2022 Volkswagen Taos Highline

If you were to ask any general car enthusiast what car represented the pinnacle of the ultimate entry level hatchback, I would be safe in saying that the majority would answer – Volkswagen Golf. For a long time the VW Golf has represented a degree of freedom for new drivers.  The definition of a reliable flexible vehicle that was comfortable, solidly built and provided the ability to handle your day to day needs and then pack all your goods for a road trip up the coast or to the mountains.  For 2022 Volkswagen have rolled the dice and made a huge gamble by pulling the Golf from North America and replacing it with an all new vehicle, not surprisingly, a compact SUV called the Taos.  You may ask what does Taos mean.  VW named the Taos after the New Mexico home town of John Muir, the author of the repair and manual called How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive.
 
To ensure the Taos has a running start at fillings those proverbial big shoes, Volkswagen has paired a 1.5L Turbo 4 cylinder that produces 158hp and 184 lb-ft of torque.  The power is translated to forward momentum via a 7 speed DSG with Tiptronic and routed to all four wheels via VW 4Motion system.  For the uninitiated 4Motion is VW’s permanent four wheel drive system that can infinitely distribute power between the front and rear axles depending on the traction needs.  The power is not anything to write home about.  However, the Taos does a very good job of combining the dual clutch transmission and using the turbo induced torque to move forward with reasonable gusto, but not necessarily in the most linear fashion.
 
Behind the wheel the Taos feels solid in day to day driving, like only a VW can.  Steering is quick and precise and very light, even if a little uncommunicative. The interior is nicely appointed with a 10.25” customizable digital cockpit instrument cluster along with an inviting two tone interior décor.  Unlike its predecessor, the Taos, despite the smaller exterior proportions, provides for a remarkably roomy interior only aided by a panoramic sunroof.  The rear seats are especially spacious; even with the likes of my 6’3” frame in the front seats.  In addition, the Taos comes with wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto, 10 colour ambient LED lighting and a Beats audio system that does an admirable job.
The VW Golf has been a generational mainstay for decades.  Even when it was known as the Rabbit back in the 80’s.  To remove the Golf from North America makes sense from a purely numbers game.  Unlike, Europeans, North Americans and more specifically Americans don’t gravitate towards hatchbacks, but, they do swoon over compact and sub compact SUV’s like teenage girls over Tom Holland.  Combine this with a roomy, attractive and comfortable interior and the Taos may actually fill those shoes admirably.  Plus having a starting price of $26,695 and an as tested very well equipped Highline trim price of $36,695, we are actually talking bargain numbers that should attract buyers.
 

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