DETROIT — Volkswagen has shifted its product lineup upstream without a lot of fanfare. Just look at the Taos.
It is the brand’s entry-level crossover but there is nothing cut-rate about it. We had the front-wheel-drive version, and it had a wheelbase of 105.9 inches; it was 72.5 inches wide and 64.4 inches tall.
The point is that the Taos had heft and size. It just didn’t seem small.
There was a sculpted hood and Volkswagen’s signature three-bar grille. It had a molded front bumper with side air intakes and large lower intakes that gave it a sporty face. LED headlights, Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) and taillights are standard across all trims.
We had the SEL trim which featured LED projector headlights with the Adaptive Front-lighting System and an illuminated light line stretching outward from the logo
On the side were squared-off wheel arches, silver roof rails and body-colored side mirrors lent an air of refinement. Our SEL front-wheel-drive model sat on 18-inch machine alloy wheels.
We think where they put their engineering smarts was under the hood. The Taos was propelled by a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that made 158 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. It was mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with stop and go.
The combination yielded 28 mpg in the city, 36 mpg on the highway and 31 mpg combined. This was an easy driving, entry-level crossover, but it did not look small nor feel small.
It was quiet. We thought the floor mats, yes, the floor mats were a nice touch. Volkswagen spent a couple of bucks emblazoning them with the Taos name and they had white piping. It is trivial things like this that add value and refinement to a product.
This engine did not feel like a putt-putt motor. It had some oomph when we needed it. The driving dynamics of the Taos were good. Cornering, acceleration, lane changing and stopping did not draw our attention, which is what you want, an uneventful drive.
The front-wheel-drive model of the Taos had 27.9 cubic feet of luggage space behind the second-row seats and 65.9 cubic feet with the second row folded down. SEL models feature a standard 10-color LED ambient lighting system.
Volkswagen said standard features included automatic headlights and KESSY®-Go push-button start. This Taos SEL had remote start, an 8-way power driver seat with lumbar support, heated front seats, heated side mirrors, heated washer nozzles, leatherette-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, and privacy glass. There was dual-zone Climatronic® automatic climate control; auto-dimming rearview mirror; rain-sensing wipers.
The 2022 Volkswagen Taos 1.5T SEL was nicely equipped. And for $32,685 as evaluated, it was a lot of value for the money.
Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com.