The 2022 Taos is priced at $26,695 in Canada, from $22,995 in the US.
The new Taos is nearly a fitting replacement for the Golf Sportwagen.
This small SUV has the potential to become Volkswagen Canada’s best-selling vehicle.
I’ve mentioned it many times on these pages and our little YouTube channel: I like Volkswagen vehicles. I’ve owned many over the last 20 years and still call three of them my own. One of them is a 2018 Golf Sportwagen that gets daily driven and the Taos is here to replace it.
I was ready to hate on the Taos
I was apprehensive, to say the least. Already slighted by the fact that Volkswagen Canada went along with the US and decided to cut the regular Golf out of its lineup, I wasn’t going to be nice to the Taos. A twist of fate had me behind the wheel of a 2022 Tiguan for 24 hours before the Taos, which did not help – the Tiguan’s a looker but everything else about it is so un-Volkswagen, aka American-ised, that I’m not a fan (I owned a 1st generation Tiguan and it was great.)
My mindset was off when I got this 2022 Volkswagen Taos Highline but in little time, it won me over. In short, the driving experience did not suck as it does in the Tiguan. Unlike the Tigger, the Taos’ steering felt connected to the front wheels thanks to its well-calibrated assistance. Furthermore, and despite both sharing the same MQB platform, the Taos gives off the impression that it is far more substantial than the Tiguan.
It drives like a Volkswagen SUV
On the road, the Taos is lively enough to be entertaining, and sufficiently competent in all respects to also be comfortable. The tested unit included the optional 19-inch wheels which impressively did not negatively affect ride quality. The AWD version, as reviewed, features a multi-link rear suspension configuration while the FWD iteration carries a torsion bar between the rear wheels. The bottom line is that drives like a Vdub.
All Taos SUVs receive as standard a new turbocharged 1.5-litre 4-cylinder engine which produces 158 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. On its own, it is perfectly suited to the 3,500-lb Taos 4MOTION but is sadly poorly served by the included DSG transmission. FWD models get an 8-speed automatic while the AWD system is fitted with a 7-speed DSG.
The issue with the DSG is that it doesn’t really like its job. From a standstill, it is as responsive as trying to wake a cat mid-nap after a large meal. Once it does acquiesce, activate a clutch, and select first gear, the situation mostly corrects itself. Unfortunately, even in sport mode (ECO, Normal, Sport, Custom), the DSG’s responsiveness does not really improve. Combined fuel efficiency is rated at 8.5L/100km which is passable for the segment.
If there’s one thing Volkswagen has done right for a very long time is styling. With the possible exception of some vehicles from the early 70s such as my 412 Squareback, the German giant’s vehicles are generally attractive.
Stylish outside and in
Like the Tiguan, the 2022 Volkswagen Taos is a looker. The Highline has much going for it with a few extra flashy bits and, as configured, the King’s Red hue and optional 19-inch wheels deliver even more flare. It’s no Sportwagen though…
Volkswagen’s design DNA flows outside and in. The dashboard is a combination of MK7 and MK8 Golf bits including the standard 6.5-inch and available 8-inch touchscreen displays. Unlike my Golf, the Taos’ display was excessively slow and often unresponsive to commands. My almost 3.5-year-old car’s touchscreen, in identical conditions, was as sharp as usual. The simple-to-use HVAC controls are also identical to the Golf’s and the 10.25-inch digital IP can be found in the current Jetta.
Space-wise, Volkswagen “adjusted” the Taos’ proportions to give it a little more rear passenger room at the expense of some trunk space. Boot volume is rated at 705 litres for AWD versions and 790 litres for FWD. My Golf Sportwagen offers about 850 litres of useable trunk volume but the Taos has more rear-seat room – a welcomed compromise. Up front, there’s plenty of space and storage spots.
It’s the new 2022 Volkswagen Taos
At $38,195, this Highline model with the optional 19-inch wheels isn’t the one to get. The mid-range Comfortline, which retails for $32,395 with 4MOTION built in, includes wireless App-Connect with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, keyless access with push-start button, leatherette seats, 8-way power driver seat, and a number of active safety features.
In the segment, I would consider the Nissan Qashqai, Chevrolet Trailblazer (and friends), Mazda CX-30, but focus on the Toyota Corolla Cross and Honda HR-V.