VW Taos 1.5T SEL Review

The 2022 VW Taos 1.5T is unpretentious and practical with a teaser’s driving attitude

The Taos exterior

The VW Taos is the brand’s fourth and smallest SUV. Sold in front- or all-wheel-drive, pricing starts at about $25,000. (Photos courtesy of VW of America)

Table of Contents

Overview
Powertrain
Pricing
Ride and Handling
Travel Assist
Interior Function
Back Seats and Cargo
Why Buy the VW Taos?
Specifications

BY MARK MAYNARD

Thirty-Nine-point-Five miles per gallon in a front-drive VW Taos — 39.5. On a recent highway drive in a Taos 1.5T, I kept checking the onboard fuel-economy meter to be sure that what I was seeing was correct.

39.5 mpg in a subcompact SUV crossover exceeded my expectations, and that of several of the competing models I’ve tested. 39.5 was not a one-off lucky run. I went out multiple days to repeat the numbers, which the Taos tester did easily. And it seemed as if the highway mileage might even go a few clicks higher.

The around-town mileage was also strong, typically averaging 20 to 30 mpg, on the recommended 87 octane fuel. EPA fuel-economy ratings for the front-drive Taos are 28 mpg city, 36 highway, and 31 mpg combined. Mileage ratings for the Taos 4Motion all-wheel-drive models drop to 25/32/28 mpg.

I would have expected high mileage ratings in a hybrid vehicle, but what separates the 2022 VW Taos from its competition is its driving attitude.

This little SUV with a puny 158-hp., 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is eager to please. And it is just fun to drive.

There are at least 13 competitors in the subcompact SUV segment, but the VW Taos seems less subcompact and roomier. Among the competitors are the Buick Encore, Chevrolet Trailblazer, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Kona, Jeep Renegade, Kia Seltos, Mazda CX-30, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross, Nissan Rogue Sport, Subaru Crosstrek, and Toyota C-HR.

The front seats

The compact but not cramped front seat area has open sightlines.

VW Taos Overview

The VW Taos is Volkswagen’s fourth SUV model. In the lineup, it is the smallest, slotting below the Tiguan, Atlas, and Atlas Cross Sport.

Taos is built on VW’s “modular transverse toolkit,” or MQB platform. The MQB is easily tuned for various world markets, VW says. Road conditions were a challenge for chassis engineers. Striking a compromise between ride and handling becomes a serious task.

“For the front-wheel-drive [U.S.] Taos, we went through 77 iterations of the various chassis components — springs, dampers, anti-roll bars, suspension components, bushings, and so on.”

—  Gerold Bremer, Technical Development Director

Just in the U.S., roads vary from the smooth blacktop in the southern states to surfaces rippled by earthquakes in California to midwestern roads with the heaves of freeze-thaw conditions. Add then dirt roads add another complexity.

“To get to a balanced chassis for these markets takes a huge amount of work,” Gerold Bremer, Director, Technical Development, Volkswagen de México, said in a release.

“For the front-wheel-drive [U.S.] Taos, we went through 77 iterations of the various chassis components — springs, dampers, anti-roll bars, suspension components, bushings, and so on,” said Bremer.

The compact but not cramped driver’s space has smart integration of controls, switches, and dials.

The driver’s space has smart integration of controls, switches, and dials.

Taos Distinctions

The VW Taos uses a strut-type front suspension, but it has different rear suspensions. All-wheel-drive models have a rear multilink layout while front-drive versions get a torsion beam. The multilink rear suspension helps extend wheel travel and maintain traction when off-roading.

And there are slight body size variations between front-drive and AWD. The front-wheel-drive Taos has a wheelbase of 105.9 inches and is 64.4 inches tall. The all-wheel-drive Taos has a wheelbase of 105.6 inches and is 64.6 inches tall. Both versions are 72.5 inches wide.

Front-drive models have a fuel tank of 13.2 gallons but 14.5 gallons for AWD. I’ll bet some buyers of the front-drive Taos would like the option for the larger fuel tank for fewer stops in the week’s commute.

And the FWD models shift gears via an eight-speed automatic transmission with a Sport mode. Taos 4Motion AWD models have a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The 158-hp, 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder

The 158-hp, 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is as revvy as it is efficient. (Mark Maynard photo)

Taos Powertrain

All versions of the VW Taos are powered by a 158-horsepower, 1.5-liter turbocharged and direct-injection four-cylinder engine (the EA211 TSI). The engine has a peak torque rating of 184 foot-pounds at 1,750 rpm.

The engine is an updated and more powerful version of the 1.5-liter used in the Jetta sedan. But the Taos engine is more efficient in fuel usage, VW says. It features Volkswagen’s modified version of the Miller cycle . In the Miller cycle, the intake valves are closed early in the induction stroke to help with fuel economy. For a turbocharged engine, the Taos 1.5 has a very high compression ratio of up to 11.5 to one.

Among the engine’s key features is Variable Turbine Geometry. VW says VTG is more efficient, provides higher boost pressure, and avoids wastegate mass flow. The high-pressure injection system also produces better atomization of the fuel/air mixture. And this injection system also has a shorter injection time, optimized mixture formation, and lower particulate emissions.

Performance around town is calibrated for maximum fuel economy, and it can feel unsteady as it metes out mileage. But pull the floor-shift lever into Sport mode for the fun zone. It brings much quicker and more satisfying, acceleration —without being nervously aggressive.

18-inch grand-touring Bridgestone Turanza tires

The 18-inch grand-touring Bridgestone Turanza tires (215/50).

VW Taos Pricing

The 2022 VW Taos is sold in trim levels of S, SE, and SEL, in front- or all-wheel drive. Starting prices range from $24,690 to $33,285; pricing includes the $1,195 freight charge from Puebla, Mexico. (Pricing is up about $600 from 2021.)

Today’s front-drive SEL tester was $34,880 with and options for Kings Red metallic paint ($395) and a power tilt and sliding panoramic sunroof ($1,200). AWD would add $1,555.

The SEL list of standard equipment has some sophisticated features and technologies. Among them: the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit Pro (digital gauge display), keyless entry with push-button start, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitor, rear traffic alert, parking distance alerts, pedestrian monitoring, Travel Assist (semi-automatic driving assist with lane assist and emergency assist), Discover Media 8-inch color touchscreen navigation system, dynamic road-sign display, wireless smartphone charger, two front USB-C data ports and one rear USB-C charging port.

On the outside are 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive turning headlights, illuminated grille, LED lighting (headlights, taillights, and daytime running lights (with low-speed corner illuminating), power and heated side mirrors.

The interior features leather-trimmed upholstery, a rearview camera, an eight-way power driver’s seat with power-adjustable lumbar support, a front center armrest with a storage compartment, and heated and ventilated front seats.

The eight-speed floor-shift console.

The eight-speed floor-shift console.

Less can be plenty in a Taos

Sometimes, however, less is plenty, as in the base VW Taos S.

If you can live with a basic gray and black interior with fabric seats, you can drive home a fun SUV for $25,685. And that includes the $995 IQ.DRIVE Package & S Convenience Package. AWD would add $2,045, for a total of $27,730.

Standard S model features include the configurable Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, 17-inch alloy wheels, six-way manually adjustable front seats, a multi-function steering wheel, automatic headlights with a coming-and-leaving home feature, power side mirrors, and LED headlights with LED daytime running lights and taillights.

Digital extras for the Taos S include a rearview camera system, two front USB-C data ports, App-Connect, Bluetooth phone and audio, and a color 6.5-inch touchscreen sound system.

Also standard is the next-generation Volkswagen Car-Net telematics system. And it includes five years of remote-access services and in-car Wi-Fi capability with a data-plan subscription.

Find current VW Taos incentives and discounts here.

The Taos has full LED exterior lighting

The Taos has full LED exterior lighting

Taos Ride and Handling

German-driving DNA is built into the gasoline-powered Volkswagens. The Taos is a mighty mite of keen handling — with handfuls of grip and grin. The front-drive suspension smooths out rough road, and the torsion-beam rear suspension has none of the clunks that are commonly felt in some of these setups.

