2022 Volkswagen Taos is a hot tamale

BY H. THROTTLE
AUTOMOTIVE COLUMNIST

I’ve been to Taos, New Mexico several times; a very old and quaint town in Northern New Mexico that has some excellent art galleries and restaurants.  A visit to Santa Fe should always include an afternoon visit to Taos.

Volkswagen is in a contest with Toyota for the title for the largest manufacturer of vehicles in the world.  VW has discovered Taos and apparently named a car in that town’s honor.  Somewhat a western trend as we have names like Santa Fe, Palisade, and Telluride  popping up, how long before we have a Vail or Aspen on a luxury brand?

Volkswagen presented a historic name Taos to a very solid all-wheel drive, medium sized, four-door  sedan.  The recent test drive of this model was impressive and begins with the attractive suggested manufacturer’s retail price of $28,695 with most options included.  A sunroof and several features push the price slightly higher.  Today’s car world pricing is highly competitive, and the Taos is loaded with German technology and safety features. VW has been manufacturing  famous cars since the 1930s.  I have owned and driven many of their products; all good.

The 2022 Taos was really a pleasant surprise and falls into the SUV class because of the style and all-wheel drive category.  The Taos is a smaller SUV compared to Atlas,  Atlas Cross-Over Sport and Tiguan. Volkswagen, of course, has a stable of sedans such as Artegon, Golf, GTI, Jetta and Passat. 

The Taos is the beneficiary of the engineering skill and decades of auto design by this world-wide Jugnauth.  Therefore, in test-driving the Taos, the heated seats and steering wheel are warm and comfortable, the stability is outstanding, the steering precise, and the 1.5L turbo-charged engine is connected to the seven-speed DSG automatic 4MOTION transmission.  The Taos has a center console dial to select driving modes of eco, normal, comfort and sport.

Heading into the mountains I used the sport mode and the variable seven-speed transmission that was excellent with the turbo-engine boost for passing trucks and slow-moving vehicles.  The 4MOTION all-wheel drive and the versatile transmission is ideally suited for  ascending or descending mountain highways.  The windshield wipers have heated nozzles appreciated in the recent snowstorms and all-season tires on 18” alloy wheels.  This is an excellent vehicle for inclement weather and the all-wheel drive is so essential for Colorado winters.

On a second drive to Ft. Collins I used the advanced radar-controlled cruise  system  that worked perfectly.  VW has adopted the lane crossing feature that keeps the vehicle within the traffic lanes along with forward collision warnings.  This vehicle has all of the safety features that add so much to driving skills and passenger comfort and security.  Technology is a major reason to purchase a newer vehicle.

During the week I became more knowledgeable with the many emblems, buttons, and controls featured on the dash and steering wheel.  I learned to be careful of what dial, button, or knob to push. 

In summary, the price is right. The four-wheel  independent suspension,  turbo-engine and transmission, the precision stability and steering makes this is a very attractive SUV, cleverly concealed with sports car features and performance.

While most sport vehicles have smaller rear seats, the Taos has spacious rear seats and can be a family sedan.  Fuel economy is very efficient with 32 mpg on the open highway and an overall average of 28 mpg.  VW offers a seven-year/100,000-mile power train warranty  that demonstrates their confidence in their products.

I’ve driven many more expensive SUVs and this Taos is at the top of the list for quality, affordability, and driving enjoyment.

Cute name and clever SUV.