A Big New Small SUV

The Volkswagen Group is the world’s largest automaker, yet it controls only three percent of the US auto market. Why is such a small piece of such a decent pie? Well, for a long time VW just didn’t make the kind of vehicles American consumers wanted to buy. The Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport (not to mention the enlarged Tiguan) were the first steps in completing a lineup that previously teemed with expensive sedans and Euro-marvelous sedans (like the old Passat) with SUVs including Americans. are so hungry. The new Volkswagen Taos 2022 continues the brand’s SUV offensive and is its first subcompact SUV.

Small for a VW, big for its class

The smallest SUV in the new Volkswagen Taos, slipping under the all-electric ID4 and the recently refreshed Tiguan. If the Taos sounds familiar, it’s because VW designed the small SUV to look like a baby version of the mid-size Atlas. The square fenders and chunky stance are particularly similar to that of the Atlas, and the LED light bar that spans the width of the front grille looks a lot like what appears on the new ID4 and 2022 Golf GTI.

Like most VW products these days, the Taos is built on the Modular Transverse Architecture (MQB) platform. Its 105.9-inch wheelbase is one of the largest in the segment, and the extra length contributes to rear legroom (as we found out when we first tested a prototype version of the Taos) . At 175.8 inches long, the Taos is among the largest SUVs in its class, an inch shorter than the Subaru Crosstrek, but longer than the 173-inch-long Mazda CX-30. Inside, the Taos sports 28.1 cubic feet of space with the bench seat raised vertically; fold down that second row, and you’ll find there’s a generous 66.3 cubic feet of headroom to play with. That’s more than the aforementioned CX-30 and Crosstrek with the seats up or down.

Taos Sports 2022 A brand new engine

When it hits the market in the middle of next year, the Taos will be available with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, just like most of its competition. The only engine available is a new 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission in front-wheel drive models and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission in all-wheel-drive examples. The new engine produces 158 horsepower – 11 more than the turbocharged 1.4-liter that serves as the base engine in the compact Golf and Jetta models – and 184 lb-ft of torque at just 1,750 rpm.

Those horsepower and torque numbers put the Taos at the heart of the segment, surpassing just the 155 horsepower and 174 lb-ft of torque of the Chevrolet Trailblazer, but shying away from the 175 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of the top-of-the-line Kia Seltos SX. . It’s unclear whether a high-performance variant of the Taos will ever arrive in the United States, despite the fact that R-badged sports versions of the Touareg, Tiguan and T-Roc exist in the VW lineup overseas. That said, neither the Touareg nor the T-Roc exist here at all, so (unfortunately) the lack of R models in the US market is unlikely to change anytime soon.

Volkswagen says the new engine is the first mass-produced turbo to use variable turbine geometry. That’s a fancy way of saying that the turbo can tailor the way its turbine responds to the flow of exhaust gas that spins its compressor wheel to accommodate lower or higher engine speeds. On a less technical level, this means that the turbo produces more power over a larger portion of the rev range and eliminates some of the pesky thrust lag (the lag in winding its internal components and delivering an increase in power to the engine at low revs) turbo engines can be plagued by, while adding high end power. The new engine also operates at a fuel pressure of over 500 psi and a compression ratio of 11.5: 1 – relatively high for a turbocharged unit.

According to VW, these changes mean that the engine can produce more power while providing “exceptional” fuel economy. The automaker has targeted best-in-class fuel efficiency, but we’ll have to wait until the EPA tests the Taos for confirmation. For now, the leader in the subcompact SUV segment is the Nissan Kicks, which offers an EPA estimated city of 31 mpg, a highway of 36 mpg and 33 mpg combined. So, consider the Taos bogey.

No such thing as a “base” 2022 Taos

The engine isn’t the only big news. Volkswagen said it didn’t want to create a stripped-down base model, but rather wanted to incorporate features across the lineup. Surprisingly, Volkswagen’s digital cockpit (an optional digital gauge cluster on other more expensive VWs) is standard on all Taos models. Even base S-trimmed cars will do away with a physical gauge cluster in favor of Volkswagen’s customizable digital instruments.

Volkswagen will sell the Taos in S, SE and SEL trims, and even the entry-level S will come with push-button ignition, automatic LED headlights and some driver assistance features. But if you want a safety kit, VW’s available IQ Drive pack increases the stakes with frontal collision warning, active blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist and other safety benefits. Other options such as cooled seats, a heated steering wheel and 10-color LED mood lighting will be available on more trimmed cars.

Stepped 18-inch wheels from SE threads (as opposed to standard 17-inch rollers) and a dent to Volkwagen’s V-Tex leatherette seat surfaces. Taos SEL models can have wheels up to 19 inches and get options that are normally available on other versions (like IQ Drive) as standard. A panoramic sunroof is an option on the entire Taos range.

How much will it cost? There’s no word on pricing yet, but Volkswagen is well aware of how competitors in the segment are priced and will no doubt ensure that the Taos is competitive. Therefore, you can expect the Taos to be similar in price to rivals like the Crosstrek and CX-30, starting at around $ 22,000 to $ 23,000.

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