Four-wheel disc brakes have vented 12.7-inch front rotors and solid 10.7-inch rear discs. Left-foot braking, however, can confuse the electronic safety system. In an abundance of caution, the power is reduced in the event of unintended acceleration.

The 18-inch grand-touring Bridgestone Turanza tires (215/50) have good grip in enthusiastic driving and a meaty sidewall to help resist curb rash. The tires have a fairly high (hard) treadwear rating of 560. Such a high rating typically translates to a hard ride, but not so on this Taos, which speaks well of the suspension and its mounting points.

A turning circle of 37.6 feet is tight for easy U-turns and easy maneuverability in tight parking situations.

The 8-inch Discover Media color touchscreen integrates audio and navigation.

The 8-inch Discover Media color touchscreen integrates audio and navigation.

Taos Travel Assist

Volkswagen’s semi-automatic Travel Assist is a valuable asset. The system can be used with or without cruise controls. In the crush of commuting traffic, it is an all-seeing system to guard against distractions or an unintended meeting with a driver in the next lane.

The IQ.DRIVE package is a suite of technologies. Integrated into the safety systems are adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitor, rear traffic alert, pedestrian monitoring with front assist, travel assist, lane assist, and emergency assist.

With both hands on the wheel, the drive guidance gives steady lane centering, but can still be prone to shutoffs in shaded situations. Culprits include a shaded highway overpass or low-angle sunlight into the front grille sensor.

The rearview camera screen

The color camera system.

Taos Interior Function

The sturdy upright exterior design benefits the interior with tall headroom (40.7 inches) and extremely roomy back-seat legroom, 37.9 inches.

The compact but not cramped driver’s space has smart integration of controls, switches, and dials. Gauge graphics in blue on black are easily viewed in all conditions of lighting. Sightlines are open at the side mirrors and over the shoulder.

The $1,200 optional panoramic sunroof trims an inch or so from the front headroom, but it is a compelling picture window for those in the back seat.

The SEL interior design is durable with a variety of plastics, piano black trim, and stitched leather inserts. The eight-way power driver’s seat includes seat-bottom tilt, which is sometimes uncommon in smaller vehicles. However, I would have appreciated a seat-side driver’s armrest. The padded console armrest isn’t one-size-fits-all and it does not slide, as in some VWs.

The power tilt and sliding panoramic sunroof, $1,200.

A power tilt and sliding panoramic sunroof, $1,200.

Back Seat and Cargo

The Taos back seat is no penalty box for children. The boxy space is open and airy with headroom of 39.8 inches. The smallish exhaust-AWD tunnel benefits footroom for occasional three-across seating.

There is no recline to the seatback, but it has a comfortable angle.

Back-seat features include a fold-down, ski-passthrough center armrest with can holders. There also are bottle holders in the door panels and a C-type charging USB.

Cargo space is neatly square with a 42-inch wide opening and about 3 feet in length to the seatback. Fold the 60/40 seatback for a maximum of almost 6 feet in length. The temporary spare tire is stored below the cargo floor.

The Taos back seat space is open and airy

The Taos back seat space is open and airy with headroom of 39.8 inches.

Why Buy the VW Taos?

The Taos is a good starter family SUV that won’t be easy to send down the road, if and when it gets outgrown. Fortunate will be the teen driver who inherits the trusty family Taos.

Fold the 60/40 back seat for maximum cargo space length of almost 6 feet.

VW Taos SEL Specifications

Body style: subcompact, front- or all-wheel drive, 5-seat, 5-door SUV crossover

Engine: 158-hp, turbocharged and direct-injected DOHC 1.5-liter 4-cylinder; 184 lb.-ft. torque at 1,750 rpm

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Fuel economy: 28/36/32 mpg city/hwy/combined; 87 octane recommended

BY THE NUMBERS

Fuel tank: 13.2 gallons

Cargo space: 27.9 to 65.9 cubic feet

Front head/leg room: 40.7/40.1 inches

Rear head/leg room: 39.8/37.9 inches

Length/wheelbase: 175.8/105.9 inches

Curb weight: 3,175 pounds

Turning circle: 37.6 feet

FEATURES

Standard equipment includes: Smartkey entry and locking with push-button ignition, leather-trimmed upholstery, rearview camera, eight-way power driver’s seat with power-adjustable lumbar support, front center armrest with storage compartment, heated and ventilated front seats. VW Digital Cockpit Pro (configurable digital gauge display), adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitor, rear traffic alert, parking distance alerts, pedestrian monitoring, Travel Assist (semi-automatic driving assist with lane assist, emergency assist, 8-inch color touchscreen navigation and media system, dynamic road-sign display, wireless smartphone charger, two front USB-C data ports and one rear USB-C charging port, 18-inch alloy wheels, adaptive front-lighting (turning headlights), illuminated grille, LED lighting (headlights, taillights, and daytime running lights (with low-speed corner illuminating), power and heated side mirrors.

Safety features include: 6 air bags, Intelligent Crash Response System, electronic stability control, anti-slip regulation, electronic differential lock, engine brake assist, ABS with brake-force distribution, and hydraulic brake assist

PRICING

Base price: $33,285, including $1,195 freight charge; price as tested $34,880

Options on test vehicle: King’s Red metallic paint $395; power panoramic sunroof $1,200

Where assembled: Puebla, Mexico

Warranties: 4-years/50,000-miles bumper to bumper, including powertrain; 2-years/20,000-miles free scheduled maintenance (includes vehicle checks at 10,000 and 20,000 miles with oil change, but not a tire rotation; roadside assistance for 3-years/36,000-miles

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VW ID4 Review

The wide and low VW ID4 is a study in aerodynamic styling, most of it smartly achieved

An exterior view of the 2022 VW ID4 electric SUV

The battery-electric 2022 VW ID4 is available in rear- or all-wheel drive with a driving range of 280 miles. (Photos courtesy of VW of America)

Table of Contents

Overview
5 Cool Things
Driving Range
Motors and Battery Powertrain
Charging Times
Safety Features
Pricing
Interior Function
Back Seats and Cargo
Ride and Handling
Driver-Assist Systems
Why Buy the VW ID.4?
Specifications

BY MARK MAYNARD

Miles matter in an EV. The VW ID4 electric SUV made its debut in September 2020 as a 2021 model and already the engineers have boosted the driving range and made improvements to the charging system. Pricing, too, went up for 2022, but the ID4 is still a bit of a bargain for price shoppers.

Such is the way of electrification for new vehicles.

The 2022 ID.4 is available in rear- or all-wheel-drive powertrains in three trim levels of Pro, Pro S, and Pro S Gradient. Starting prices range from about $42,000 to $51,000. And unlike some new electric vehicles, the ID.4 is sold in all 50 states.

Pro S models of ID4 include brown leatherette trim on the dashboard and door panels.

Pro S models include brown leatherette on the dashboard and door panels.

VW ID4 Overview

The ID4 is Volkswagen’s first all-electric SUV and the brand’s first global EV. It is built on Volkswagen’s modular electric drive architecture or MEB. It brings a rethinking and re-execution of body design, interior design, and packaging of the powertrain.

The ID4 exterior is a study in aerodynamics for sleek airflow, which helps extend the driving range.

As do the majority of new electric vehicles, the battery pack is assembled in a flat and low “skateboard” format. It forms the foundation of the vehicle, and from there the designers are tasked to craft an attractive body style. Because the “skateboard” raises the ride height, many designers default to the more upright SUV body style.

For a compact-class SUV, the VW ID4 has a very sleek drag coefficient of 0.28 (for RWD models). Finding ways to deter and reroute wind resistance forms the ID4’s wide stance, fast angle to the windshield, tall sides, and arching but somewhat lowered roofline. It is a motion-at-rest shape, at a slight cost to a sense of spacious in the cabin.

The wide and low ID4 is a study in aerodynamic styling.

The wide and low ID4 is a study in aerodynamic styling.

VW ID4 By the Numbers

At 180.5 inches long the ID.4 is 4.6 inches shorter than the compact-class Volkswagen Tiguan. And it has a slightly shorter wheelbase (0.9 inch) of 108.9 inches. The ID4 is 1.9 inches lower than Tiguan at 64.6 inches tall, and 0.5 inches wider, at 72.9 inches.

