Volkswagen cracked the code for the U.S. market: bigger cars, lower prices. It’s the strategy it rolled out for the Passat sedan and the Tiguan and Atlas crossovers. These roomy vehicles proved popular, but they alienated customers who actually liked VW’s smaller cars. Now that the Golf hatchback is no longer sold in the U.S., and the Tiguan has grown from one of the smallest compact crossovers into one of the biggest, there was a hole in the lineup for a small vehicle with useful cargo space.
To fill it, VW turned to this winning strategy: big car, lower price. The result is the 2022 Volkswagen Taos crossover, which is just hitting dealerships at a starting price of $22,995. Rather than import the small, zippy Volkswagen T-Roc subcompact crossover from Europe, the company adapted the larger Volkswagen Tharu from the Chinese market, adding a bigger engine and a dressier front-end design. The result can be considered either an unusually roomy subcompact crossover, or an unusually petite compact crossover that still has decent space inside. We spent an afternoon in two Taos vehicles at a media event to see how it turned out.