shenanigans. Unlike many other budget crossovers that are all sassy and scream for attention, the Taos looks mature and will please people who want a vehicle that will go unnoticed in the crowd.

In terms of looks, it is unmistakably a Volkswagen.

The Taos has a rather handsome face and the front end looks a bit busy. The top trims will come with LED headlights, which include a stripe running from the cluster to the logo on the grille, à la the ID.4 electric SUV. The Taos will be offered in eight different exterior shades.

The Taos Is Officially Volkswagen's Most Attractive SUV In The United States Exterior
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The Taos features square wheel arches black plastic cladding that runs across the doors as well. 17-inch aluminum wheels will be offered as standard, while 18-inch wheels will be available with either machined or black finish. 19-inch wheels will also be offered as optional that fill the wheel wells well. The rear bumper also has black plastic cladding on it and features a faux skid plate to add to the rugged looks.

How Is The 2022 Taos On The Inside?

The Taos Is Officially Volkswagen's Most Attractive SUV In The United States Interior
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The Taos’ cabin feels quite premium for the segment it slots in. Two-tone upholstery comes as standard on all the trims, but you can also opt for optional leatherette and leather surfaces as well. Behind the flat-bottom steering wheel is an analog-digital instrument cluster with crisp displays. The center console houses an eight-inch touchscreen in the mid and top trims, whereas the base trim comes with a 6.5-inch touchscreen. It runs on the MIB3 infotainment system. Other features include:

  • Automatic Headlights
  • Push-button Start
  • Keyless Access
  • Dual-zone Climate Control
  • Wireless Charging
  • Ten-color Ambient Lighting
  • Eight-speaker BeatsAudio Sound System
  • Eight-way Adjustable Power Driver Seat
  • Rain-sensing Wipers
  • Heated Leatherette Steering Wheel, Side Mirrors, and Washer Nozzles
  • Heated and Ventilated Front Seats

Size Matters

The Taos Is Officially Volkswagen's Most Attractive SUV In The United States Exterior
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The Taos measures 175.8 inches long, 72.5 inches wide, and 64.4 inches tall. It is just 9.3 inches shorter than the Tiguan. The wheelbase measures 105.9 inches.

Volkswagen Taos vs Tiguan exterior dimensions
Volkswagen Taos Volkswagen Tiguan
Length 175.8 185.1
Width 72.5 72.4
Height 64.4 66.3
Wheelbase 105.9 109.8

Overall, the cabin of the Taos measures 99.5 cubic-feet, which is just 1.6 cubic-feet smaller than the Tiguan’s. The legroom measures 40.1 and 37.9 inches in the front and back, respectively. The Taos also comes with a healthy cargo space of 28.1 cubic-feet. Flip the second-row seats and you now have 66.3 cubic-feet of space available at your disposal.

What’s Under The Hood?

The Taos Is Officially Volkswagen's Most Attractive SUV In The United States Exterior
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The Taos will be offered with just one engine option – a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine. This is the same engine that’s plonked under the hood of the Jetta as well. In the Taos, it churns out 158 ponies and 184 pound-feet of twist. If you opt for the front-wheel-drive model, the engine will come paired with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The 4Motion all-wheel-drive models, however, come with the fancier seven-speed DSG automatic transmission that offers lightning-quick gear shifts. Volkswagen says that the engine offers several high-tech features designed to help produce outstanding fuel economy, but hasn’t released the figures yet.

Volkswagen Taos Driver-Assistance Features

The Taos Is Officially Volkswagen's Most Attractive SUV In The United States Exterior
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The Taos also comes with “IQ.DRIVE”, a suite of driver assistance technologies, as standard on all the trims. It includes:

  • Forward Collision Warning with Autonomous Braking (Front Assist)
  • Active Blind Spot Monitor
  • Lane Keeping System (Lane Assist)
  • Adaptive Cruise Control with a Stop and Go feature
  • Travel Assist and Emergency Assist
  • High Beam Control (Light Assist)
  • Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS)
  • Park Distance Control

Final Thoughts

The Taos Is Officially Volkswagen's Most Attractive SUV In The United States Exterior
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The Taos will be offered in three trims with familiar nomenclatures – S, SE, and SEL. The Taos will be built at the automaker’s Puebla factory in Mexico and will arrive at the dealerships in the second quarter of 2021. Although Volkswagen has not announced the pricing yet, we expect it to start around $25,000. Do you think the Taos will affect the Tiguan’s sales? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
About the author

