By on April 22, 2021

Volkswagen has announced pricing for the 2022 Taos subcompact crossover, dialing things in at $24,190 for the base, front-wheel-drive version. The sum syncs up perfectly with the Golf hatchback the vehicle will effectively be replacing on the North American market (GTI excluded) and leaves us with some nagging questions about VW’s overall plan. Volkswagen is effectively killing off the Golf so Taos can have an uninterrupted moment under the spotlight, but it’s making the brand lineup look conspicuously redundant.

With Taos models priced so close to the Tiguan, there’s going to be loads of overlap on everything that isn’t the base model S trim. The larger crossover starts at $26,440 (including destination) and automatically comes with more interior volume and a beefier powertrain, though neither vehicle could be considered quick.

The Golf Alltrack seemed the ideal compromise between Golf and Tiguan. But VW decided to strip it from the U.S. market because it wasn’t not getting the kind of love the manufacturer felt it deserved. Truth be told, overall Golf sales took a turn for the worse in 2018 — likely influencing some of the automaker’s decisions. But crossovers won’t be a cash cow forever and we’re not certain if the Taos is actually an upgrade from what’s inarguably the most famous hatchback in automotive history.

It’s not like the Golf hasn’t seen its share of ups and downs over the years, either. Sales were abysmal in the years leading up to the Great Recession and there are certain incarnations of the model (e.g. Mk4 GTI) that just about everyone agreed were duds. But it has always persevered to prove that the simplest concepts are sometimes the best.

The current generation Golf (Mk7 in the U.S.) has 4-doors, a hatchback, and uses a turbocharged DOHC 16-valve 1.4-liter making about 147 horsepower with 184 lb-ft of torque to spin the front tires. Meanwhile, the Taos has 4-doors, a hatchback, and uses a turbocharged DOHC 16-valve 1.5-liter making about 158 horsepower with 154 lb-ft of torque to spin the front tires. The Taos is larger (175.8″ x 72.5″ x 64.4″) and more portly, making it the slower model. In exchange, the crossover is supposed to offer more interior volume and come with all the modern tech inclusions we would have already gotten if Volkswagen hadn’t forbidden the Golf Mk8 from coming here.

Of course, the Taos isn’t new either. It’s effectively going to be a massaged version of the Volkswagen Tharu, which is already sold in China, when it arrives in the U.S. this summer.

Most buyers will probably upgrade the Taos with things like all-wheel drive — tacking on an additional $1,450 to $2,050, depending on trim. Available features include the IQ Drive driver assistance suite, panoramic sunroof, 18 and 19-inch wheels, adaptive front lighting, a MIB3 infotainment system with wireless App-Connect, heated and ventilated seats, ambient lighting, and a BeatsAudio sound system.

But no amount of box-checking will ever get them a larger engine or more interior volume, making the Tiguan appear the more sensible option. A fully loaded VW Taos SEL starts above $35,000. For the same price, customers could buy its bigger brother in the same trim level — which comes with a panoramic sunroof, remote start, a power liftgate, and larger 18-inch wheels — and afford to outfit it with 4Motion all-wheel drive. The Tiguan also provides customers with the option of having a third row of seats and defaults to 184 horsepower in a segment loaded with equally slow and bland-to-drive crossovers.

But maybe there’s something I’m missing. We’ve not seen the Taos in all of its glory yet and it could turn out to be much more than a rebranded Chinese model that’s also assembled in Russia, Argentina, and Mexico.

What say you? Has my pro-hatchback bias run amok? Is the upcoming Volkswagen Taos a worthy successor to the Mk7 Golf or are we just getting the rest of the world’s leftovers? Will that even matter in terms of U.S. sales?

[Images: Volkswagen]

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33 Comments on “QOTD: Is the VW Taos a Worthy Successor to the Mk7 Golf?...”


  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Cars are dead. The fullsize pickup truck is now the Cressida, Maxima, Caprice, Crown Vic, and New Yorker.

