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Tiny VW Taos feeds the hungry SUV market

Tiny VW Taos feeds the hungry SUV market

Here we have the Volkswagen Taos. It’s a new sub-compact SUV that VW insiders predict will be a lively seller for the world’s second largest car company.

  The Taos lines up behind the Tiguan in the VW spectrum and will appeal to many buyers due to price, quality and abundant features.

  Base price for the Taos is $26,695, with upgraded wheels and a driver’s assistance package the final price of my test car, in the top of the line Highline trim, was $38,195.

  The demand for SUV’s is voracious. On the road we are surrounded by them, so much so that one feels like a weirdo driving a sedan.

The new VW Taos slots in to the competitive sub-compact SUV category
Kathy Renwald Photo

Taos is practical, blessed with features, and good looking

  The Taos will please buyers with a host of charms. The cabin is airy, seats are good for and aft and back seat passengers have plenty of stretching space. The VW all wheel drive, what they call 4Motion will sooth buyers who deem it essential in any car.   With the rear seats folded down it will stow 1,866 litres of stuff. During the week I had it for testing, the Taos made a run to the dump loaded with various bits of lumber and a vintage toilet. And there was room for more. The load in height of the cargo floor also makes it easy to lift in heavy items. My gas consumption in city and highway driving combined was 7L/100 km.

  To propel the Taos a 1.5.litre turbo produces 154 horsepower and 184 pound feet of torque. Sounds modest, but the Taos was rarely crying out for more power. The steering is nicely balanced, and not much upsets the composure of the perky SUV. 

But it’s not perfect

 The only disappointment I could find was the occasional clumsy downshifting and upshifting of the seven speed transmission. In some situations, mostly when driving in the city, stop and go traffic could send the Taos jerking as it hunted for the proper gear. 

  Throttle response can also be over eager which sends the Taos hopping off from a dead stop. These peccadilloes deliver a less than polished performance that’s uncharacteristic of VW.

Interior is well planned

   Though the interior has its share of low market plastic bits-particularly the storage bins, the greater impression is of a vehicle well thought out and put together. We thank VW for sticking with a few knobs and dials for essentials such as heat and audio controls. Other functions are relegated to the centre mounted touch screen which works well enough. The screen is easily reached from the driver’s seat, but touch screen operation is best at a stop or on the smoothest roads.

A well positioned touch screen, and intuitive controls are features of VW Taos
Kathy Renwald photo

  Visibility from the driver’s seat is good, and I appreciated the heated steering wheel as the weather turned colder. 

   The exterior design of the Taos is tasteful. It looks solid and balanced. The sideline view is tidy with a minimalist approach to creases and chrome that can look too fraught on a small vehicle.

Tidy design of the VW Taos is a signature
Kathy Renwald photo

Taos is a good explorere’s car

  I prefer small cars and utility vehicles. The tidy Taos therefore is a good explorers car. During country drives, visits to the lake, or even suburban exploring its small size is advantageous for narrow roads, tight turns in parking lots, and poking about Hamilton’s inner city delights.

The small size of the VW Taos makes it a good exploring vehicle. Here it’s located by a pedestrian bridge over railway tracks in the industrial area of Hamilton
Kathy Renwald photo

  Car and Driver magazine rated sister vehicle the VW Tiguan as it’s #2 small SUV, just behind the Mazda CX-5. I’m thinking the Taos will be making a dent in the Best Of lists for subcompacts soon.

Maybe you are looking for an electric SUV? Check out my review of the VW ID.4

For more on the VW Taos:

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