By EV comparison, the Hyundai IONIQ 5 is 182.5 inches long on a wheelbase of 118.1 inches. Its body is 74.4 inches wide and the roofline is 63 inches tall. Cargo space is less, too, at 72.2 cubic feet. The IONIQ 5 has headroom of 39.1 inches (with the sunroof) and legroom of 41.7 inches. And its all-wheel-drive curb weight is 4,662 pounds.

The ID4 cabin is a vertical environment. Sightlines are cramped at the side mirrors and rear views are cropped by the slim back glass.

The ID4 cabin is a vertical environment. Sightlines are cramped at the side mirrors and rear views are cropped by the slim back glass.

5 Cool Things about ID4

The VW ID4 is a neural network of advanced technologies to enhance ownership. Here are five cool things about the car.

Gesture control. Menus in the infotainment screen can be moved by a swipe of the hand in front of the screen. Sliders for volume and temperature adjustment are located on the inclined surface below the display.

“Hello ID” natural voice control. The car responds to instructions spoken by the driver and passengers. “Hello ID” is capable of understanding such commands as “Hello ID., I’m cold” to turn up the heat.

ID Light system. A thin line of 54 multicolored LEDs runs below the windshield and uses pulses of light to communicate several types of messages. Using color and patterns, ID Light can signal readiness to drive, turn instructions from the navigation system, brake prompts from driver-assistance systems and incoming phone calls. When using voice commands, ID Light signals that it is listening, similar to how voice activation on mobile phones or virtual assistants. When the ID.4 is plugged in to charge, the ID. Light shows the current charge level.

3 years of free DC fast charging. To sweeten the deal of EV ownership, Volkswagen includes three years of unlimited charging at Electrify America DC fast chargers. Charging will be managed through the Electrify America app. Electrify America has more than 650 DC fast-charging stations and around 3,500 DC fast chargers in the U.S. The company promotes its charging network with two cross-country routes from Washington D.C. to L.A and Jacksonville to San Diego.

The 12-inch infotainment screen.

The 12-inch infotainment screen with gesture control.

ID4 Driving Range

Volkswagen said driving-range improvements to the 2022 ID4 came from “minor refinement and component maturity, such as more refined fit and finish over time in production.”

The rear-wheel-drive 2022 ID.4 Pro now has an EPA-estimated battery-driving range of 280 miles. That is an increase of 20 miles from the 2021 model.

The 2022 ID4 Pro S was improved to 268 miles, up from 250 miles for the 2021 model.

All-wheel-drive models are now rated for 251 miles of range in the Pro and 245 miles for Pro S. Those are increases of 2 miles and 5 miles over the 2021 AWD versions.

The skateboard schematic showing battery placement

The primary 201-hp electric motor is at the rear of the ID4, for standard rear-wheel drive. The motor for AWD is at the front.

Motors and Battery Powertrain

The primary electric motor is at the rear of the ID4, for standard rear-wheel drive. The 201-horsepower permanent magnet synchronous motor has 229 foot-pounds of torque.

The ID.4 AWD adds an asynchronous electric motor on the front axle. Volkswagen says, an asynchronous motor has less demand on the system compared to the synchronous motor, which is more efficient and more expensive.

The dual-motor system has a maximum output of 295 hp and 339 lb.-ft. of torque.

Power for both drivetrains is channeled through a two-stage single-speed gearbox.

In the rear-drive ID4, acceleration to 60 mph takes 7.7 seconds, according to testing by Edmunds.com. And the dual-motor ID.4 AWD Pro can make the same run in 5.4 seconds, VW says.

The liquid-cooled lithium-ion packs a max of 82 kWh, but 77 kWh is usable power, VW says, for prolonged life. The battery pack is made up of 288 pouch cells in 12 modules.

At 1,087 pounds the battery makes up a significant addition to the ID4’s AWD curb weight of 4,927 pounds.

The gear selector rocker switch is at the upper right corner of the digital ID Cockpit.

The gear selector rocker switch is at the upper right corner of the ID Cockpit.

VW ID4 Charging Times

Volkswagen recommends charging to 80 percent for daily driving and increasing it to 100 percent for longer trips.

Level 2 charger, home or public: 7.5 hours for a depleted battery;

125 kW fast charging: from 5 to 80 percent in about 38 minutes.

Battery Recycling

Volkswagen is setting up a battery cell production facility with the Swedish company Northvolt. At the end of the usage phase for the lithium-ion batteries, VW anticipates that the ID.4 battery can be reused in second-life concepts or turned into a source of raw materials through recycling. A pilot recycling plant is being built at Salzgitter, Germany.

Charging Station Struggles

For a weekend drive, I hooked up at an EVgo fast-charging station. The ID4 had an 80 percent charge and 215 miles of range and it took 35 minutes to get to 100 percent for 266 miles. My cost was $10.45, but that included an outrageous 0.58 cents (per kWh) plus a $2.99 user fee.

I had checked the EVgo website that morning for costs. It appeared the San Diego rate for “pay-as-you-go” charging (without a membership) was 39 cents a kilowatt-hour for “off-peak” charging. Also added is a $1.99 “session fee.” I was charging at 11 a.m. and expected to receive the rate of 29 to 40 cents kWh. The “on-peak” rate from 4 to 9 p.m. is 38 to 52 cents per kWh.

I’ve had two bad experiences at this EVgo charging station, but it is the closest fast-charging to my home. Apparently, the “session fee” is for me to call EVgo and bitch that once again I was not able to connect. The officious customer-service rep took my credit-card info and connected the charger remotely.

At one of my charging events, a female customer approached me with a phone in hand. She, too, was calling for connection help. And she was an EVgo member using the EVgo app to connect. She was on hold but got disconnected as we griped about the poor service and poor customer relations.

And it’s not just the charging hassle with EVgo, both locations of chargers have dirty cables and grimy stations.

I will seek out Electrify America public charging try next time.

20-inch tire and wheel package in the Gradient Package.

The robust 20-inch tire and wheel package in the Gradient Package.

VW ID4 Safety features

The VW ID4 rear-wheel-drive has earned a “5-Star” overall safety rating from NHTSA. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration runs the government’s New Car Assessment Program.

Among its standard safety features is the IQ Drive system of assistive technologies. Included in the package are:

Travel Assist, semi-automated driving assistance.

Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go.

Lane assist, lane-keeping system.

Emergency assist, which will brake the vehicle to a stop in a medical emergency; sensors detect if the driver’s hands are not on the wheel and the driver has not responded to a series of alerts.

Front assist, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring.

Active side assist, with a blind-spot monitor and rear traffic alert.

LED projector headlights on the Pro models with Volkswagen’s Adaptive Front-lighting System. The lights turn a few degrees with steering wheel input.

LED projector headlights on the Pro models with Volkswagen’s Adaptive Front-lighting System. The lights turn a few degrees with steering inputs.

VW ID4 Pricing

Starting prices include the $1,195 from Zwickau, Germany, but 2023 model-year vehicles will be built in Chattanooga, Tenn. AWD adds $3,680.

  1. ID4 Pro: $41,955
  2. ID4 Pro S: $46,455
  3. ID4 Pros S Gradient: $47,955

The VW ID4 AWD Pro S Gradient was $51,635, including freight, and had no options.

The Gradient package adds a black roof with silver rails and accents; silver accents on the front and rear bumpers; 20-inch wheels and Bridgestone Alenza luxury performance all-season tires (255/45).

All models have a long list of standard equipment, and there are just a few factory options. Choices include:

Protection & Convenience Package, $380. Included are four Monster Mats with the ID4 logo, a heavy-duty trunk liner with CarGo organizer blocks, an EV roadside assistance kit with a warning triangle, an LED flashlight, emergency poncho, pair of work gloves, and tire-pressure gauge, and a first-aid kit.

Enhanced Rear View Mirror, $375. It features a frameless design, an electronic compass, auto-dimming, and three HomeLink buttons.

