2022 Volkswagen Taos Review

Slightly smaller than a Tiguan, this subcompact is the Golf replacement.

Michael Harley
EVP Product, Editor-in-Chief
  • German engineering
  • Generous second row
  • Attractive styling
  • Standard turbocharged power
  • Innovative technology
  • Some interior plastics feel inexpensive
  • Front-wheel drive model has better transmission
  • Fewer standard features than most

The 2022 Volkswagen Taos is a subcompact crossover with seating for up to five passengers. The vehicle, which is slightly smaller than the company’s Tiguan crossover, is all-new for 2022. The four-door crossover is offered with a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and a choice between front- and all-wheel drive (4Motion). The 2022 Volkswagen Taos starts at about $23,000.

Taos Powertrain

All 2022 Volkswagen Taos models are fitted with a turbocharged, 1.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine (158 hp/184 lb-ft of torque) that burns regular unleaded fuel. Technically speaking, the engine is an updated 1.5-liter variant of the Volkswagen Jetta’s “EA211” that has been engineered with special features to further improve fuel efficiency. These include plasma coating on the cylinders to reduce friction and Variable Turbine Geometry (VTG) to provide more efficient turbocharger boost. The engine also operates on a modified version of the Miller combustion cycle, which closes the intake valves early in the induction stroke to improve fuel economy. 

2022 Volkswagen Taos Review

Front-wheel-drive models utilize an 8-speed automatic, while models equipped with Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system get an 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Packaging the unique powertrains required Volkswagen to use two different suspension systems beneath the MQB chassis – the FWD models have a torsion beam rear architecture, while the AWD models boast a more sophisticated multilink layout. 

The two unique powertrains mean the FWD and AWD Volkswagen Taos models deliver different fuel economies. The FWD Taos is rated at 28 mpg city/36 mpg highway, while the (250-pound heavier) AWD version is rated at a marginally lower 25 mpg city/32 mpg highway. (Keep in mind that real-world fuel economy is based on driving style and road conditions.) 

2022 Volkswagen Taos Review

Taos Driving Experience

Those familiar with the Volkswagen brand and its sporty driving dynamics will feel right at home behind the wheel of the new Volkswagen Taos. Controls are easy to use – the instrumentation is clear and intuitive – and vision outside the cabin is good. Wind, tire, and cabin noise are low enough to make conversations between passengers easy.

The 4Motion (all-wheel drive) model has a slightly better ride thanks to the added mass and more sophisticated rear suspension. The FWD model holds the edge in transmission smoothness, as the 8-speed is smoother and more responsive during normal driving.

Driving dynamics are solid. While steering effort is light and there is minimal feedback back to the driver, the crossover turns-in effortlessly with minimal body roll and it sets into a corner with confidence. Mid-corner stability is excellent – typical German engineering prowess – allowing the Taos to be pushed hard when the road turns twisty. Although the standard all-season tires give up grip long before the chassis forfeits talent, the subcompact crossover delivers a very pleasant driving experience.

2022 Volkswagen Taos Review

2022 Volkswagen Taos Trim Levels and Pricing

Volkswagen offers the 2022 Taos in three different trim levels (S, SE, and SEL) with a choice between front- and all-wheel drive:

  • S FWD (starts at about $23,000) – 17-inch alloy wheels, 6.5-inch MIB2 infotainment screen, cloth upholstery, manual climate controls, and more
  • S AWD (starts at about $25,000) – 4Motion all-wheel drive, 17-inch alloy wheels, 6.5-inch MIB2 infotainment screen, cloth upholstery, manual climate controls, and more.
  • SE FWD (starts at just over $27,000) – 18-inch alloy wheels, 8.0-inch MIB3 Composition Media infotainment, leatherette-cloth upholstery, remote start, and more.
  • SE AWD (starts at just over $28,500) – 4Motion all-wheel drive, 18-inch alloy wheels, 8.0-inch MIB3 Composition Media infotainment, leatherette-cloth upholstery, remote start, and more.
  • SEL FWD (starts at about $31,500) – 18-inch black alloy wheels, LED projector headlights, 8-speaker BeatsAudio sound system, dual-zone climate control, and more.
  • SEL AWD (starts at about $31,500) – 4Motion all-wheel drive, 19-inch black alloy wheels, LED projector headlights, 8-speaker BeatsAudio sound system, dual-zone climate control, and more.

For the most accurate and up-to-date pricing, visit Volkswagen’s official site for more information on the all-new 2022 Volkswagen Taos.

2022 Volkswagen Taos Review

Taos Best Features

Consumers shopping in this segment will appreciate the generous second row in the Taos. Even with a pair of six-foot-tall adults occupying the front seats, there is plenty of legroom for another three adults – of equal size – directly behind them. The rear seats fold to provide additional utility to the rear cargo area, which is also cavernous. Note: Due to the packaging of the AWD system, the FWD models offer a bit more cargo capacity (65.9 cu/ft, compared to 60.2 cu/ft with AWD).

2022 Volkswagen Taos Review

What is Our Favorite Version of the Taos?

We recommend the 2022 Volkswagen Taos SE AWD (it starts at just over $28,500). The SE trim provides an increased level of standard equipment that consumers find useful and the all-wheel-drive system – the premium is just $1,500 – is capable and well worth the small additional investment (we are betting that owners will recover most of that in resale value down the road).

Taos Notable Safety Features

Volkswagen bundles advanced safety features into bundles that are standard or optional based on trim. The IQ.DRIVE advanced driver assistance technology, which is available on S and SE models and standard on SEL models, features Travel Assist, Front Assist, Active Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Traffic Alert, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) Stop and Go, Lane Assist, and Emergency Assist. 

2022 Volkswagen Taos Review

Who Should Buy a 2022 Volkswagen Taos?

Now that Volkswagen has discontinued the standard Golf sedan, the Taos is ready to step up to the plate and serve the brand’s younger audience seeking a small crossover that is fun to drive, economical, and loaded with utility.

The ideal Taos customer – a shopper likely seeking their first new vehicle – doesn’t need the additional space or capacity of the Volkswagen Tiguan. Instead, they prefer the smaller and more agile Taos over its larger sibling. These younger buyers also appreciate the styling (both inside and out) and pricing of the Taos, which is sportier and less expensive than the Tiguan.   

CarExpert’s Take on the 2022 Volkswagen Taos

The Taos is a solid new contender in the subcompact crossover segment. While it doesn’t deliver the same sporty driving experience as the smaller, lighter, and now discontinued Golf, the Taos provides more utility, better technology, additional space in the cabin for passengers, and more comprehensive safety packages. While there is strong competition within the segment, impressive German engineering – an incessant obsession with driving dynamics – helps to differentiate it from its rivals. We believe that Volkswagen has a hit on its hands.

2022 Volkswagen Taos Review

Taos Competitors to Consider

  • Honda HR-V
  • Jeep Compass
  • Kia Seltos
  • Subaru Crosstrek


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Show Breakdown
Cost of Ownership 8.1
Ride Comfort 8.3
Safety 8.3
Fit for Purpose 8.3
Handling Dynamics 8.4
Interior Practicality and Space 8.5
Fuel Efficiency 8
Value for Money 8
Performance 7.8
Technology Infotainment 8.8