Taos slots under Tiguan in the Volkswagen lineup and is the second proof point of Volkswagen’s doubling-up strategy for SUVs
1.5-liter EA211 turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 158hp and 184 lb-ft of torque pairs with either 8-speed automatic and FWD or 7-speed DSG® dual- clutch automatic transmission and 4Motion® all-wheel drive
Bold design clearly establishes the connection to the Volkswagen SUV family
Smart packaging includes high-end features like standard Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, and available MIB3 with wireless App-Connect and IQ.DRIVE® driver assistance suite
Herndon, VA — Volkswagen of America, Inc. unveiled the all-new 2022 Taos today. The Volkswagen Taos will slot under the Tiguan, and is the second proof point of Volkswagen’s doubling-up SUV strategy following the launch of Atlas Cross Sport earlier this year. The vehicle is positioned in the largest U.S. vehicle segment, the compact SUV market, where 4 million vehicles were sold in 2019—around 24 percent of the market. The Taos is small in stature, but big on value, with bold design, smart packaging, and high-end features.

“Taos is our fifth new addition to the Volkswagen SUV family in just four years, and we’re thrilled to keep finding new ways to meet the needs of American families,” said Scott Keogh, CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. “Taos will bookend our compact SUV offering, giving buyers all the style, technology, and drivability that Volkswagen is known for at an even more affordable price.”

The Volkswagen SUV design DNA is clear in the exterior of the Taos. It bears a bold front end with a sculpted hood, and LED light signature reminiscent of the Atlas Cross Sport. Top trims feature LED headlights with the Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS), and an illuminated light line stretching outward from the logo, as on the recently unveiled ID.4 electric SUV. The distinctive side profile, with a strong character line, harkens to the Tiguan, while the more squared-off wheel arches give a nod to Atlas. Eight colors meet four wheel designs—17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels are standard, with two 18-inch wheels (machined or black finish) and 19-inch wheels available—and a panoramic sunroof is optional.

Dimensionally, Taos sits at the middle of the entry compact SUV space, in contrast to the Tiguan, which sits at the top of the compact SUV space. Nose to tail, Taos is 175.8 inches long—9.3 inches shy of Tiguan—with a wheelbase of 105.9 inches; it is 72.5 inches wide and 64.4 inches tall. Passenger space is a roomy 99.5 cubic feet—just 1.6 cu ft less than the two-row Tiguan—with 28.1 cu ft of luggage space behind the second-row seats and 66.3 cu ft with the second row folded down. In addition to offering generous cargo space, the Taos offers a comfortable ride for all passengers, with 40.1 inches of legroom in the front and 37.9 in the rear.

Inside, the Taos features modern design and premium fit and finish. The cockpit is composed of clean lines with a horizontal focus; dash décor divides the central touchscreen from climate controls and flows seamlessly into the door inserts, adding visual interest. Two-tone seats are standard—whether in the base cloth or optional leatherette and leather seating surfaces—and include a luxurious French Roast and black combination for top-of-the-line models. Standard comfort and convenience features include automatic headlights and push-button start; KESSY® keyless access is available, along with an 8-way power driver seat, dual-zone Climatronic® climate control, rain-sensing wipers, a heated leatherette steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated side mirrors and heated washer nozzles.

Taos offers the latest in Volkswagen connectivity and infotainment technology. The Volkswagen Digital Cockpit configurable instrument cluster comes standard, as does Volkswagen Car-Net with in-car WiFi capability when you subscribe to a data plan. The MIB3 infotainment system with wireless charging and wireless App-Connect for compatible devices is available from mid-level trims and is paired with an 8-inch touchscreen with voice control, SiriusXM® satellite radio (three-month trial), and available navigation. Top trims add 10-color ambient lighting and a premium BeatsAudio® sound system with 8 speakers.

The IQ.DRIVE® suite of driver assistance technology is available on every Taos model, featuring Forward Collision Warning with Autonomous Braking (Front Assist), Active Blind Spot Monitor, Lane Keeping System (Lane Assist), Adaptive Cruise Control with a Stop and Go feature, Travel Assist and Emergency Assist. High Beam Control (Light Assist), the Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS), and Park Distance Control are also available.

The Taos is powered by a 1.5-liter version of the EA211 turbocharged four-cylinder engine that currently powers the Jetta sedan. Making 158 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, the new engine offers a number of high-tech features designed to help produce outstanding fuel economy. The engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission in the front-wheel-drive model, while models with 4Motion® all-wheel drive get a seven-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission.

There will be three trim levels: S, SE, and SEL. Taos will be produced in the North American Region at Volkswagen’s Puebla, Mexico factory. More details and pricing will be announced ahead of the launch in the summer of 2021.

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