Tucked away in the mountains of northern New Mexico, Taos is one of the oldest settlements and most beautiful corners of the western United States, which undoubtedly is one of the reasons Volkswagen latched on to the name for automaker’s compact utility vehicle as it moved to Americanize its model line in the U.S.
The Taos combines VW’s traditional expertise in chassis and suspension development as well as design to produce a vehicle with features and attributes the company’s Asian and American rivals have deployed as the utility vehicles have continued to evolve as the industry reaches the cusp of the electric age.
The 2022 Volkswagen Taos is not an EV, but it is a well-balanced vehicle with just enough power and features to satisfy buyers looking for a more affordable vehicle that is versatile enough to serve its owners in a very diverse set situations from running every-day-errands, attending a fancy dinner or traveling to a remote place for a vacation or weekend getaway.
Even top designers in the automobile business will admit, sometimes a bit sheepishly, the silhouettes of vehicles in this class have become hard to differentiate, which explains the love for talking about the wheels tucked away at the four corners.
The Taos does indeed have four smart-looking wheels tucked into the corners, but VW’s stylists also have dressed up the Taos with a bold grille featuring an enlarged version of the VW badge. The vehicle also has been giving a sportier appearance with a roofline that slopes to the rear while the opening for the fifth door or liftgate is slanted to the rear to help make the vehicle appear a sleeker. The Taos also comes with roof rails and bright work around the side window openings. Overall, though, the appearance is quite pleasing.
The cabin of the 2022 Volkswagen Taos SEL is laid with the kind of emphasis on efficiency expected from a German automaker. Even the cupholders are in the correct spot. The controls are a mixture of knobs, button and a touchscreen while the steering wheel contains the controls for the cruise control and the driver’s screen, featuring information about the vehicle.
But I was surprised at how difficult it was to find the steering-wheel controls to adjust the volume on the Brahms symphony to which I was listening. The entertainment and navigation screen are at a very good height and the other driver assistance features are neatly incorporated. The SEL version of the Taos I drove also had a nice mix of materials and textures. There was soft material on the inner door and the trim was given an enhanced finish so the interior overall had a more expensive feel to it.
The 2022 Volkswagen Taos is powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged, 4-cylinder engine, which is matched to a 7-speed automatic transmission. The combination produces 158 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque.
The vehicle also is equipped with a stop-start system to improve the vehicle’s fuel economy as wheel as all-wheel drive for inclement weather. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the combined fuel-economy rating for Taos is 28 mpg, which includes 25 mpg in city driving and 32 mpg on the highway.
Safety and Technology
For driver and passenger safety, the 2022 Volkswagen Taos is equipped with an advanced air bag system for protection in side, frontal and roll over crashes. It is also equipped with driver assistance features such as blind-spot detection, lane-keeping assistance and forward collision alert and high-beam assistance. It also comes with a back-up camera and hill-hold assistance when starting up. The 2022 Volkswagen Taos also is equipped with Bluetooth, Sirius XM Radio, wireless charging and USB ports and adaptive cruise control.
Chassis engineering is one of the Volkswagen great strengths and it is used effectively on the 2022 Volkswagen Taos, which comes with nicely tuned driving dynamics that deliver a smooth ride over a variety of surfaces while the brakes offer ample stooping power.
I suspect the Taos could seem a bit under powered to some drivers given the steady increase in horsepower in recent years. But overall, the Taos has ample power and torque for basic maneuvers such as passing or getting around slower-moving vehicles. In addition, the transmission never seems to strain or miss a beat when a shift is required. All in all, the Taos was a pleasant vehicle to drive, and the all-wheel-drive system offered a nice bonus.
2022 Volkswagen Taos SEL Specifications
|Dimension||L: 175.8 inches/W: 72.5 inches/H: 64.6 inches/Wheelbase: 106 inches|
|Powertrain||1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, 7-speed DSG automatic transmission|
|Fuel Economy||25 mpg city/32 mpg highway/28 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||158 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||As tested: $35,750 including $1,225 destination charge.|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
Volkswagen is something of a Johnny-come-lately to the compact utility segment, which has been dominated for years by vehicles such as the Toyota RAV 4, Honda CRV and Ford Escape. But the Taos is certainly a credible entry into the segment, which is showing every sign of growing quickly even as the prices for all kinds of vehicles grow.
The vehicle is versatile and nimble enough to suit the basic needs of both urban and suburban families, while offering a measure of style and precision. But I suspect more than a few buyers will wince when they see the $36,000 price tag on what is still a small vehicle.
2022 Volkswagen Taos SEL — Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of SUV is the 2022 Volkswagen Taos?
An SUV that is just right. From bold styling to a turbocharged engine to the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, this compact SUV truly checks all the boxes. The 2022 Taos delivers on what you are looking for and then some. It is a compact SUV that is smart, versatile, and ready for the road.
What kind of engine does a Volkswagen Taos have?
Volkswagen offers the 2022 Taos in S, SE and SEL trim levels, and each has a turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with158 horsepower, 184 pound-feet of torque.
What is new for the 2022 Volkswagen Taos?
The Taos boasts a new turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and can be equipped with all-wheel drive. Add its assortment of available driver assists and desirable features and the 2022 Taos is a satisfying option in a popular segment.