2022 Volkswagen Taos Fumbles IIHS Crash Tests, Sidelined From Top Safety Pick Awards

volkswagen-taos-sel-2022--01-blue--dynamic--exterior--profile.jpg 2022 Volkswagen Taos SEL AWD | photo by Steven Pham

The new 2022 Volkswagen Taos entered the scene with a relatively strong stat sheet: A starting price of less than $25,000, power from a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and a respectable EPA-rated 31 mpg combined to make VW’s smallest and most affordable SUV an appealing option for city dwellers. But shoppers looking for an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Top Safety Pick will need to look elsewhere — the 2022 Taos failed to earn good ratings in two key crash tests, disqualifying it from the agency’s awards.

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IIHS crashworthiness encompasses six tests: driver-side small overlap front, passenger-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, original side, roof strength, and head restraint tests and seats. Vehicles must earn a good rating in each category to qualify for a Top Safety Pick award; the Taos fell short with acceptable ratings in the passenger-side small overlap and head restraint test, and good ratings for the remaining categories.

According to IIHS, the Taos lost points in the passenger-side small overlap test because the SUV’s occupant compartments allowed for excessive intrusion in the simulated crash. In the head restraint evaluation, the test dummy’s head and neck were not well supported in the rear-end crash test, knocking the Taos’ rating down to acceptable.

Other IIHS Top Safety Pick tests include an available front crash prevention system necessitating an advanced or superior rating in vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluations, and at least one headlight system requiring a good or acceptable rating. To earn the highest Top Safety Pick Plus designation, a vehicle must have good- or acceptable-rated headlights standard across all trims. The Taos pulled off a superior rating in the vehicle-to-vehicle evaluation, but only earned a basic rating in the vehicle-to-pedestrian test. Lower trims of the Taos also got docked for marginal headlights with insufficient visibility.

Some Safety Features MIA

While many vehicles come with automatic emergency braking as a standard feature, VW only makes it available on the 2022 Taos — along with forward collision warning — as part of the IQ.Drive Package. This may change soon, however, as VW pledged to make automatic emergency braking standard across the board for the 2023 model year. Adaptive cruise control down to a stop is available on the larger Tiguan, while the three-row Atlas and all-electric ID.4 add hands-on lane centering down to a stop. The Taos currently doesn’t offer these advanced driver-assist features.

2019-vw-tiguan-iihs 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan | IIHS image

VW, Competitor IIHS Top Safety Picks

Among VW’s SUV lineup, only the ID.4 earns the IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus award, while the Tiguan, Atlas Cross Sport and Atlas earn good ratings across all crash tests, but fail to meet additional award criteria like front crash system or headlight quality.

Among the Taos’ main model-year 2022 rivals, including the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Jeep Compass, Mazda CX-30 and Subaru Crosstrek, the CX-30 and Trailblazer earned Top Safety Pick Plus designations, while the Crosstrek is a Top Safety Pick.

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Former News Editor Jane Ulitskaya joined the team in 2021, and her areas of focus included researching and reporting on vehicle pricing, inventory and auto finance trends. Email Jane Ulitskaya

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