2023 Volkswagen Taos Review

2023 Volkswagen Taos Review
  • Can be a good value
  • Big cabin
  • Great ride quality with AWD
  • Decent fuel economy
  • FWD version doesn’t ride as nicely
  • So-so acceleration
  • Bland style
  • Skimpy base touchscreen
  • With newly standard safety tech, the 2023 VW Taos works just fine in base S trim.

The 2023 Volkswagen Taos is a compelling compact SUV with a price tag that can stay reasonable with a few options.

What kind of vehicle is the 2023 Volkswagen Taos? What does it compare to?
The 2023 VW Taos is a compact SUV with five seats. Compare it to the Subaru Crosstrek and Jeep Compass, among others. 

Is the 2023 Volkswagen Taos a good SUV?
It has a pleasant demeanor and a big, well-equipped cabin. We’d like more styling and performance pizzazz, and better crash-test scores, though. As it stands, the 2023 Taos scores 6.6 out of 10 on the TCC scale.

What's new for the 2023 Volkswagen Taos?
After debuting last year, the Taos adds standard automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, and rear-cross traffic alerts, while S versions step up to 18-inch alloy wheels. SE versions add adaptive cruise control, while the SEL now comes with a sunroof. 
2023 Volkswagen Taos Review

The Taos is a shorter sibling to the VW Tiguan. It’s shorter by 9.3 inches overall, but it’s still plenty spacious—and a good bit cheaper. Its plain-Jane styling clearly links it to the Tiguan, though its cabin features more convenient buttons and knobs rather than the bigger model’s capacitive switches.

The crisp Teutonic lines outside are paired with some unpainted trim for a rugged look not quite matched by any serious mud-plugging capability. Inside, look for cloth, a synthetic suede-like material, or real leather, plus similarly conservative angles throughout. 

The 1.5-liter turbo-4 musters a decent 158 hp. Front-drive models use a tame 8-speed automatic transmission, while all-wheel-drive versions swap in a zippier 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. No version is particularly quick, though upward of 28 mpg combined is a reasonable tradeoff in the real world. 

All-wheel-drive models ride and handle better than base front-drive models thanks to a far more sophisticated rear axle setup. 

One of the Taos’ biggest assets is its spacious cabin, which excels in rear-seat and cargo space, at least compared to like-size rivals. The standard 6.5-inch touchscreen can be upgraded to a fancier 8.0-inch display. Even base versions have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, while SE and SEL trims with wireless smartphone projection let drivers cut one more cord. 

The Taos’ good array of safety tech is offset by worrisome crash tests, though. The IIHS notes an “Acceptable” score in one test and reports subpar headlights on all but the costliest version, while the NHTSA says the Taos is a four-star SUV overall. 

How much does the 2023 Volkswagen Taos cost?
The 2023 VW Taos kicks off at $25,450 in base S trim with 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic emergency braking, a 6.5-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a few other niceties.
2023 Volkswagen Taos Review

We’d add all-wheel drive plus a $995 package with adaptive cruise control and a heated steering wheel. That puts the Taos at a still-justifiable $28,795. 

Where is the 2023 Volkswagen Taos made?
In Puebla, Mexico.


The 2023 VW Taos blends in.

Is the Volkswagen Taos a good-looking car?
This risk-free SUV is like a pair of comfy jeans. It’ll fit in, but not stand out. We rate the 2023 VW Taos at an average 5 for its exterior and interior styling.

Certainly, there is a familial resemblance to the longer Tiguan. In side profile, the Taos appears more balanced thanks to its shorter rear doors that give it less of a stretch-limo look than the bigger Tiguan. It also wears chunkier details, including unpainted lower bumper, side skirt, and wheel arch trim, which saves VW the cost of painting these bits while imparting a more rugged look. 
2023 Volkswagen Taos Review

The well-organized interior similarly raises no eyebrows, though buttons and knobs arrayed in a convenient fashion. The smaller 6.5-inch touchscreen looks lost in the dash compared to the larger 8.0-inch display on SE versions, but we can appreciate the conventional buttons for climate and steering wheel controls compared to the touch-sensitive capacitive switches found on the Tiguan. 


The 2023 VW Taos delivers average acceleration, though it has a nice ride.

The 2023 VW Taos has a good ride, but it’s not a performance standout. We rate it at 5 out of 10. 

Is the Volkswagen Taos 4WD?
It can be. All-wheel drive is optional on S and SE trims, and it’s standard on the SEL. 
2023 Volkswagen Taos Review

How fast is the Volkswagen Taos?
The 158-hp 1.5-liter turbo-4 was a clean-sheet design when it made its way into the Taos last year. Front-drive versions team the little engine with an 8-speed automatic transmission, while a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic is paired with a rear axle for all-wheel-drive versions. 

