Volkswagen will get into the compact crossover game with the Taos, a small utility vehicle that'll make its debut for model year 2022. This new model will show similarities to both the Tiguan, which it will slot below in size, and the largest VW, the Atlas. The automaker's objective with the Taos is a blend of practicality, technology, and affordability that will win over buyers in the highly competitive small utility vehicle segment. It's expected to appear at U.S. Volkswagen dealerships in late spring of 2021.


Looking like a miniature Atlas, the Taos is an attractive vehicle that also shows some elements of the next wave of VW. Like the Volkswagen ID.4 electric vehicle, which is also set to debut soon, higher trims of the Taos feature an LED strip lighting on its fascia, bridging the headlights across the grille to the centered VW logo. It will stand out from other compact crossovers, which either look too much alike or just seem to be cars with a little extra ground clearance.


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Powertrain and Mechanical Specs


The 2022 Taos, named for the mystical New Mexico artists colony and world-class skiing destination, will compete in today's hottest-selling vehicle class, subcompact crossovers. It'll launch a newly designed engine, a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder making 158 hp and a zippy 184 lb.-ft. of torque. Versions with the standard front-wheel drivetrain will have an eight-speed automatic transmission and a torsion beam suspension, while those with optional 4Motion all-wheel drive will get a dual-clutch seven-speed transmission and a multilink suspension. Although this future model's fuel economy ratings haven't yet been announced, Volkswagen is targeting best-in-class mpg, thanks to new variable turbine geometry technology that supplies exceptional efficiency.


Comfort and Available Amenities


Whether the Taos is considered a subcompact SUV or a compact crossover, Volkswagen has designed it well, with more interior space than one would expect from the outside view. With the back row folded down, the cargo space is 66.3 cubic feet; when passengers are seated in that row, there's 28.1 cu. ft. of cargo area behind them.


There's also plenty of modern technology, most immediately evident with the VW Digital Cockpit, the fully digital instrument cluster that's standard on the Taos but reserved for higher trims of other Volkswagen models. Also coming standard on the 2022 Taos will be push-button start, a 6.5-inch infotainment touchscreen, VW Car-Net (which enables a Wi-Fi hotspot via subscription), and the IQ.DRIVE suite of active safety technologies (see the next section for details).


Some highlights of the available upgrades are heated/ventilated seats, a panoramic sunroof, two-tone upholstery, leather (for the seats and steering wheel), a larger (8-inch) infotainment touchscreen, a wireless charging  pad, a heated steering wheel, and a Beats Audio premium sound system.


Safety Features


As mentioned, the IQ.DRIVE driver-assist technology bundle will come standard on every trim of the 2022 VW Taos. This includes forward collision warning with autonomous braking, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, an active blind-spot monitor, lane assist, travel assist, and emergency assist. Outside of that standard suite, the available technologies will include high beam control, park distance control, and adaptive front lighting.