Trailer Hitch Extras, $345. Included are a 2-inch hitch ball and a 1¼-inch ball mount. It is rated for a 270-pound maximum tongue weight to tow a maximum of 2,700 pounds.

Find current VW ID4 pricing here.

Incentives and Rebates

The 2022 VW ID4 qualifies for up to $10,250 in federal and state rebates or incentives.

Federal Electric Vehicle Tax Credit: $7,500.  IRS tax forms are here.

California Clean Fuel Reward: $750. Available toward the purchase or lease of a new electric vehicle with a battery capacity greater than 5. The customer must register the vehicle in California and the customer must reside in California.

California Clean Vehicle Rebate: $2,000. Eligibility is based on gross annual income, as stated on the latest federal tax return.

Find federal and state laws or incentives here.

And the ID4 qualifies for High-Occupancy-Vehicle freeway access, with the green DMV decal

Paint Colors

The base VW ID4 Pro model has a choice of four no-cost paint colors (three metallic, one solid). The base interior upholstery is fabric, but V-Tex leatherette is standard on pricier models.

Upper trims are available in six colors: Glacier White Metallic, Mythos Black Metallic, Moonstone Grey, Scale Silver Metallic, Blue Dusk Metallic, and King’s Red Metallic.

All models have a body-color roof and black roof rails as standard.

AWD Pro models add a tow hitch with a towing capacity of 2,700 pounds with a braked trailer and a heated windshield. Pro S and AWD Pro S models add a panoramic fixed-glass roof and power-folding side mirrors with a diamond-pattern puddle lamp signature. Pro S also adds brown leatherette trim on the dashboard and door panels.

Interior colors are Galaxy Black or Lunar Gray.

The 5.3-inch ID Cockpit

The 5.3-inch ID Cockpit

ID4 Interior Function

The ID4 cabin is a vertical environment. The tall doors, rearward sloping roofline, and rather narrow back glass create a snug and secure feeling. Headroom is quite tall at 41.1 inches, and that is with a 0.5-inch benefit from the panoramic glass roof. But very tall drivers will have to duck on entry and might have to recline the seatback for clear visibility through the windshield. Sightlines are cramped at the side mirrors and rear views are cropped by the slim back glass.

The driver faces a small digital gauge array, the ID Cockpit, with the gear selector rocker switch at the upper right corner. Upon unlocking the driver’s door, the EV is ready to go, just buckle up, engage a gear and go. End your drive by selecting Park and pressing the ignition button off switch on the steering column.

In the center of the dashboard, a Discover Pro touch infotainment display functions by touch or voice control. There are very actual buttons. Base models have a 10-inch display and the upper trims are upgraded to a 12-inch screen.

From the display screen, the driver has access to the navigation system, entertainment, driver-assistance systems, and vehicle settings. Menus can be moved using gesture control, but it takes practice to master. And sometimes the action of the swipe or touch is touchy.

Volkswagen’s “We Connect ID” app works through a smartphone for remote vehicle functions. The app can be used to set cabin temperatures, monitor current charge level, and plan drive routes, including charging stops.

Between the front seats is a clever and convertable cupholder space.

Between the front seats is a clever and convertible cupholder space.

Cabin Comfort

The ID4 Pro S interior includes handsome brown leatherette on the dash and door panels with satin metal and some piano black elements. It neatly breaks up the black plastics, but some of which in lower areas are SUV durable.

Massaging 12-way power front seats in the Pro S have adult thigh support, and comfort that will last at least through a full battery charge. The V-Tex leatherette is supple and handsome, with perforated centers. The seats are heated but not ventilated.

With no bulky transmission protruding into the cabin, there are plenty of storage spaces. The cupholders in the center floor console are deep and versatile with a removable insert to create an open bin. There is also under console storage for a small handbag or parcel.

Another deep box between the seats includes the wireless charging pad and two charging USBs. The box design includes a pair of bracketlike inserts that can be flipped to hold a Big Gulp or removed to place your bag of takeout food.

VW went deep on soundproofing. Helping to calm the cabin are “aero-acoustics,” such as the shape of the side mirror housings and the acoustic windshield. And there is special insulation for the body to reduce wind noise and intrusive sounds from the drivetrain, running gear, and tires. The sound-isolating treatment works well around town, but there is still noticeable ambient noise at highway speeds.

The flat floor is a back-seat asset for foot space not constricted by a tall AWD tunnel.

The flat floor is a back-seat asset for three-across foot space.

ID4 Back Seat and Cargo Space

The flat floor is a back-seat asset for foot space not constricted by a tall AWD tunnel. Legroom of 37.6 inches seems longer than its dimensions would suggest. While the seatback does not recline, it has a relaxed angle. And the expansive panoramic roof is an engaging picture window.

Cell phone pockets in the backs of the front seats are a nifty idea, with a pair of USBs in the floor console.

Cargo space behind the second row is 30.3 cubic feet, measured from floor to ceiling. The space is cropped somewhat by the rake of the tailgate. But fold the 60/40 seatback, with a ski-passthrough, for a very usable 5 ½ to 6 feet of length. Oddly, there are no seatback releases in the cargo area, so owners will have to step around to the back door and reach in to release the seatback.

The cargo opening is wide at 43 inches but not tall at 27 inches (because of the battery below). However, the Pro models add an adjustable trunk floor, that can be repositioned a few inches down to allow for taller items. And there is below-floor space for the charging cable.

While the seatback does not recline, it has a relaxed angle.

While the seatback does not recline, it has a relaxed angle.

ID4 Pro S AWD Ride and Handling

Sadly, the ID4 lacks the VW driving DNA that elevates their gas-powered vehicles. But replicating an electronic driving soul has been elusive for most mainstream EVs.

Weight is the enemy of an electric vehicle and the ID4 is heavy, more than 5,000 pounds with a brace of passengers. The quick uptake of torque helps get the ID4 moving, but it can be a reserved start before acceleration builds with intensity. There is no Sport mode, so the driver just has to push harder on the accelerator to get stronger performance.

It will take the driver some time to adapt for smooth acceleration and braking. While there is plenty of stopping power, the brake system has considerable mass to stop. The first few times I drove, it was sort of a “Whoa, Nelly!” experience as I neared a stop. And then there was a bit of nose dive and resettling.

The brake system is not the usual setup. VW uses front discs and rear drums because disc brakes on the rear can be less effective than drums after long periods of not being put to heavy use. The front discs on rear-drive models are 13.4 inches in diameter and 14.1 inches on AWD models.

The two-stage gearbox includes a Braking mode to recapture more energy when slowing or on downhills. To use the B mode, the driver must use the gear selector rocker switch at the upper right corner of the 5.3-inch gauge display, called the ID Cockpit.

B braking is a little awkward to use, but it does provide noticeable braking-regen force, though B will not bring the vehicle to a complete stop. I would prefer an e-pedal experience, activated through the accelerator pedal. For me, it is easier to use and seems a little safer.

Suspension

The ID4 has a strut-type front suspension and a rear multilink, both ends have coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers, and anti-roll bars. All-wheel-drive models have a half-inch taller ride height and firmer springs and dampers and thicker anti-roll bars.

But something more is needed. The all-wheel-drive tester did not feel steady when making simple maneuvers; there was noticeable sway and quick rebound.

The girlfriend-wife accused me of careless driving that was making her nauseous. “Really, it’s the car,” I insisted.

On the highway, the steering lacked solid tracking and required continual inputs. The ride even felt squishy on rain-grooved concrete highways. At those times, I was thankful for the many eyes and steering inputs of Travel Assist.

I can’t blame the 20-inch Bridgestone Alenza tires. The luxury performance all-season tires are robust in size and footprint, (255/45). But they also are not the quietest at highway speeds. These tires have a very high (hard) treadwear rating of 800 and a tread-life warranty of 5-years/80,000-miles.

VW engineers were able to create a very tidy turning circle of 31.5 feet on RWD and 36.4 feet on AWD. That is an appreciable asset with 19- or 20-inch tires and a wheelbase of 108.9 inches.

Travel Assist enables Level 2 partially automated driving from 0 to 95 mph.

Travel Assist enables Level 2 partially automated driving from 0 to 95 mph.

