On Tuesday afternoon, VW took the covers off of its new sub-Tiguan compact crossover, the 2021 Volkswagen Taos, which is intended to compete with the Kia Seltos and Chevy Trailblazer. The Taos brings Volkswagen’s modular MQB platform into a slightly smaller segment vacated when the Tiguan grew into a bigger-sized three-row crossover a couple of years ago. It brings nothing new to the table, but will still somehow sell by the truckload.
Americans purchased four million compact crossovers in 2019, and VW wants in on that ridiculously easy action. By sticking the Tiguan in front of a Shrink-O-Matic ray to bring it down a size, the Taos is clearly an extension of the Volkswagen family of SUVs. It’s the fifth new SUV in Volkswagen’s lineup in just four years, and they pretty much all look exactly the same, but in different sizes. An Atlas is a big Tiguan, which is a big Taos. They all share the same platform, which is fine enough to drive, I suppose. But what does this do that a Golf didn’t?
This. This right here is what makes me so mad about this car. Just look at how Volkswagen describes the size difference between the Tiguan and the Taos. “Dimensionally, Taos sits at the middle of the entry compact SUV space, in contrast to the Tiguan, which sits at the top of the compact SUV space.” Oh. My. God. How many pieces do you need to cut this pie into?
The Taos cuts 9.3 inches from the Tiguan’s length, but it’s actually half an inch wider than its bigger brother. Volkswagen also cut 1.4 inches of height out of a Tiguan to make a Taos. They’re basically the same car, just buy a Tiguan.
To make matters even worse, the Taos didn’t do anything interesting with its drivetrain. For all of VW’s talk about electric being the future, the Taos doesn’t even offer a hybrid, let alone a PHEV or BEV version. You don’t even get a choice of engine, as all Taos will receive the 1.5-liter turbo four also found in the Jetta sedan which makes 158 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. The front drive cars will get an 8-speed automatic and 4Motion models will receive a 7-speed DSG.
You can look forward, as much as anyone can look forward to something like this, to the Taos being delivered next summer, with pricing and further details to be announced as product launch gets closer. The current Tiguan starts at $24,945, so you can expect the Taos to undercut that by a couple thousand. It will be built in VW’s Puebla, Mexico factory.
The Golf (probably) died in America for the Taos’ sins. Repent and ye shall be forgiven.