Volkswagen is doubling down on its commitment to SUVs. Though the Touareg is gone from the U.S. lineup, there is a plethora of SUV goodness from the petite Tiguan to the three-row Atlas, with the Atlas Cross Sport filling in the blank space between. Now, the German automaker is introducing its petite-est SUV: the 2022 Taos.
This will be the entry into VW’s SUV lineup, and though we don’t know pricing just yet, Volkswagen promises it will be big on value. So, here are the most important things to know about this all-new SUV.
VW doesn’t name its vehicles willy nilly. There’s thought, even if it’s weird thought (crouching tiger, hidden iguana … anyone?), that goes into the name. And Taos was specifically chosen to resonate with the American audience.
Taos, New Mexico, is known for skiing, art and stunning landscapes.
I have to admit, I’m not sure how that relates to a petite SUV, so we’re heading into weird territory again. But, as a footnote in a prior press release, Taos was home to John Muir, author of “How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Compleat (sic) Idiot.”
Draw your own conclusions there.
Taos is intended to slot in underneath Tiguan (ICYMI: tiger + iguana), marking the entry into the VW SUV lineup.
At 175.8 inches long, the Taos is 9.3 inches shorter than Tiguan. Because we were curious, we looked it up, and that’s slightly longer than the first-generation Tiguan, which was 175.5 inches.
When you look at Taos, there will be no mistaking the VW lineage with the strong horizontal lines and sculpted hood.
Just because it’s small, that doesn’t mean it’s cheap, and it’ll get a lot of the up-level goodies available on the higher-priced, larger models. We’re a huge fan of the Digital Cockpit, modeled after the Audi Virtual Cockpit, which creates a visual delight of digital configuration in the behind-the-screen gauges.
Other available tech features include in-car WiFi, XM Satellite Radio, navigation, a Beats audio system, dual-zone climate control, heated-and-ventilated front seats and 10-color ambient lighting
Volkswagen also points out in its press release, that the IQ.Drive safety suite is available on every Taos. So, we take that to mean it’s an option at the base and likely standard as you level up. Features in this suite include automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams.
The only engine available will be a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder turbocharged engine. If you’re familiar with VW, you’ve also seen this engine in the Jetta. It’ll deliver 158 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque.
VW says this will deliver outstanding fuel economy without sharing the specific specs just yet, and it’ll be mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission in front-wheel-drive models and a 7-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission in the all-wheel-drive models.
Other than showing the vehicle itself and giving some basic specs, there isn’t a lot of additional information available – including pricing. That’s because you won’t actually see this vehicle on the streets until the summer of 2021.
There will be three trims: S, SE and SEL, but that’s about all we’ve got right now.
For reference, Tiguan starts at $24,945, and tops out around $39K. I don’t imagine the Taos will have a $15K price span, but I think it’s reasonable to expect it to start around $21K and top out in the low $30Ks.
Volkswagen is the master of fun-to-drive vehicles – whether you’re looking at the petite Jetta or three-row Atlas. So, we imagine the Taos will have a sporty demeanor with a bit of SUV functionality.
We’re looking forward to a chance to check it out. Even if we don’t entirely understand the purpose of the name.