ID4 Driver-Assist Systems

Volkswagen’s IQ DRIVE advanced driver assistance technology includes hands-on semi-automated driving or Travel Assist.

IQ DRIVE is a package of integrated technologies. It “sees” road conditions through a front radar, front camera, two rear radars, and eight ultrasound sensors to collect data from the surrounding area

Its advanced technologies include:

Front Assist (Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring);

Active Side Assist (with Blind Spot Monitor);

Rear Traffic Alert;

Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Stop and Go;

Lane Assist (Lane Keeping System);

Emergency Assist (semi-automated vehicle assistance in a medical emergency). If the system does not detect driver input, it engages a series of warnings (visual, audible, and brake jolts). If still no input is detected, Emergency Assist will slow the vehicle to a gradual stop in its own lane.

Travel Assist enables Level 2 partially automated driving from 0 to 95 mph. The systems are intended for use on divided highways and the driver must keep a light touch on the steering wheel with both hands. The assist system uses Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Keeping Assist to help steer, accelerate and brake the vehicle in response to traffic and center the vehicle within lane markings.

On the highway, IQ DRIVE provides very accurate lane centering. I highly recommend it for driving in the congested commute. The eyes of the sensors are ever ready to guard the driver’s line, even when the driver is distracted.

The ID4 exterior is a study in aerodynamics for sleek airflow, which helps extend the driving range.

The ID4 exterior is a study in aerodynamics for sleek airflow.

Why Buy the VW ID.4?

With up to $10,250 in various incentives and rebates, the ID4 pricing is enticing to the skeptic or price-point shopper.

I’d recommend all-wheel-drive for its power even with the reduced driving range. It becomes a non-argument with a Level 2 home charger. And owners will appreciate that perk of off-peak charging, and always having a full tank to start the day.

However the gasoline price war settles out, the pricing won’t go back to what we once thought was acceptable.

2022 VW ID.4 AWD Pro S Specifications

Body style: 5-seat, 5-door compact SUV; unibody construction with stamped steel panels, plastic, and composite bumpers

Motors: Rear, 201-hp permanent magnet synchronous; 229 lb.-ft. torque; Front, asynchronous 107-hp electric motor on the front axle; 119 lb.-ft. torque

Total system power: 295 hp and 339 lb.-ft. torque

Transmission: single-speed automatic

0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds

Battery: 82 kWh liquid-cooled lithium-ion (77 kWh usable power); 288 pouch cells in 12 modules

Electric range: 245 miles

AWD MPGe: 100/90/95 city/highway/combined

On-board Charging: 11 kW onboard charger for home or public AC systems; 135 kW max for DC public charging

CHARGING TIMES

Level 2 charger home or public, 7.5 hours for depleted battery;

125 kW fast charging: from 5 to 80 percent in about 38 minutes;

Volkswagen recommends charging to 80 percent for daily driving and increasing it to 100 percent for longer travel.

BY THE NUMBERS

Cargo space: 30.3-64 cubic feet

Front head/leg room: 41.1*/41.1 in. *40.6 in. w/o glass roof

Rear head/leg room: 38.4/37.6 in.

Length/wheelbase: 180.5/108.9 in.

Curb weight: 4,927 pounds

Turning circle: 36.4 feet (31.5 ft. w/RWD)

Max tow capacity: 2,700 pounds, w/braked trailer; 1,650 lbs. w/o brake

FEATURES

ID.4 AWD Pro S standard equipment includes: KESSY keyless access, panoramic fixed-glass room for power sunshade, 12-way power seats (with massaging lumbar and memory), ID. Cockpit (digital driver display), Pro Max touchscreen navigation system with 12-inch color display, rear-view camera system, leather-wrapped and heated multi-function touch steering wheel, V-Tex leatherette upholstery, heated steering wheel and heated front seats, heated side mirrors and washer nozzles, heated windshield (standard on AWD models), electric resistance cabin heater, 30-color customizable enhanced interior ambient lighting, high beam dimming control, wireless smartphone charger and Bluetooth streaming audio

Driver-assist features: adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitor (Side Assist), rear traffic alert, dynamic road sign display, front assist with pedestrian monitoring, park distance control (front and rear), Travel Assist with lane assist, emergency assist,

Safety features include: 6 air bags, anti-slip regulation, electronic differential lock, intelligent crash response system, automatic post-collision braking, brake-force distribution, brake assist, stability control

PRICING

AWD Pro S base price: $51,635, including $1,195 freight charge; price as tested $51,635

Where assembled: Zwickau, Germany

Warranties: 4-years/50,000-miles bumper to bumper (transferable to a subsequent owner); high voltage system 4-years/50,000-miles; high-voltage battery 8-years/100,000-miles (10-years/150,000 miles in California); 2-years/24,000-miles free scheduled maintenance; 3-years/36,000-miles 24-hour roadside assistance

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2022 VW Tiguan Review

Redesign of the 2022 Volkswagen Tiguan sharpens exterior styling and adds standard heated seats, safety technologies, and seats for 7

The redesigned Tiguan for 2022

The 2022 VW Tiguan’s front-end styling was sharpened to make it look more like the larger VW Atlas SUV. (Photography by Mark Maynard)

Table of Contents

Tiguan Overview
What’s New For 2022
Better Than Base Standard Features
Pricing
Performance and Fuel Economy
Ride and Handling
Safety Features
Interior Function
Back Seats and Cargo
Why Buy the VW Tiguan?
Specifications

BY MARK MAYNARD

I don’t often get to test an entry-level new car or truck. But a week in a base 2022 VW Tiguan was proof of the good bones that underpin this small SUV.

From the first drive-away, the Tiguan telegraphs the German engineering of a car to be enjoyed for its drivability. It is felt in the smooth roll of the steering and the quiet function of the compliant suspension. The cabin is well sound-isolated from road harshness or wind noise at speed, yet there was no significant effort for weighty soundproofing materials or laminated glass.

Tiguan driver's area

The driver’s position is secure with unhindered sightlines.

Manufacturers typically provide a well-equipped vehicle for media evaluations to showcase technologies and refining features. Generally, a base model has a reasonable amount of features, but limitations of technologies, option packages, and paint colors will cramp personal style. And the interior can be a plastic hell to meet a low price point for advertising.

Volkswagen, too, keeps the formula simple for the entry Tiguan S with limited options and paint colors. But so much is built into the Tiguan that the term “base” does not translate as cheap.

A wide angle view of the front seat area

There is a quality appearance to interior plastics and other materials.

VW Tiguan Overview

The VW Tiguan is part of a long line of VW Group vehicles, including the Audi Q5 and Porsche Macan. And like those luxury-class SUVs, the Tiguan embodies that shared German ethos for keen drivability.

The Tiguan nameplate is a mashup of German words for Tiger and Leguan (iguana). Volkswagen says Tiguan is its best-selling model in the U.S. and worldwide.

The second-generation Tiguan debuted in 2018, which makes the 2022 model a midcycle update. Sold globally, the U.S. model is the long-wheelbase version, which provides seating for seven. For the U.S., the Tiguan is built in Puebla, Mexico.

The Tiguan slots in the VW lineup as a compact-class SUV. But because of its long wheelbase, the cabin is more of a super-compact, even midsize by some measurements. The Tiguan is also somewhat unique among its competitors for a pair of standard third-row seats on front-wheel-drive models. All-wheel-drive models only have seats for five.

There are four trim levels of Tiguan, all powered by a 184-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder engine. Front-wheel drive is standard and 4Motion all-wheel drive is available on the first three trims, while the top-of-range model includes AWD. All Tiguan models have an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Competing small SUVs include the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Jeep Cherokee, Mazda CX-5, Subaru Forester, and Toyota RAV4.

What’s New On the 2022 Tiguan?

For 2022, the Tiguan’s front-end styling was sharpened a bit to make it look more like the larger VW Atlas SUV. LED daytime running lights are new and complement LED lighting front and rear. In addition, there are four new wheel designs for the standard 17-inch aluminum alloys to 18-, 19-, and 20-inch wheels.

There are two new paint colors of Kings Red Metallic and Oryx White, both $395 each but not available on the base model. And for upper-trim models, there are two new interior colors of Cinnamon leatherette and Noisette (hazelnut color) leather.