    I know this is going to create a lot of hand wringing but Americans don’t want cars.

    There are a lot of examples from other automakers where tweeners blend segments with price overlap that is head scratching.

    If you live in urban canyons or cramped suburban parking lots and you’re not hauling around spawn, smaller is better even if the Tiguan sitting next to it is the better value prop.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      You just listed a few of my favorite vehicles.

      “Am I so out of touch? No. It’s the children who are wrong.”

      Great point about the parking space. Finding room for the Crown Victoria and Challenger around NYC is sometimes genuinely troublesome for me. Ditto on the fuel economy front. But I still see a lot of traditionally sedans milling around, with most crossovers being midsized with the fancier nameplates.

      • 0 avatar
        sayahh

        Always thought Cressida was cool. Maxima was cool for a hot minute. Dug Crown Vic and Caprices cuz they were cop cars or cabs. Btw did the Buick Roadmaster only come in wagon config?

        Cars will live. Heck, the Tesla Model 3 is doing well, and a subcompact Model 2 might come out soon. Also there are Camry, Civic, Accord, Corolla and the ones from Hyundai/Kia and Nissan. Mazda 3 were cool but they don’t look cool anymore.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          No, you could get a roadmaster sedan. I think the Oldsmobille B Body during that time only came in wagon form, but it was gone before the B Body got the LT1 and became interesting.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      Yet everyday I see plenty of new Accord and Civic sedans as well as the Hyundai Elantra and Sonata and all four Nissan sedan models on the road. Plus of course the Volkswagen Jetta. These cars while they not as sizable a market share as compact and mid sized CUV’s are still quite popular.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Like it or not, the default small car for nearly all buyers now has CUV ride height. This is just an adjustment by VW to the reality of the American market.

    Soon enough, low ride height will be reserved for specialty segments the way 2 doors are today.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I don’t think I’d be buying any ICE Volkswagen at this point. Lease or BEV only.

    As far as the body style goes, I don’t really enjoy or have a need for CUVs but I wasn’t a Golf owner either.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    No one gives two $hits about the COG or handling of an economy hatchback. The ride height and AWD availability is a much bigger deal to 99.9% of the intended audience.

    People who care about performance driving were buying a GTI anyways. Canceling the base Golf only matters to people on the internet that weren’t ever going to buy it.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      Some people do care about handling, but don’t have big money. There’s not much left for them.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        Were those people lining up to buy a base model Golf before? I strongly suspect not.

        A GTI starts at $28K, well under the average new car price and ~$5000 more than a regular Golf.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        It’s a dwindling market but Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, and Mazda all still have something. So does Kia and Nissan if you won’t die without a hatch.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        One of my sisters-in-law has a late-model Golf. Handling wasn’t even on her list of considerations when she bought it. The driving factor was that it was, she felt, the best-looking car available in the price range where she wanted to buy.

    • 0 avatar

      Yep this. Honestly a modern crossover will whip around a corner much faster than a Camry would 15 years ago. Plus, that’s not the way people normally drive. I mean I enjoy a car that can fly around corners (my dads CRX SI was sublime for this) but day to day I don’t care.

      I mean as an example My 2004 300M was tested as having a 0-60 of 8 sec and a skid pad lateral acceleration of .83G. My wife’s 2016 Honda pilot has a 0-60 of 6.5 sec and a lateral acceleration of .83G. The 300M is more fun but technically I’m pretty sure the pilot could take it on a road course thanks to the added acceleration out of the corners.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        “Honestly a modern crossover will whip around a corner much faster than a Camry would 15 years ago”

        I’m not sure what makes 15 years ago a proper baseline but if you compare things of the same model year physics is still pretty undefeated. A Giulia QV goes around a track faster than the Stelvio QV. Same with a Jeep Trackhawk vs even a narrow-body Charger Hellcat. A Blazer RS doesn’t outhandle a rental-spec Impala.

