2022 Volkswagen Taos: Baby Tiguan Makes a Good First Impression

Published on July 1, 2021 in Test Drives by Germain Goyer

Volkswagen is having a critical year. In addition to launching its first-ever electric SUV, the ID.4, the German automaker is finally giving Canadians another small SUV to consider.

The all-new 2022 Volkswagen Taos will arrive in dealerships a few weeks from now, and The Car Guide recently had the opportunity to go for a quick drive in one of the first units available in Canada.

By the way, this model essentially replaces the base Golf, which will not be back for 2022 as only the sporty Golf GTI and Golf R return. Purists will continue to lament the departure of this lovable hatchback, but we bet many consumers will happily turn to the new Taos, which is named after the town in New Mexico where John Muir lived as the author of How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive.

Photo: Germain Goyer

Pleasant Interior

As soon as we sat inside the Taos, we immediately felt right at home. This not-so-little SUV has everything you need including adequate space and front-seat headroom which is pretty generous.

The modern cockpit features a fully digital instrument cluster that’s easy to read, while a user-friendly infotainment system powers the eight-inch centre touchscreen.

Photo: Germain Goyer

In the rear, the 790-litre trunk is barely smaller than that of the compact Tiguan. As such, the Taos is one of the segment leaders when it comes to cargo capacity.

Overall, we’d say the level of fit and finish is acceptable despite the hard and dark plastics throughout. In case you’re wondering, this vehicle is built in Puebla, Mexico. 

Photo: Germain Goyer

New 1.5-Litre Turbo

There’s only one option under the hood of the 2022 Volkswagen Taos and it’s a new turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine that produces 158 horsepower along with 184 pound-feet of torque.

Despite the small displacement, performance is just fine, mainly thanks to abundance of low-end torque is the main reason why.

Photo: Germain Goyer

This engine happens to be derived from the Jetta’s 1.4-litre unit, but it will have to prove its durability and reliability before we start recommending it without hesitation. That being said, we’re glad Volkswagen didn’t go down the same path as Ford and Chevrolet, which are both relying on three-cylinder engines for their subcompact SUVs.

The base Trendline model with front-wheel drive gets an eight-speed automatic transmission, while Comfortline and Highline models come standard with 4Motion all-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. We’re sad to report that the dual-clutch transmission is an odd fit here, mainsly because it is slow to respond when launching from a full stop.

Photo: Germain Goyer

Efficiency and Pricing

Natural Resources Canada puts the AWD-equipped 2022 Volkswagen Taos at a combined 8.5 L/100 km. At the end of our short test drive, the computer read 8.3 L/100 km. Incidentally, the automaker recommends regular gasoline, so you won’t have to spend extra at the pump.

So, how much does the Taos cost? Pricing starts at $26,695, and you can add $2,500 to get 4Motion. That’s interesting, although competitors like the Hyundai Kona, Kia Seltos and others are slightly more affordable. Prepare to pay $32,395 in Comfortline trim, or $36,695 if you select the Highline at the top of the range.

Photo: Germain Goyer

Not the Same Volkswagens

Volkswagen used to be known as a maker of fun-to-drive cars. Sure, they were never the most powerful, but they could put a smile on your face like very few others. Alas, times have changed.

With the current-generation Tiguan plus the new Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport, the company has pretty much lost its soul. It’s the same thing with the Taos. While not a total bore, the drive lacks the passion and spirit of pre-Americanized VW models.

In the end, we still expect the Taos to be strongly successful in Canada. It’s not a super-dynamic performer, and it joins the party really late, but this new SUV has all the ingredients to become a strong seller.

Test drive report
Test model 2022 Volkswagen Taos
Trim level Comfortline
Price range $26,695 – $36,695
Price as tested 32 395 $
Warranty (basic) 4 years/80,000 km
Warranty (powertrain) 4 years/80,000 km
Fuel economy (city/highway/observed) 9,5 / 7,4 / 8,3 L/100km
Options N/A
Competitive models 2021 Mazda CX-30, 2021 Jeep Compass, 2022 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, 2021 Subaru Crosstrek, 2021 Kia Seltos, 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross, 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer
Strong points
  • Friendly face
  • Capable 4Motion system
  • Fairly spacious cabin
Weak points
  • Will the new 1.5L turbo prove reliable?
  • Dual-clutch transmission is a bit slow
Editor's rating
Fuel economy 3.5/5 Reasonably efficient.
Comfort 3.5/5 Small but comfortable with adequate headroom up front.
Performance 2.5/5 We love the turbo engine’s torque, but the dual-clutch transmission is an odd fit.
Infotainment 4.0/5 The system is very easy to use.
Driving 3.0/5 Not necessarily boring, but a far cry from the fun VW models of yore.
Overall 3.5/5 The Taos is a right-sized, affordably priced SUV with cute looks that will likely prove a good seller.
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