In the automotive marketplace right now, there is no segment more competitive than the crossover segment. Competition rages not just between OEMs, but between various offerings within each company’s range. Today we’re looking at 2 popular crossover models from the German automotive titan, Volkswagen, namely: The Taos and the Tiguan.
The Volkswagen Taos is the manufacturer’s smallest and most affordable SUV offering, whereas the bigger Tiguan is a compact SUV that offers slightly more performance and practicality. The VW Taos is sleeker and more fuel efficient, but those ferrying 4-5 passengers will appreciate the additional space of the Tiguan. The VW Tiguan also has optional third-row seating to accommodate up to 7, which the Taos is simply too small to offer.
Since the Volkswagen Taos falls into the smaller “subcompact” crossover category, you might expect it to have a lower MSRP, and you’d be correct. The 2022 Volkswagen Taos starts at $22,995, whereas the slightly larger 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan starts at $25,995.
At the top end, the Taos SEL starts at $31,490, whereas the Tiguan SEL R-Line gets up to $36,595. Therefore, the price gap becomes wider as you go up the trim levels, but then again there are also more Volkswagen Tiguan trims on offer than Taos models. While the base trims are generous enough to offer LED headlights and VW Digital Cockpit, upgrading to higher trims on either car will get you things like 18″ alloy wheels, an improved sound system, and VW Digital Cockpit Pro.
In general, buyers wanting to get the most from their money normally do best opting for a higher-end trim on a smaller car, rather than going for the base model of the more expensive and bigger car. However, it’s worth doing more research on the trims in this instance, as the base VW Tiguan has some standard features that need to be optioned for the VW Taos, like smartphone compatibility and automatic emergency braking. So quite surprisingly, the Tiguan is only marginally more expensive than a similarly equipped Taos when you factor in those extra features.
You might be forgiven at first for mistaking the Taos and Tiguan as they share some design and build similarities. That’s not so surprising when you remember they’re both from the same OEM. The exterior of the Volkswagen Taos is just a little more compact, with a slightly shorter front end and more drawn-in rear end.
In profile, however, the two models do carry the same bold VW lines, the same small rear roof spoiler, the same kinds of alloy wheels design, and so on. Even their front grilles and headlights share so much of the same DNA. When you get closer, however, you start to see more, like the rounder wheel arches on the Volkswagen Tiguan compared to more square ones on the Taos; the ever-so-slightly boxier build of the Taos (a result of its smaller frame), the somewhat reduced fascia…it’s all small but helps to distinguish.
The top end of the Volkswagen Tiguan spectrum opens up some nicer exterior details like 20-inch alloy wheels. The Taos is still very new in the lineup and may get its own R-Line edition down the road, but right now can’t achieve the same exterior flair at the top end that the Tiguan can.
On the inside, the pattern continues where the Tiguan feels like an enlarged version of the Taos, but the two share many similarities. The driver cockpits, steering wheel, infotainment interface, and gear shift design are very similar. There’s some difference in the positioning of vents, and the Tiguan offers a little more upscale finishes in the trim and upholstery, but that’s also a natural product of the Tiguan progressing up to the R-Line trim where the Taos has yet to do that. Interestingly, the Taos is actually very slightly wider than the Tiguan, which is one of the reasons that the Taos still feels quite spacious even though it’s a subcompact.
Let’s start by looking at the base level “S” trim level. The Volkswagen Tiguan is powered by a 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. It outputs up to 184-hp and works on a front wheel drive drivetrain. The Volkswagen Taos has the same transmission and drivetrain, but the engine is a 1.5L turbo outputting 158-hp. Those engines are actually applied across the board, even when you move to the top end of the trim spectrum for each one.
The Taos can get from 0 to 60 in just 7.4 seconds whereas the Tiguan lagged in many tests only managing 9.1 seconds, showing that the nimble advanced engines and the smaller frame perhaps pay dividends in performance. Brake testing often reveals that the Taos has keener and more responsive brakes compared to the softer Tiguan brakes, too.
In both cars, the all wheel drive (AWD) options help to improve suspension performance since they use multilink setups as opposed to simple torsion beams. The Tiguan may lack the punchy power of the Taos at times, but it does offer very high-quality handling and a nice, comfortable ride.
As the larger of the two models, it’s not surprising that the Tiguan offers more in terms of cargo space. From as much as 37.6 cubic feet with the seats up to 73.5 cubic feet with the seats down in the Tiguan, and 27.9 cubic feet to 65.9 cubic feet in the Taos. It’s not a dramatic difference, but when you really need to fit in the extra cases, school bags, or other daily cargo, then it can be a game-changer.
The VW Tiguan also does have the option for a third seating row, which augments potential seating capacity to 7. That’s a great advantage if you have more people to carry on occasion, but the fact is that the third row in the Tiguan is a bit snug, suited mostly to kids. Adding the third row also reduces cargo volume to just 12 cubic feet, which is less than even a common sedan.
Overall the Volkswagen Tiguan does offer a more spacious interior than the Volkswagen Taos, and it is this area which will be the deciding factor for most buyers.
In terms of fuel consumption, the Taos should be a clear favorite for those living in the city. It offers up to 28-mpg in the city and 36-mpg on the highway. The Tiguan, on the other hand, gets up to 23-mpg in the city and 30-mpg on the highway.
As we mentioned when discussing the interior, there are clearly many similarities between Taos and Tiguan because they do come from the same OEM. The good news is that both models are using the same basic infotainment system that predates the new (and less user-friendly) system in the ID.4 electric vehicle. Both can get up to 8-inch touchscreens for infotainment, and up to 10.3 inches for digital instrument display on the Tiguan.
