Entry-level crossover perfect for young buyers
No, your eyes are not deceiving you, this beautiful compact SUV with the iconic VW badge on it is not the new Tiguan, but rather an all-new model of volkswagen called Taos.
Sure, the new Taos crossover might be about as tall and wide as a Tiguan, but after backing up a few steps, you’ll soon realize it’s almost 10 inches shorter than its big brother. .
- Wireless phone charging
- Wireless Apple CarPlay
- Wireless Auto Android
- Model: taos
- Engine/Motor: 1.5-litre turbocharged inline-4
- Powerful : 158 hp
- Couple : 184 lb-ft
- Transmission: Front-wheel drive, all-wheel drive
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic, 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
- Fuel efficient
- Refined ride quality
- Additional cost of driving aids
- Picky infotainment system
There’s more to Taos than that
While Tiguan sports a more rounded styling that evokes the Golf R hot hatch, Taos has a more boxy, imperious and upright look that more closely resembles the larger Atlas SUV. VDub nerds in the audience, however, might notice that Taos is actually most closely related to the Jetta sedan, as both ride on the same Volkswagen MQB A1 platform underneath.
Benefits of this family plan include a shared data package, as Taos sports the same EA211 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 158 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. Outside of the Mazda CX-30, Taos is one of the most torque-rich options in its segment, and thanks to an impressive 11.5:1 compression ratio and variable-geometry turbocharger, response at low revs are fantastic, and there’s no real turbo lag to speak of at speeds around town.
The eight-second 0-60 run might be nothing out of the ordinary, but fuel efficiency is a definite plus. Our mid-level SE trim tester comes standard with front-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive is an optional extra. An FWD Taos will return EPA fuel economy numbers of 28 MPG city, 36 MPG highway, and 31 MPG combined, which is impressive. A week behind the wheel showed the Taos returning 32 MPG under our care. Buyers can expect a drop of three MPG, overall, if they opt for all-wheel drive.
Front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive?
Curiously, the choice between FWD or AWD will dramatically change owners’ experiences behind the wheel. A $1,450 option on all but the highest SEL trim where it’s standard equipment, AWD-equipped Taos models replace the conventional 8-speed automatic transmission with a shifting 7-speed DSG fast, similar to what you would find on a Jetta GLI.
Another similarity to the Jetta is the chassis, with FWD Taos models sporting a more economical torsion beam axle rear suspension, while AWD models benefit from a fully independent multi-link rear. Volkswagen tunes AWD Taos models to offer a much sportier and more dynamic drive behind the wheel, compared to FWD models.
With all the parts sharing between Taos and Jetta/Jetta GLI, one can’t help but wonder if an even sportier Taos GLI or Taos GTI would be possible in the future.
These are pretty dramatic changes for just $1,450, and on the same vehicle, no less. The differences between the two clearly lie in their distinct personalities: the FWD Taos is the more economical option, while the AWD model is the sportiest. For what it’s worth, I jostled this Taos through the twisty roads outside of Los Angeles and it’s a refined and comfortable ride. The quiet, comfort-focused Bridgestone rubber will give up and howl in protest before you can find any kind of real trouble at high speeds, which you should.
Dynamically, Taos delivers the kind of solid, Teutonic ride and handling that Volkswagen fans appreciate, which includes a cabin that feels well insulated from wind and road noise at high speeds. The typical Volkswagen level of interior refinement carries over to other parts of the cabin experience as well.
The Germans have been smart enough with the design of the Taos so that, despite its smaller size, it only gives a few tenths of an inch of rear-seat legroom, compared to the larger Tiguan. Anyone under 6’6″ will be perfectly comfortable in the front or rear, which is rare not only in the compact crossover segment, but for many vehicles.
Take a look inside
The Taos’ low base price of $24,790 – two thousand dollars more than the Toyota Corolla Cross – is seen with large expanses of cheap hard plastic stretching across the dash. Not only does it look a little miserable compared to rivals like the excellent Honda HR-V, but it can create some pretty harsh sun glare, at the right angles.
Fortunately, with perks like wireless phone charging, wireless Android Auto, wireless Apple CarPlay and the availability of Volkswagen’s Virtual Cockpit digital driving display, many key touchpoints and interfaces feel top-of-the-line. . Additional equipment, such as heated leather seats and a heated steering wheel, also improve daily commuting.
Luckily, Taos sports the same infotainment setup as Jetta, not the one found in other new models, like the Golf R or ID.4. It’s far from perfect, with screen responsiveness being a real sore point, but with multiple hard buttons, knobs, and features like gesture control, you can do your best Jedi mind control feeling as you flick through the stations. radio, rather than relying on the annoying capacitive touchscreen issues that plague other recent models from the brand.
The only issue is the price, as a fully-equipped Taos will cost nearly $36,000. If speed and luxury are your vice, for the same price you can get a loaded Mazda CX-30 with its more upscale interior and much punchier 2.5-liter turbo engine that produces 250 horsepower and 320 lbs. -ft of torque. On the value side, a comparable Hyundai Kona will bring that price down by more than $4,000.
The way forward is the mid-level Taos SE trim with AWD, which will set you back $31,670 before throwing in additional goodies like a power sunroof or bigger wheels, if you fancy them.
The new Volkswagen Taos is an attractive, spacious and fuel-efficient compact crossover, but in one of the most dynamic and competitive vehicle segments, it seems like an expensive proposition, compared to its rivals. However, since Volkswagen opted not to bring the regular Golf MK8 to US shores – only the sporty GTI and high-performance Golf R made the cut – Volkswagen was smart in keeping the base price attractive enough to tip over the buyers who would normally shop for the brand’s compact sedan in this new SUV model, instead.