Options include an illuminated line of lighting that flanks the VW logo. And there are updated R-Line design elements.

Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit instrument cluster is now standard with an 8-inch display (or an optional 10-inch Digital Cockpit Pro).

Also standard is the Volkswagen Car-Net infotainment system (for apps). There is Wi-Fi but only with a data-plan subscription. From the second trim level, MIB3 infotainment is standard, along with wireless charging and wireless App-Connect for compatible devices.

Heated front seats are now standard, with a heated steering wheel and ventilated front seats as options.

The third row of seats in the Tiguan

The third row is for kids only, but it will be handy for the school carpool.

Optional Tiguan Upgrades

Models from the second trim level up include a power tailgate and a next-generation Climatronic Touch interface for climate control.

R-Line models get a leather-wrapped steering wheel with touch “islands” and sliders.

Additional options include leatherette or leather seating surfaces, power driver and passenger seats, panoramic sunroof, Fender Premium Audio, and 15-color ambient lighting.

New interior colors include Cinnamon leatherette and Noisette leather.

Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit instrument cluster is now standard and has an 8-inch display (or optional 10-inch Digital Cockpit Pro).

From the second trim in the revised lineup, MIB3 infotainment is standard, along with wireless charging and wireless App-Connect for compatible devices.

Heated front seats are now standard, with options for a heated steering wheel and ventilated front seats.

Additional options include leatherette or leather seating surfaces, power driver and passenger seats, panoramic sunroof, Fender Premium Audio, and 15-color ambient lighting.

Better Than Base Features

The number of standard details is almost untouchable by competing entry-level offerings.

  • New standard tech includes the Digital Cockpit configurable gauge array and keyless entry with push-button ignition.
  • Automatic up and down lifts for all windows, not just the driver’s. Some brands seem to dole out the auto-for-all function as if it were gold.
  • Grab handles above all doors. Some makers save a few dollars and leave out the driver’s handle.
  • VW interiors are almost spartan for their disdain of flash-bang gimmicks. The interior design is reserved, but the Tiguan plastics have a premium appearance and graining. A few brushed-aluminum accents add contemporary style along the face of the instrument panel, door panels, and switchgear.
  • Door panel storage is flocked for sound-dampening.
  • I also like the dual overhead reading lights in the second row. And the separate jacket hooks at the B-pillars are often a budget-killing feature on other SUVs.
  • The second row reclines or folds flat.
A view of the fabric front seats.

Fabric seats in the Tiguan S are durable, supportive, and heated.

VW Tiguan Pricing

The front-wheel-drive Tiguan is sold in four trim levels, all with the same powertrain. 4Motion all-wheel drive is available on the first three trims and standard on the top model.

Tiguan starting prices range from $27,190 to $37,790 for the top-line SEL R-Line with AWD. Otherwise, add $1,500 for all-wheel drive. A sunroof would add $1,200.

The Tiguan S tester was $28,085 with one option for the combined IQ.DRIVE Package and S Convenience Package, $895. The IQ.DRIVE package adds adaptive cruise control for hands-on semi-autonomous driving, with Travel Assist, Lane Assist, and Emergency Assist. Among the convenience elements are a leatherette-wrapped and stitched multi-function steering wheel. Also included are an auto-dimming interior rearview mirror and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

See the complete Tiguan S standard equipment list in the specifications list at the end of this review.

Find current pricing and incentives here.

 VW Tiguan S Performance

While the engine is the same as before, VW tinkered with the peak horsepower and torque power ratings. And because of its long wheelbase and third row, the Tiguan is heavier than most competitors by about 200 to 400 pounds. As a result, the curb weight of 3,765 pounds is reflected in the Tiguan’s performance and fuel economy.

Horsepower now peaks at 6,000 rpm, up from 4,360 rpm last year. And peak torque of 221 lb.-ft. at 1,900 rpm is now substantially higher than the previous peak at 1,600 rpm.

The re-calibrations might have been aimed at fuel economy, which is 1 mpg improved in the highway and combined ratings. But the 2022 ratings of 23 mpg city, 30 highway, and 26 mpg combined were unachievable in the front-drive tester. My driving averaged 14-15 mpg around town, and I was able to work up to just 24 mpg combined on highway driving. Longer daily commutes likely would stretch the mileage.

There’s not much compromise to fuel economy from front- to all-wheel drive. The 4Motion is rated 22/29/25 mpg, and mileage for the Tiguan R-Line drops to 21/28/24 mpg.

The engine runs on 87 octane for all models, and there’s a 15.3-gallon tank for front-drive models and a 15.9-gallon tank for AWD models.

In daily driving, there is a slight delay in acceleration until the turbo is fully charged. At times, pulling away from the light can bring a squeal of the front tires. And sometimes, the acceleration requires a heavier foot. On the highway at 70-75 mph there is strong pull for passing or emergency maneuvers.

Sport mode sharpens the response, but it can feel unsteady and with some abrupt gear changes.

The Tiguan's turbocharged four-cylinder engine

The 184-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine.

Tiguan S Ride and Handling

The simplicity of the Tiguan suspension has secret-sauce engineering that is true to the Volkswagen DNA for driving. There are no hydraulics or electronics, just front struts with lower control arms, steel coil springs, telescopic dampers, and an anti-roll bar. The rear multilink also has coil springs, telescopic dampers, and an anti-roll bar.

The ride is uncommonly supple for an SUV of any size. The ride quality is firm but never harsh, and the cabin is remarkably quiet at highway speeds. Tiguan can handle enthusiastic cornering without falling all over itself.

Braking has a reassuring and flat grip from power-assisted, 13.4-inch vented front discs and 11.8-inch solid rear discs.

17-inch alloy wheels on the entry level Tiguann

17-inch alloy wheels are standard on the Tiguan S.

VW Tiguan Safety Features

All Tiguan models have such safety features as six air bags, automatic post-collision braking, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitor, and rear traffic alert.

New this year is standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking. The system will apply the brakes in certain crash types when the air-bag sensors detect a primary collision. Automatic braking is intended to reduce the chance of additional damage.

Tiguan also includes the Intelligent Crash Response System. The feature shuts off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and switches on the hazard lights if the car is involved in a severe collision.

 VW Tiguan Interior Function

The Tiguan S tester had a basic black interior with durable and attractive fabric upholstery. Cabin décor is contemporary with reserved use of satin aluminum accents. There is much black plastic, but it has a premium appearance and all panels were well aligned. However, the loud ping-pong tone of the turn signal could be toned down.

The doors open wide for easy entry and exit, which shows more engineering attention to finesse another degree or two on opening. The driver’s position is secure, with clear sightlines over the front fenders and over the shoulder. Headroom is tall at 39.6 inches with shoulder room. And there is a robust driver’s footrest.

The digital gauge array.

The digital gauge array. (VW)

I like the configurable gauge array to highlight a “classic” view or to add such categories as “gear and speed,” fuel economy, and range.

The front seats have manual height adjustment and are firmly stuffed for support on long drives. However, I would have liked some seat-cushion tilt and adjustable lower-back support (lumbar), which is not available on the Tiguan S. Door-side armrests and the steering wheel are neatly stitched as part of the IQ Drive package.

The standard 6.5-inch color display touch screen seems small, particularly when viewing the rearview camera. Upper trim models have an 8-inch display.

There are large and convenient storage areas, including a small box on driver’s left on the lower instrument panel. Bottle holders in the door panels have large capacity. Even the hood release lever is of stout design.

There is a charging area on the shift console with two USB-C ports and space to lay a large phone.

A front inside door panel with a large bottle holder

The door panel has large bottle storage and a neatly stitched armrest.

Tiguan Back Seats and Cargo Space

The second row is road-trip relaxed with 36.5 inches of maximum legroom with good footroom, even with Big Daddy in the front seat.

The bench seat has a 40-20-40 split with reclining seatbacks. The seats have fore-aft travel and tip-and-slide for access to the third row, but the manual function is stiff to use and could be refined for easier operation.

Second-row bench in the Tiguan

The second row has long legroom of 36.5 inches.