Both also feature an optional premium audio system (Beats for the Taos, Fender for the Tiguan). Both can connect to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and both offer additional wireless device charging trays. Another option both enjoy is a sunroof.
Both models make use of VW’s IQ.Drive ADAS system for added convenience and safety for drivers and passengers. Both feature blind-spot monitoring, park distance control, rear cross traffic alert, and light assist as standard. The Tiguan offers some additional standard features, however, including front assist, road sign assist, area view, and added maneuver braking to the park distance control.
VW Taos vs Tiguan: Verdict
The Taos and Tiguan are close siblings, there’s no doubt about it. The Tiguan offers more space and more standard features, but the Taos offers more off-the-mark power, a more compact frame, and a somewhat refreshed style. In the end, what it mostly comes down to is price and utility. If you need extra seating, the Tiguan can cover you. If you want the extra trim choices and feature levels, then the Tiguan is also best.
On the other hand, if you just want a quality crossover that looks the part, does its job, and seats up to 5 while still offering great VW-quality style and features, then the Taos is ideal.
|2022 Volkswagen Taos||2022 Volkswagen Tiguan|
|Engine||1.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas||2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas|
|Horsepower||158 hp @ 5500 rpm||184 hp @ 6000 rpm|
|Torque||184 lb-ft @ 1750 rpm||221 lb-ft @ 1900 rpm|
|Transmission||8-Speed Automatic||8-Speed Automatic|
|Drivetrain||Front-Wheel Drive||Front-Wheel Drive|
|Rear Suspension||Torsion Beam||Multi-Link|
|Rear Wheel Size||P215/55HR17||P215/65HR17|
|Front Wheel Size||P215/55HR17||P215/65HR17|
|Turning Diameter (ft.)||37.6||37.7|
|MPG/MPGe - Hwy||36||30|
|MPG/MPGe - City||28||23|
|MPG/MPGe - Combined||31||26|
|Gas Tank Size (gallons)||13.2||15.3|
|Cruising Range - Hwy (miles)||475.2||459.0|
|Size and Weight|
|Max Width (in.)||72.5||72.4|
|Front Seat Leg Room (in.)||40.1||40.2|
|Front Seat Head Room (in.)||40.7||39.6|
|Front Seat Hip Room (in.)||-||54.5|
|Front Seat Shoulder Room (in.)||56.5||57.0|
|Rear Seat Leg room (in.)||37.9||36.6|
|Rear Seat Head Room (in.)||39.8||39.1|
|Rear Seat Hip Room (in.)||-||53.5|
|Rear Seat Shoulder Room (in.)||55.2||55.9|
|Third Row Leg Room (in.)||-||27.9|
|Third Row Head Room (in.)||-||33.8|
|Third Row Hip Room (in.)||-||39.5|
|Third Row Shoulder Room (in.)||-||47.8|
|HD Radio||Not Available||Not Available|
|Satellite Radio||Not Available||Not Available|
|Entertainment System||Not Available||Not Available|
|Premium Sound System||Not Available||Not Available|
|Auxiliary Audio Input||Standard||Standard|
|Smart Device Integration||Standard||Standard|
|Hard Disk Drive Media Storage||Not Available||Not Available|
|Vinyl Seats||Not Available||Standard|
|Leather Seats||Not Available||Standard|
|Premium Synthetic Seats||Not Available||Standard|
|Sun/Moonroof||Not Available||Not Available|
|Leather Steering Wheel||Not Available||Not Available|
|Woodgrain Interior Trim||Not Available||Not Available|
|Rear A/C||Not Available||Not Available|
|Seat Memory||Not Available||Not Available|
|Seat-Massage||Not Available||Not Available|
|Multi-Zone A/C||Not Available||Not Available|
|Power Liftgate||Not Available||Not Available|
|Climate Control||Not Available||Not Available|
|Head-Up Display||Not Available||Not Available|
|Automatic Parking||Not Available||Not Available|
|Navigation System||Not Available||Not Available|
|Power Driver Seat||Not Available||Not Available|
|Cooled Rear Seat(s)||Not Available||Not Available|
|Hands-Free Liftgate||Not Available||Not Available|
|Heated Rear Seat(s)||Not Available||Not Available|
|Remote Engine Start||Not Available||Not Available|
|Cooled Front Seat(s)||Not Available||Not Available|
|Heated Front Seat(s)||Not Available||Not Available|
|Power Passenger Seat||Not Available||Not Available|
|Remote Trunk Release||Not Available||Not Available|
|Heated Steering Wheel||Optional||Not Available|
|Adaptive Cruise Control||Optional||Optional|
|Navigation from Telematics||Not Available||Not Available|
|Universal Garage Door Opener||Not Available||Not Available|
|Steering Wheel Audio Controls||Standard||Standard|
|Night Vision||Not Available||Not Available|
|Rear Parking Aid||Not Available||Not Available|
|Blind Spot Monitor||Optional||Standard|
|Lane Keeping Assist||Optional||Optional|
|Tire Pressure Monitor||Standard||Standard|
|Lane Departure Warning||Optional||Optional|
|Knee Air Bag||Not Available||Not Available|
|Driver Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Seatbelt Air Bag||Not Available||Not Available|
|Passenger Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Rear Head Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Rear Side Air Bag||Not Available||Not Available|
|Front Head Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Front Side Air Bag||Standard||Standard|
|Basic||4 Years / 50,000 Miles||4 Years / 50,000 Miles|
|Corrosion||7 Years / 100,000 Miles||7 Years / 100,000 Miles|
|Drivetrain||4 Years / 50,000 Miles||4 Years / 50,000 Miles|
|Maintenance||2 Years / 20,000 Miles||2 Years / 20,000 Miles|
|Roadside Assistance||3 Years / 36,000 Miles||3 Years / 36,000 Miles|