Is the 2022 Volkswagen Taos a Good Car? 6 Pros and 2 Cons

2022 Volkswagen Taos SEL AWD 2022 Volkswagen Taos SEL AWD | photo by Steven Pham

The 2022 Volkswagen Taos is the German automaker’s newest and smallest SUV. Competing against rivals such as the Hyundai Kona and Mazda CX-3, the Taos is a little late to the game, but it arrives as the SUV sales juggernaut is only getting stronger. The Taos also serves as the replacement for the Golf hatchback in the U.S.

Related: 2022 Volkswagen Taos First Drive: Exactly as Good as It Needs to Be 

Powered by a small turbocharged four-cylinder coupled to a choice of front- or all-wheel drive, the Taos doesn’t immediately stand out among the competition. Its styling is clean and contemporary, though unless you order a bright color (like the bright Cornflower Blue), you could lose it in a parking lot.

From behind the wheel, however, the Taos proves it’s worthy of a spot on the shopping list of anyone searching for a small, easy-to-maneuver and affordable SUV. In fact, in some ways we wonder if it’s a better deal than VW’s larger and more expensive Tiguan SUV. 

Check out editor Aaron Bragman’s First Drive of the 2022 Volkswagen Taos via the related link above or for a recap of the things we liked most about the Taos, and a few items that need work, keep scrolling.

Things We Like

1. Peppier Than Its Numbers Suggest

volkswagen-taos-sel-2022--02-blue--dynamic--exterior--rear-angle.jpg 2022 Volkswagen Taos SEL AWD | photo by Steven Pham

We admit the 158-horsepower, turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine in the Taos doesn’t sound like it’s going to be a riot to drive. Some rival SUVs have a few more ponies under the hood. The Taos should be remarkably unremarkable, right? During our time with it, the engine felt nicely tuned to the steering and suspension, and the driving experience simply felt more refined than what you get from many small SUVs. We even dared to call it “peppy,” while commenting that the lighter front-wheel-drive variant feels “lighter on its feet” compared to the AWD version we also tested.

2. U-turns Are Never a Problem

If you routinely need to maneuver through tight spaces or squeeze into small parking spots, go test drive this petite VW SUV. We discovered the Taos is perfect for crowded city driving and can make quick U-turns thanks to its tiny turning circle. This degree of agility could seal the deal for SUV shoppers in urban settings.

3. Spacious Seating

volkswagen-taos-sel-2022--41-backseat--interior.jpg 2022 Volkswagen Taos SEL AWD | photo by Steven Pham

While the Taos feels small when you’re twirling the steering wheel, it also doesn’t feel cramped in the cabin. Despite its modest dimensions, the Taos offers a surprising amount of passenger space. We found the backseat plenty roomy, even with the driver’s seat adjusted to accommodate a nearly 6-foot-tall frame.

4. Cabin Trim Is Mostly Good

You can already tell where we’re going with this one. Yes, the cabin has some nice touches, including a standard 8-inch digital gauge cluster, a variety of interesting seating surfaces, heated front seats and an easy-to-use multimedia system. All in all, everything works well and is placed where a human would expect to easily access important car controls. Is it perfect? Well, no.

5. Priced to Move 

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

Since the Taos is more vehicle than the outgoing Golf hatchback, it’s no surprise that VW would charge more for this small SUV. Yet, the 2022 Taos has the same starting price of $24,190, including destination, as the outgoing Golf. Scaling up in trims and options can push the sticker price beyond $35,000, however. We think you can pump the brakes on some options, however; the mid-range SE trim is a solid deal in terms of equipment and price.

6. It’s Taller and Has Optional All-Wheel-Drive

That sums up why the Taos is here to replace the outgoing Golf. Performance fans, take note, because the Golf GTI and Golf R will still be sold in the U.S. It’s the standard four-door version that’s getting the heave-ho in favor of the Taos. The higher ride height, more commanding view of the road and availability of AWD are factors car shoppers are interested in now.  

Things We Don’t

1. The Golf Was More Fun to Drive

The Taos is agile in town and comfortable on the highway, but it’s not as much fun to drive as the departed Golf hatchback. VW’s small SUV simply doesn’t have the buttoned-down and engineered feel of the Golf. The steering has little-to-no feedback, for example. 

2. Cheap Feeling Cabin Trim

volkswagen-taos-sel-2022--24-angle--front-row--interior.jpg 2022 Volkswagen Taos SEL AWD | photo by Steven Pham

The cabin’s design is let down by swaths of cheap-looking trim on the dash and the rear door panels. In our assessment, we said these flaws aren’t a “deal killer,” though they don’t help the Taos to outshine rival SUVs.

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