Volkswagen Taos: First Drive Review

Until the reborn microbus arrives in the ID. Buzz, this crossover people carrier is here to provide essential features at an ultra-affordable price.


With a pandemic in the rearview mirror, and both a recession and global conflict making your daily drive more interesting, it’s a certainty the 2022 car buying world won’t be offering shoppers too many sweet deals for a long time.

Parts are in short supply. Chips remain scarce. Folks are holding onto vehicles they already own in an uncertain market. As a result, new vehicles are a little more precious – and dealers don’t have to haggle too long over price. It’s simply a seller’s market.


That’s the environment the new 2022 Volkswagen Taos drives into as a car hungry public searches for affordable options. Whether by design or good fortune, VW is parking a solidly-built, well-equipped compact SUV with (most importantly) a very affordable MSRP. 

Volkswagen was a little late to the massive, heady and ongoing crossover party in the automotive industry. That vehicle class dominated the automotive industry for several years now, with most automakers reporting a crossover as its top seller. Perhaps focusing on sedans and hatchbacks too long, VW lived with just the Tiguan standing in a lonely SUV vigil for too long.


Over the last couple of model years (Covid notwithstanding), Volkswagen added the Atlas and Atlas Sport as larger options above the Tiguan on the family tree. Now, the Taos parks itself in smallest SUV space at VW, aiming to snag a share of the busy crossover scene. 

There’s nothing sexy about the Taos. It’s exterior aesthetics are simple and conservative. Its performance specs are certainly adequate, but never thrilling. The Taos’ modest (even tiny) 1.5-liter, in-line, four-cylinder engine produces 158 horsepower. That will save me having to look up a 0-60 time, and it’s enough to get the machine moving for comfortable urban driving. Still, even at its most advanced trim level, off-roading is way off the books.


The driving experience is modest, but comfortable. The Taos will loyally do its duty as a city-driving people carrier – all while earning top grades for fuel efficiency with a combined 31 mpg.

Buyers can choose between front-wheel and all-wheel-drive options, and seven or eight-speed transmissions up and down the model catalog. Interior safety options include the commonly-expected, yet essential elements such as traction control, front/side airbags, electronic tire pressure warnings, ABS and emergency braking.


Again, that’s all necessary and useful, but nothing other vehicles don’t offer on basic levels.

On the infotainment and driver aid side, VW packs in a four-speaker stereo, USB ports, cruise control and a rearview camera. Again, all the essential boxes are checked – but there’s nothing groundbreaking on the list. 

So, if there’s nothing overly ambitious about the Taos, what makes it appealing? It’s the wonderful price. This legit, five-seat crossover carries a starting MSRP of $23,295. That places the Taos well in the frame with the more affordable entry-level crossovers. Even at a maxed out trim level, the Taos is available around $32K.


That’s the slot the Taos falls into in 2022. In a time when new cars sell at a premium, this new little VW provides all of the essential features at a precious price.