2023 VW Taos: New Volkswagen Taos Compact SUV Expert Review

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2023 VW Taos is a small car from the compact VW Tiguan The subcompact Taos has a very roomy rear seat and ample cargo space for practicality to even earn it the Editor’s Choice award.

Taos also offers a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and can be equipped with an all-wheel drive. Add the wide range of available driver assistance and desired features and the Taos is a satisfying choice in the popular segment.

From the Taos alignment, the SE model is mid-level because it provides the best value. It comes standard with 18-inch wheels, blind-spot monitoring, heated front seats, remote start, and wireless charging.

2023 Volkswagen Taos Review

The 2023 VW Taos is a 5-passenger subcompact SUV that falls below the larger and more expensive Tiguan and Atlas in VW’s lineup. This newly introduced model will enter its second model year with relatively few changes. Updated exterior colors and slight customization of the options pack are often the norms for any car or truck new to this market.

2023 VW Taos

And trust us, the Taos competes among the strong rival small SUV lineup. These include the Nissan Kicks, Subaru Crosstrek, Kia Seltos, Hyundai Venue, Mazda CX-30, and Chevrolet Trailblazer. Like most vehicles in this segment, the Taos is available in front-wheel-drive (FWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) formats.

What sets this VW apart from its packaging is the very roomy second row, along with ample cargo area. This isn’t always a given to small SUVs, but the Taos has nearly the same legroom in the second row as the larger and more expensive VW Tiguan.

Three trim levels are available — S, SE, and SEL — and you can add AWD to any of the three for an additional $1,500 to $2,000. While the added grip of the AWD is a plus, keep in mind that the Taos AWD loses three cubic feet of cargo space compared to the FWD model. This is because the AWD version uses a more complex rear suspension setup that takes up less luggage volume.

All 2023 VW Taos versions come with a turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission (FWD models) or a 7-speed dual-clutch (AWD) automatic. This is a passionate powertrain. During the time spent with the 2022 Taos, we noted how fast it feels to drive in the city, thanks to its low-end torque output. The handling is also more reminiscent of a smooth sedan or wagon than taller/larger SUVs.

Fuel mileage decreases when you add AWD — from 28 mpg/36 mpg city highway to 25 mpg city/32 mpg highway. Those are all respectable numbers, although the Taos FWD variant is the clear winner in terms of fuel budget.

In addition to the ample space inside, the Taos cabin remains secure with an easy-to-use infotainment system and a conventional dashboard design. Digital gauges are standard, as is the 6.5-inch infotainment touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The larger 8-inch screen is optional and brings satellite radio, wireless device charging, and BeatsAudio stereo.

Read next: 2022 VW Tiguan: All-New Volkswagen Tiguan Review, Price and Release Date

2023 VW Taos Changes

The Taos is powered by VW’s new turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine. That makes 158 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The front-drive version has an eight-speed automatic transmission, and the all-wheel-drive model has a seven-speed automatic clutch.

The front-drive and all-wheel-drive Taos also have different rear suspensions, with the former employing a torsion-beam arrangement and the latter sporting a more sophisticated multilink design. A set of 17-inch wheels is standard, but 18 and 19-inch wheels are also available.

We appreciated the engine’s thrust at low speeds, the unobtrusive operation of the eight-speed automatic, and the quietness of the suspension on level roads during our time with the one.

The front-drive Taos is rated at 28 mpg city and 36 mpg highway, and the all-wheel-drive model is rated at 25 mpg city and 32 highway. We tested the front-drive Taos on our 75-mph highway fuel-efficient route, and it delivered an impressive 40 mpg. For more information on Taos fuel economy, visit the EPA website.

2023 VW Taos Interior

Inside, there is nothing too special about Tao. The design and materials mimic the modern aesthetic found in other VW models. Fully digital gauge clusters are mounted on each dashboard and the standard two-tone upholstery is upholstered. However, faux leather and leather upholstery are also available.

There’s no shortage of popular choices either. The Taos cabin can be equipped with adjustable ambient lighting, an eight-way electric driver’s seat, dual-zone climate control, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, and a panoramic sunroof.

The Taos offers 37.9 inches of rear-seat legroom, which is just 0.8 inches smaller than the two-row Tiguan. The Taos also has 28 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seatbacks and 66 cubes with them folded flat.

Each Taos has a slick-looking infotainment system with a subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspot. A 6.5-inch touchscreen is standard, and an 8.0-inch version is optional. The system can also be equipped with built-in navigation, eight-speaker BeatsAudio stereo, SiriusXM satellite radio, and wireless smartphone charging.

Read next: 2023 VW Tiguan: Next-Gen VW Tiguan Mid-Size Sporty SUV Review

2023 VW Taos Release Date

So far we can’t confirm the release schedule of the 2023 VW Taos, however, we expect the 2023 Volkswagen Taos to hit the market at the end of Q2 2023.

2023 VW Taos Price

We expect the 2023 Volkswagen Taos S to have a base price of around $24,000 when factoring in destination costs. It competes with various other small SUVs, such as the Honda HR-V, Kia Seltos, Chevrolet Trax, Subaru Crosstrek, and Toyota CH-R.

The Volkswagen Taos SE and SEL trims bring more standard comfort, technology and safety gear, although the upper bounds of the Taos range are starting to overlap with VW’s own Tiguan compact SUV.

The price of a fully-loaded Taos SEL equipped with AWD is around $34,000. For reference, the mid-range Volkswagen Tiguan SE AWD has an asking price of around $32,000.