By Larry Lark, contributor
You know a market category is “hot” when manufacturers add new products. And vice-versa when they are eliminated.
In this case, the category is sports utility vehicles, and the manufacturer is Volkswagen.
The brand spanking new 2022 VW Taos debuts this year with a bold exterior design, practical but refined interior, advanced technology, and available 4Motion all-wheel drive.
As the newest member of the Volkswagen SUV lineup, the compact Taos is slotted under Tiguan and offers flexible passenger and cargo volume, as well as everyday usability and utility. The 2022 Taos will be available in three trim levels—S, SE, and SEL.
Powered by a turbocharged 1.5-liter, 15-valve, DOHC, four-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed automatic Tiptronic transmission, the combo delivers 158 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. The front-wheel driver seats up to five adults and generated almost 40 miles per gallon fuel performance over a week of mostly highway driving.
Taos is an affordable entry point into the SUV category, with the base model starting in the low $20’s. My top-of-the-line tester is equipped with a tech-forward package several luxury appointments, adding $10k to the bottom line.
The bold design DNA of its Volkswagen SUV contemporaries is immediately present in the Taos exterior. The front end features a sculpted hood and wide three-bar grille reminiscent of Atlas Cross Sport. The distinctive side profile of Taos, with a strong character line, harkens to Tiguan, while the squared-off wheel arches give a nod to Atlas. Roof rails are standard on all trims.
The interior is highlighted by standard high-end features like VDub’s digital cockpit, Car-Net with Wi-Fi capability, and IQ.Drive. The fully digital instrument cluster is displayed on a 20-35-inch screen with three views, and 2 viewing options, including car status, navigation, driving data, phone information, driver assistance features, and more.
Volkswagen’s IQ.Drive advanced driver assistance technology features hands-on semi-automated capability. On the highway, IQ.Drive features lane centering and a capacitive steering wheel to make driving easier. Around town, IQ.Drive alerts you to surprise obstacles in front of you, and keeps an eye around you to make driving safer.
IQ also includes adaptive cruise control with stop and go, lane assist, emergency assist, forward collision warning with autonomous emergency braking and pedestrian monitoring, active blind spot monitor and rear traffic alert.
Other safety features include navigation system, power and siding panoramic sunroof, automatic high beam control, rear view camera system, hill hold control, park distance control, electronic stability control, anti-slip regulation and advanced airbag protection.
SEL receives heated leather seats, Climatronic dual-zone climate control, tinted privacy glass, ambient interior lighting and a premium BeatsAudio system that showcases a 12-channel, 400-watt amplifier, digital signal processing and eight speakers, plus a subwoofer. setup showcases a 12-channel, 400-watt amplifier, digital signal processing and eight speakers, plus a subwoofer.
The rear cargo area is generous, but not wide enough to accommodate golf bags. Drop one of
the split-fold second row seats, however, and the problem is solved. It did fit $400 worth of filled grocery bags with room to spare.
The Taos competes with the Jeep Compass and Subaru Crosstrek, and will be a favorite of PNW drivers looking for practicality and functionality at an affordable price.
Base Price: 32,685
Price As Driven: $33,885
Destination charge is included in base price. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. List price may vary at local dealerships.