Amenities include airplane-style lights in the headliner, a fold-down center armrest, grab handles and four coat hooks.

Third-row space is best for a pair of youngsters. Headroom is 5.3 inches lower than in the second row (33.8 inches) and legroom is short at 27.9 inches. But the pair of seats are handy just in case, and the seats lie flat when folded.

Cargo space in the Tiguan

The Tiguan cargo space is flexible, with 12 cubic feet behind the third row.

Cargo space behind the third row is great for corralling grocery bags in the 12-cubic-foot space.

With the third row folded, there is 33 cubic feet of capacity, stacked to the headliner. Fold both rows or one section of the second row, and there is about 6 feet of length. The entry is wide at 45 inches.

There is underfloor storage for the roller-cover when the seats are in use. Other extras include a 12-volt plug and second-row seatback release levers.

Underfloor storage in the Tiguan cargo floor

The cargo roller cover can be stored in underfloor storage.

Why Buy the 2022 VW Tiguan?

So much is built into the 2022 VW Tiguan that the term “base” does not translate as cheap.

Seldom is a base model from any maker an acceptable purchase without a couple of option packages, at least. The entry Tiguan S is an exception. But even the test car had one package for $895, which added safety in its semi-autonomous driving elements and a couple of welcome convenience features.

At $28,085, the tester is fully priced, but it made for a value-plus purchase as a very enjoyable vehicle.

I am enthusiastic about the qualities of the Tiguan S, but it has limits for personalization. The S model has just four choices of paint colors: Platinum Gray Metallic, Pyrite Silver Metallic, Deep Black Pearl, and Pure White.

Moving up to the SE, $30,690, adds color choices of red (a $395 cost) or blue metallic, and pearlescent black or white.

And the SE also adds an eight-way power driver’s seat with manual lumbar, V-Tex leatherette upholstery, adaptive cruise control, Travel Assist, Lane Assist, Emergency Assist, wireless phone charging, Bluetooth phone connection, and audio streaming, and 18-inch wheels.

Depending on the purchaser, spending another $2,605 for the SE might build a better family SUV.

The rear angle of the Tiguan

VW Tiguan S pricing starts at $27,190. AWD adds $1,500

 2022 VW Tiguan S Specifications

Body style: compact, 7-seat, 5-door compact-class SUV in front- or optional all-wheel drive

Engine: 184-hp, turbocharged and intercooled direct-injected 2.0-liter 4-cylinder with auto stop-start at idle; 221 lb.-ft. peak torque at 1,900 rpm

Transmission: 8-speed automatic with sport and manual modes

Fuel economy: 23/30/26 mpg city/hwy/combined; 87 octane recommended

Towing capacity: 1,500 lbs., braked

BY THE NUMBERS

Fuel tank: 15.3 gallons

Cargo space: 12 to 33 cu. ft.

Front head/leg room: 39.6/40.2 in.

2nd-row head/leg room: 39.1/36.6 in.

3rd-row head/leg room: 33.8/27.9 in.

Length/wheelbase: 186.4/109.9 in.

Curb weight: 3,765 lbs.

Turning circle: 37.7 ft.

FEATURES

  • Standard Tiguan S equipment includes: Keyless entry and locking with push-button ignition, rearview camera, electric parking brake, digital cockpit gauge array with 8-inch display, cloth seating, heated front seats, multi-function steering wheel, 6-speaker audio system with Bluetooth connectivity, two USB-C ports, LED headlights and taillights (with LED Daytime Running Lights), black roof rails, body-colored heated side mirrors with turn signal indicators, Car-Net infotainment and apps with 6.5-inch touch screen and six-speaker sound system, Wi-Fi capability with subscription, sliding and folding 40-20-40 second-row seat, third-row 50/50 seating, and 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels
  • Safety features include: 6 air bags, automatic post-collision braking, forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitor, rear traffic alert

PRICING

Tiguan S Base price: $27,190, including $1,195 freight charge; price as tested $28,085

Options on test vehicle: IQ.DRIVE Package & S Convenience Package, $895, includes adaptive cruise control, auto-dimming interior rearview mirror, leatherette-wrapped, multi-function leatherette steering wheel, rain-sensing windshield wipers, travel assist, lane assist, emergency assist

Where assembled: Puebla, Mexico

Warranty: 4-years/50,000-miles bumper to bumper, transferred to a subsequent owner throughout the remainder of coverage; 3-years/36,000-miles roadside assistance; free scheduled maintenance for 2 years or 20,000 miles

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2021 VW Atlas Cross Sport Review

Volkswagen applied just about everything to its rakish Atlas Cross Sport, but is it enough for it to stand out?

The VW Atlas Cross Sport

The midsize VW Atlas Cross Sport 5-seat SUV redistributes space for a wealth of back-seat and cargo space

BY MARK MAYNARD

Volkswagen’s new Atlas Cross Sport shares a rich bloodline that also underpins the Lamborghini Urus, Audi Q8 and Porsche Cayenne Coupe, if not other nameplates in the VW Group global family. Consider it the sporting alter ego to the three-row, seven-passenger Atlas SUV.

Using the footprint of the family-oriented Atlas, the Cross Sport adopts a shaved roofline with a styling slant at the rear with redistributed back seat space for a long 40.4 inches of legroom.

Compared to the full-size Atlas, the Cross Sport is 5.2 inches shorter with a roofline lowered by 2.2 inches. Front headroom is still tall at 39.4 inches with a long 41.6 inches for legs. And even the cargo space is fully functional at 40.3 cubic feet behind the back seat (stacked to the ceiling) and 77.8 cu. ft. with the 60/40 back seat folded.

An interior view out the windshield of the VW

The cabin has broad front shoulder room of 61.5 inches and tall headroom of 39.4 inches. (VW)

New for 2021

The Cross Sport was new for 2020 and received a few technology updates for 2021. The next-generation MIB3 infotainment system with wireless app-connect and multi-phone pairing is now standard on SE models and above. And VW’s newest driver-assistance features of Travel Assist and Emergency Assist were added to SEL models and above.

Travel Assist is a semi-autonomous driving system that when activated will steer, accelerate and brake the vehicle when driving on a divided highway. The system is good at lane centering, but, as with many of these semi-autonomous systems, the vehicle will drift wide along sweeping highway corners.

The electronic Digital Cockpit (gauge display) can be configured to include the navigation map. (VW)

Atlas Cross Sport Pricing

The Cross Sport is sold in eight trim levels — S, SE, SE with Technology, SE with Technology R-Line, SEL, SEL R-Line, SEL Premium, and SEL Premium R-Line — in front- or 4Motion all-wheel drive.

Starting prices range from $32,050 for the entry front-drive model to $51,220 for the top-line V6 SEL Premium R-Line 4Motion (today’s tester); pricing includes the $1,195 freight charge from Chattanooga, Tenn. The tester, in Aurora Red metallic paint ($395), was $51,615.

The bumper-to-bumper warranty (including powertrain) of 4-years/50,000-miles includes free maintenance for 2 years or 20,000 miles.

Standard equipment on all models includes power and heated side mirrors, LED headlights-taillights-running lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, six-way adjustable driver’s seat, rearview camera, 6.5-inch color touch screen and 11 cup holders.

Find Atlas and Atlas Sport lease and financing incentives here.

The seats are Euro firm and the seat bottoms will feel hard after a couple of hours on the road. (VW)

Cross Sport Safety Features

Among the standard VW Cross Sport safety features are six air bags, forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking. In addition, there is pedestrian monitoring, a blind-spot monitor, and rear traffic alert.

The 2020 and 2021 Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport received NHTSA five-Star overall crash safety ratings.

The 276-hp, direct-injection 3.6-liter VR6 and eight-speed automatic is rated for towing up to 5,000 pounds. (VW)

Cross Sport Powertrains

Powertrain choices are either a 235-horsepower, turbocharged and direct-injected 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine or 276-hp, direct-injected 3.6-liter VR6. Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Fellow car critics say the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine will be adequate for most needs. But those who tow will want the V-6. And there’s not much incentive to go for the four.

