Volkswagen's 2023 Taos subcompact crossover boasts a roomy interior and Euro driving manners at a reasonable price
Volkswagen’s 2023 Taos subcompact AWD crossover is the smallest SUV in the automaker’s lineup as it slots in size below VWs top selling midsize Tiguan AWD SUV.
Despite its size, it has a roomy interior and along with that, it’s easy to park and enjoyable to drive.
Taos has a classy yet aggressive look with large vents by the front bumper that’s accented with chrome and brushed aluminum trim. And it resembles the larger VW Atlas SUV.
It’s offered in FWD and 4Motion (AWD) and in S, SE and top-line SEL. We tested the affordable FWD SE that came nicely equipped.
Interior accommodations are comfy and practical with all digital instrumentation, that includes an 8-inch infotainment display and large HVAC controls that can be adjusted without having to take the eyes off the road. A robust and large gear selector controls the 8-speed automatic transmission (a 7-speed dual clutch automatic is offered with 4Motion) that is supplemented with paddles shifters. For a racy touch, VW included a flat bottom steering wheel.
Step-in into the cockpit is an easy 17.5 inches with heated leatherette front seats that are sanely supportive meaning not too loose and not too tight. A wireless cell charger resides at the bottom of the vertical stack and includes receptacles for wired charging.
The rear seats can comfortably seat two adults with decent leg room and ample headroom. But because of a high transaxle hump, only a small child can occupy the middle portion of the seat.
Taos has a spacious cargo area that measures 34.5 inches deep, 44 wide and 35.5 high for 27.9 cubic feet of space. Flip the 60/40 rear seatbacks that have a pass-through to carry long items, and cargo depth extends to 62 inches for best-in-class 65.9 cubic feet of space. With the backs flipped there’s a four-inch height change from the cargo floor and a low 27-inch lift-over that makes loading heavy items easier. Beneath the cargo floor is a space saver tire where some small items can be stowed inside the wheel.
Taos has impressive acceleration from its small 1.5-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that puts out 158-hp and 184 lb/ft of torque. Coupled to the 8-speed automatic transmission, it garners EPA mileage ratings of 28 city and 36-highway mpg with auto start/stop engine technology. Full throttle acceleration once the turbo kicks in is exhilarating. Like many four bangers, the 1.5 was a bit on the noisy side at idle and when cruising on a highway. Like a local Pontiac dealer at the time once told my parents when they purchased a new Bonneville from him, turn the radio up and you won’t hear the noise.
Taos came standard with a host of safety features that included Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, MirrorLink connectivity, travel assist (semi-automatic driving assistance), adaptive cruise control (stop & go), lane assist/lane keeping assist, emergency assist (will stop the Taos if it senses the driver is incapacitated), forward collision warning w/autonomous braking and pedestrian monitoring, active blind spot warning and rear traffic alert. In addition, if the car idles for a few minutes, the engine will shut down.
The Taos SE carried a reasonable price of $30,220 with no extra cost options. And to its credit, it received an overall government safety rating of a full 5-stars, four each for driver/passenger frontal crash, five for front/rear seat side crash and four for rollover.
Taos also comes with a 4 year/50K bumper-bumper, 7/100K rust prevention, free scheduled maintenance for 2/20K, and 3/36K roadside assistance warranties.
For a subcompact, Taos offers a family friendly interior, some utility and impressive Euro driving manners that are nimble, somewhat taut making it easy to park and enjoyable to drive and ride in. But for here in the snowbelt, 4Motion is a necessity which costs more, but well worth it.
All in all, Taos deserves serious consideration when shopping for an economical, and reasonably priced subcompact wagon.