What We Know So Far


Volkswagen has an answer for shoppers clamoring for affordable crossovers and SUVs, and it’s a new subcompact entry called the Taos. Measuring smaller than the compact VW Tiguan, the Taos will compete against diminutive rivals such as the upcoming Chevy Trailblazer and Hyundai Venue. That should lead to a fuel-conscious four-cylinder engine and available all-wheel drive. It should also offer all the latest driver-assistance tech and infotainment features that consumers crave. There’s still a lot left to know about the 2021 Taos, but the new small SUV will be unveiled this fall.

What’s New for 2021?

We know that VW is bringing a new small SUV to America and that it will be called Taos. It will eventually reach U.S. dealerships in 2021. It’ll likely have dimensions similar to its corporate counterpart, the luxury-subcompact Audi Q3, and share mechanical equipment with the size-up Tiguan.

Pricing and Which One to Buy

The 2021 Taos will duke it out with other subcompact crossovers that start in the low $20,000 range. While we expect the cheapest model to begin at about $22,000, that price is purely speculative since VW hasn’t released any official information. As with most other models in the company’s portfolio, the lineup will probably follow the S, SE, SEL, and R-Line naming structure.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

While we don’t know for sure what will be under the Taos’s hood, we can almost guarantee it’ll be a turbocharged four-cylinder. A version of the 184-hp 2.0-liter that powers the larger Tiguan could potentially be the answer. The 147-hp 1.4-liter found on the VW Jetta is another possibility. However, the latter would have to be retrofitted to offer all-wheel drive, which could be optional along with the standard front-wheel drive. An eight-speed automatic will most likely be the sole transmission choice.

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

Since we don’t even know what engine will power the upcoming Taos, the EPA obviously hasn’t released any fuel-economy ratings. Once those estimates are reported—and we have a chance to test one—we’ll evaluate its real-world mpg on our 200-mile highway test route.

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

Based on photos of the overseas version—called the Tharu—the interior of the American version should be familiar compared with other VW models sold here. That includes an understated design and quality materials that imitate but can’t replicate what’s found in its apparent upmarket equivalent, the Q3. Since both two-row subcompacts share the same platform, it seems likely that the VW version will have similar passenger space and cargo volume to the Audi. The Taos should also have no shortage of standard and optional interior features such as ambient lighting, a fully digital gauge cluster, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, a heated steering wheel, and more.

Volkswagen Tharu (China)


Infotainment and Connectivity

We expect every Taos to have a slick-looking touchscreen infotainment system that closely aligns with the Car-Net interface currently found on other VW models. That likely means Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot are standard. An upgraded audio system and wireless phone charging should be on the roster of optional features.

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

The 2021 Taos hasn’t been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). While we’re not sure what equipment will be standard and what will be optional, we expect VW’s subcompact crossover to offer a wide range of driver-assistance technology.

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

Volkswagen currently provides an above-average limited warranty and below-average powertrain coverage. However, the company does include complimentary scheduled maintenance that aligns with Toyota.

  • Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
  • Complimentary scheduled maintenance is covered for 2 years or 20,000 miles

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