The 2.0-liter has fuel economy ratings of 21/24/22 mpg and nearly the same with AWD at 20/24/22 mpg.

The V-6 has EPA ratings of 18/23/20 mpg front-drive or 17/23/29 mpg AWD, using premium fuel for maximum power, but 87 octane is acceptable. In highway driving, I worked up to 24.2 mpg, but around-town mileage was typically between 15-18 mpg. The 19.5-gallon tank should provide commuters around 400 or more miles before refueling.

The big sunroof in the Cross Sport

There is chauffeur-class appeal to the second row. (VW)

Cross Sport Interior Function

The SEL Premium cabin is well stocked with creature comforts and useful technologies, which made it easy to forgive the liberal use of black plastic in lower areas; it’s tough looking but not with a cheap finish.

The SEL’s heated seats and steering wheel have three heat settings, which I’d not seen before on a steering wheel. The e-bin on the shift console has two charging USB ports and a wireless pad, but the pad was fussy for my iPhone 8 and wouldn’t function unless I removed its official Apple cover. The deep center armrest console hides another USB port.

I bonded with the lush rotation of the electric steering and how easily I trolled the mall parking in search of a space. The official turning circle is 40.5 feet, but it seems much tighter as the big SUV curls easily into parking slots. The wide-screen camera with an overhead view is helpful when parking, but a front view would be more helpful.

There is solid assembly and contemporary styling elements to the interior, despite the liberal use of black plastic in lower areas. (VW)

Steel-slab security

There is a strong sense of steel-slab security in the architecture. There is a generous space inset from the doors, which is functional as crush space in a side impact.

Sightlines are somewhat complicated by large side mirrors and the broad base of the windshield pillars, which are good for roof-crush standards — but the mirrors can block views of vehicles and pedestrians when turning at intersections. Over-the-shoulder views are unimpeded and I had no issue with seeing out the slimmer back glass.

The e-bin on the shift console has two charging USB ports and a wireless pad, but it was fussy for my iPhone 8. (VW)

After a couple of hours on the road, the seat bottoms will feel hard — so much so that I wanted to pull the wallet from my back pocket. The driver’s seat helps compensate with 10-way power adjustment, though I would have preferred some up-and-down adjustment to the lumbar. The passenger has an eight-way power seat.

The sliding visors have large coverage and there is equally large door-panel storage, with a large, locking glove box.

21-inch Pirelli tires on the Cross Sport

The all-season, 21-inch Pirelli Scorpion Zero tires roll quite smoothly. (VW)

Ride and Handling

There is bullish durability in how solidly the Cross Sport V-6 feels on the road and yet how deftly it managed the tester’s hefty all-wheel-drive curb weight of 4,484 pounds.

It is not quick in its handling and in standard drive mode the ride quality is soft, for a German-engineered SUV, with some bounding over intersection transitions, but it is comfortable. Switch to Sport mode and the shifts become aggressive (almost too much for in-town) and the suspension tightens significantly.

Braking is solid with four-wheel disc brakes, 13.2-inch vented rotors front and 2.2-inch solid rear rotors. The all-season, 21-inch Pirelli Scorpion Zero tires (265/45) have a wide footprint and roll quite smoothly.

Cross Sport back seat

The long doors ease access to the second row. (VW)

Cross Sport Back Seat

There is damn-nice back-seat space accommodations that are almost too nice for children. No parent has the arm length to reach back to subdue squabbles. There is a limousine-class 40.4 inches of legroom and a slightly cropped 37.8 inches of headroom with just a low hump at the transmission tunnel. The seatbacks recline and there is generous two-level stash space in the door panels. There are a pair of vents in the rear of the console, but no fan speed or temp controls.

The back seats, which recline, have 40.4 inches of leisurely legroom. (VW)

There is lots of black plastic and the leather isn’t a showpiece but the tester’s window seats were heated and have a perforated back and cushions. The pull-down armrest has cup-can holders and there are two charging USBs and a 150-watt 115-volt household plug.

Cargo Area

There is a tall lift-up to the cargo floor, which has huge cubic footage behind the second row — 40.3 to 77.8 cu. ft. with the back seat folded. The space is 47 inches wide by 46 inches deep with a height-challenged 29 inches to the headliner.

Cargo space is 47 inches wide by 46 inches deep with a height-challenged 29 inches to the headliner. (VW)

Why Buy the Atlas Cross Sport?

Way back in the 1990s, carmakers would offer two-door versions of their midsize SUVs as the sportier variant. Those short-wheelbase models didn’t fare well in evasive maneuvers or ride quality. Today, the trend is the more rakishly styled five-door SUV variant with the sloped roof to make it look sporty. Basically, it’s an ego purchase in which the buyer pays more and gets less (space) for a still-functional format.

For $51k, the topline V-6 SEL Premium R-Line, is loaded with desirable features and details, but it is not without its quirks. Elements as simple as floor mats and a cargo area roller cover are options, $105 and $180. Its fuel economy is among the lowest among the towing-capable competitors (including the Chevrolet Blazer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Explorer or Honda Pilot), but its good German engineering is an engaging separator.

But it might not be stylistically different enough from the seven-seat Atlas to be a convincing purchase.

A top-line seven-seat Atlas SEL Premium comparably equipped to the Cross Sport tester works out to be about $1,000 less. But the seven-seater also has the option for second-row captain’s chairs ($695), which are not offered for the Cross Sport.

VW might be missing out on not offering an “Executive Black” seating format and promoting the Cross Sport as the prestigious dressed-for-success SUV.

A rear view of the Atlas Cross Sport

There is bullish durability in how solidly the Cross Sport V6 feels on the road. (VW)

2021 Atlas Cross Sport V6 SEL Premium R-Line 

Body style: midsize, 5-seat, 5-door AWD SUV

Engine: 276-hp, direct-injection 3.6-liter VR6 with auto stop-start at idle; 266 lb.-ft. torque at 3,500 rpm

Transmission: 8-speed automatic with 4MOTION permanent all-wheel drive with four performance modes

Fuel economy: 17/23/19 mpg city/hwy/combined; premium preferred for peak power but 87 octane recommended

BY THE NUMBERS

Fuel tank: 19.5 gallons

Cargo space: 40.3-77.8 cu. ft.

Front head/leg room: 39.4/41.6 in.

Rear head/leg room: 37.8/40.4 in.

Length/wheelbase: 195.5/117.3 in.

Curb weight: 4,484 lbs.

Turning circle: 40.5 ft.

Tow capacity: 2,000 lbs. or 5,000-lbs. with tow package ($550)

FEATURES

Standard equipment includes: smart-key locking and push-button ignition, power tilt-and-slide panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated front seats, 10-way power driver’s seat, 8-way power front passenger seat, 17 cup holders, heated rear (window) seats, electric parking brake, Digital Cockpit (gauge display), power (heated) side mirrors with turn signals, Park Assist with steering assistant, park-distance control front and rear with tones, rearview camera with overhead view, 8-inch touch screen display for navigation-audio-apps, 12-speaker Fender premium audio system with satellite radio, Climatronic dual-zone cabin temperature control, e-bin with 2 USB charging ports and wireless pad, manual lift-up rear window sunshades, ambient cabin lighting, lighted and covered vanity mirrors with sliding visors, stainless-steel pedal covers, 21-inch wheels with 21-inch Pirelli Scorpion Zero tires (265/45), LED headlights-taillights-fog-running lights, trailer hitch, R-Line bumpers-badging-trim, rain-sensing wipers with heated nozzles

Safety features include: 6 air bags, engine-brake assist and electronic differential lock, hill hold and hill-descent control, automatic post-collision braking

IQ.Drive features: Travel Assist (semi-autonomous driver assist), adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, Lane Assist lane-keeping system, semi-automated Emergency Assist, forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking and pedestrian monitoring, Active Side assist (blind-spot monitor) and rear traffic alert

PRICING

Base price: $51,220, including $1,195 freight charge; price as tested $51,615

Options on test vehicle: Aurora Red Metallic paint $395

Where assembled: Chattanooga, Tenn.

Warranty: 4-years/50,000-miles includes the powertrain and free maintenance for 2-years or 20,000 miles.

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