Each has its own personality. Front-drive versions are smoother and zippier from a stop, but all-wheel-drive models have the edge on smooth upshifts beyond the first two gears. 

Neither configuration is great at passing, though. 
2023 Volkswagen Taos Review

When it comes to ride and handling, all-wheel-drive models have the clear upper hand thanks to their more sophisticated multi-link rear axle setup compared to the simple torsion beam used otherwise. They have a planted, upscale feel on curvy roads, and the fact that their rear wheels move up and down independently pays dividends on bumpy roads.

The light, overboosted steering offers a quick, nimble feel in town but can be tiresome at higher speeds.

Comfort & Quality

The 2023 VW Taos makes good use of its small footprint.

By small SUV standards, the 2023 VW Taos is a spacious choice. Its big back seat and cargo area punch above its weight (and size) class, earning it a 7 on our scale.

We’re less enamored with the Taos’ front seats, which offer just so-so support in base form. SE and SEL models swap in a power-adjustable seat that feels a bit more supportive. Rear-seat riders have 37.9 inches of leg room and a wide, flat bench. Three abreast is a tight squeeze, but two adults have plenty of stretch-out space.

The Taos offers nearly 28 cubic feet of cargo room behind the second row, which grows to nearly 66 cubes with the seatbacks flopped forward. All-wheel-drive versions have a little less space due to a rear differential that intrudes slightly into the cargo area, though. Still, these SUVs are roomier than like-size rivals such as the Jeep Compass and Chevy Trailblazer. 
2023 Volkswagen Taos Review

Upholstery choices run the gamut, from cloth on the S to a suede-like synthetic leather on the SE to real leather on the SEL. Fit and finish on models we’ve tested has been terrific, though materials don’t impress.


The 2023 Volkswagen Taos has some blemishes on its safety record.

How safe is the Volkswagen Taos?
It should be better.

Let’s start with the good. This year, every Taos includes standard automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, and rear cross-traffic alerts. Adaptive cruise control is a cheap option on the base S and standard otherwise.
2023 Volkswagen Taos Review

Now the not-so-good. The IIHS holds back its award and notes “Acceptable” scores in the front passenger-side small-overlap test as well as for the head restraints. Only SEL models have “Good” headlights, too.

The NHTSA grants the Taos a disconcerting four-star overall rating, too. 

It’s a 5 on our scale, with the point for good safety tech erased by that NHTSA score. 


The 2023 VW Taos is a good value with a great warranty.

Skip the top version of the 2023 Volkswagen Taos and you’ll find a well-equipped crossover SUV at a reasonable price. 

The base S trim isn’t lavish, but this year it comes with 18-inch alloy wheels and a suite of safety tech including automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitors, and rear cross-traffic alerts, plus an 8.0-inch digital instrument cluster, a 6.5-inch touchscreen for infotainment, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a pair of USB-C ports with 45 watts of charging capability for $25,450. All-wheel drive is a somewhat pricey $2,300 more. 

VW also includes an unusually long 4-year/50,000-mile warranty with two years of free maintenance.
2023 Volkswagen Taos Review

All that adds up to an 8 on our scale, with points above average for the warranty, a user-friendly infotainment system, and standard fare. 

Which Volkswagen Taos should I buy?
The S with a $995 package containing adaptive cruise control, synthetic leather seats, and a heated steering wheel makes a compelling case for $28,785 with all-wheel drive. 

It’s arguably a better value than the mid-level SE, which costs $30,220 and adds the features optional on the S plus different upholstery, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless smartphone projection, and push-button start. It’s the gateway to a power sunroof ($1,200), if that’s important to you. 
2023 Volkswagen Taos Review

How much is a fully loaded Volkswagen Taos?
With its standard all-wheel drive, leather seats, Beats audio, 19-inch wheels, parking sensors, and upgraded instrument cluster, the $35,830 Taos SEL feels a bit rich for our blood. 

Fuel Economy

The 2023 Volkswagen Taos promises decent fuel economy.

Is the Volkswagen Taos good on gas?
It’s decent. In all-wheel-drive form, the 2023 VW Taos is rated at 25 mpg city, 32 highway, 28 combined. That’s good for a 3 on our scale.

Front-drive versions are thriftier at 28/36/31 mpg, which would rate a 4. 
2023 Volkswagen Taos Review

Real-world experience with VW’s turbo-4s suggests the possibility of even better fuel economy if driven gently. 
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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
2023 Volkswagen Taos Review 2023 Volkswagen Taos Review Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on October 24, 2022 Rating: 5


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