        However, the response of “no one cares” is correct. In fact I’m not sure if American buyers have *ever* cared about handling or responsiveness. The only performance metric I’ve ever seen people put weight behind is acceleration.

        Plus, even among “car” buyers it is a sliding scale. I might hate the thought of driving a Sorento but it isn’t like I own a Cayman or Slingshot either.

        • 0 avatar

          I meant it more as a base line for what the average person would think is OK. If CUVs handled like my 88 Ramcharger I think most would notice. But since they handle pretty much the same as the cars the average buyer had previously owned its not an issue at all.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      jack4x is right, nobody cares about handling.

      CUVs sell, hatchbacks don’t. Hot hatches? Not moving the needle much either which is sad.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      It feels grounded to the ground…

  • avatar
    SPPPP

    *shrug* I guess it’s … only slightly worse?

  • avatar
    Goatshadow

    Shame the ICE VW models look so much better, body wise, than the new electric model designs they are putting out.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Wax nostalgic about the Golf all you want, but YTD it’s been outsold by the *Acura ILX* (of all things) 2:1, and Golf sales dropped 68% from 2017 to 2020. So far in 2021, it is the 218th best-selling vehicle, beaten by a lot of surprising entries.

    The Golf is dead.

    The Taos will do fine until VW kills it off for a BEV version, simply because that’s where they are going.

  • avatar
    Steve203

    The Taos is nothing but the short wheelbase Tiguan that Europe has had since this gen Tig came out. That makes it cheap to build because they can use a fair portion of the Tig tooling they already have in Puebla. They did the same thing with the truncated Atlas they build in Chattanooga.

    Plan Steve to take care of the frustrated Golf buyers would be to leverage the existing Jetta tooling in Puebla by doing a mashup of the Jetta front end back to the B pillar, with the back end of a Skoda Scala hatchback. I would be all over a Jetta “Spaceback” in R-line trim with the 1.5, when my Jetta wagon is up for replacement. But, noooo. The great minds at VoA say “everyone wants a SUV”, so, I will need to go back to Honda, as they promise to offer a hatchback version of the next gen Civic.

  • avatar
    Mike Beranek

    No.

  • avatar
    sayahh

    I just want some of them VW Tacos.

  • avatar
    sentience

    I’m surprised we haven’t seen an American market Volkswagen Nivus yet. That would be closer to a Golf hatch than this thing.

    If I recall correctly, the Tiguan in our market is a pre-facelift version of what’s sold elsewhere. I would imagine more pricing separation once that hits. Or maybe VW will stretch the Tiguan out further, make a NA market specific variant, like what they did with the Passat.

  • avatar
    Dan

    Take out the GTIs and All Tracks that a few people actually bought and the plain old Golf has been literally dead – as in 500 copies in a good month – for years now.

    This isn’t a replacement. It’s an addition.

  • avatar
    dingo426

    Nope, it won´t

  • avatar
    jalop1991

    “A fully loaded VW Taos SEL starts above $35,000.”

    Are you kidding me? I’m about to buy a Pacifica Hybrid Pinnacle–the top of the line model–for, let me see, carry the 1, ultimately about $39K. No way that little VW thing is a $35K vehicle.

    I love my GTI, and I would look at something like the Taos if they GTI’d it, but….

  • avatar
    VWGolfGuy

    No!

  • avatar
    slap

    I have an Alltrack. I have no interest in the Taos. The Alltrack is a wagon with a manual transmission – things that make it unique. The Taos is like the other million CUVs out there – but less reliable.

    If I want the best handling CUV I’d buy a Mazda – and have reliability.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    With cars moving to a form factor not especially condusive to handling and increased autonomy insulating the driver not only from the road but the process of driving, how long util we start getting cars that ride like a 70’s Buick? I know if I am in something that doesn’t focus on the driving experience I’d just assume it have a soft suspension and some pillowtop seats.

    Maybe the world is ready for the return of the Brougham after all.

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