There are more than 20 different subcompact SUVs to choose from today, making the small crossover and SUV segment among the most hotly contested in the automotive world. So, when Volkswagen’s 2022 Taos enters the fray this year, not only will it be late to the party, but it will have a heck of a lot of work to do in order to prove itself a worthy alternative to the twenty-some other baby SUVs vying for the same buyers.
But, despite being the only German offering in the segment, the Taos doesn’t come with your typical German brand premium price tag. Pricing starts at $24,190 for front-wheel-drive Taos S models, landing the VW right in between the Jeep Renegade (from $24,345) and the Subaru Crosstrek (from $23,295). The entry-level S includes LED headlights, an 8.0-inch digital instrument cluster, 17-inch aluminum wheels, and cloth seats. There is the option for VW’s 4Motion AWD and on all trims—on S models it’s a $2,045 option.
Step up to the Taos SE model and things get a little bit nicer. As standard, SEs get 18-inch wheels, forward collision warning with automated emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and a larger 8.0-inch infotainment display. A $1,200 panoramic glass roof, $395 black-painted wheels, and the $895 IQ Drive active safety feature bundle are optional. That last bit represents VW’s latest suite of driver assistance features and includes lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and emergency assist. The IQ Drive package is also available on S models where it includes blind-spot monitoring and costs $100 more.
Top-of-the-tree SEL models get all of the aforementioned kit—save for the still optional panoramic glass roof—as standard. The only difference here is that front-wheel-drive models get 18-inch wheels and those with all-wheel drive ride on 19s. Taos SEL models start at $32,685 and AWD is a $1,555 option. They also get leather seats, a Beats audio system, VW’s virtual cockpit pro with a larger 10.25-inch display, automatic high beams, dual-zone climate control, and an illuminated front grille signature.
We recently had a drive in a number of prototypes with different suspension setups, but still haven’t gotten our hands on the production-ready car. When we do, we’ll be sure to see if VW’s littlest SUV is up to the task of tackling an enormous—and enormously competitive—segment.