Volkswagen, after an extensive development period, has officially unveiled the all-new Taos that replaces the Tiguan as the marque’s smallest crossover/SUV in North America.
Initially set to have been called Tarek, the newcomer takes its name from a town in New Mexico and effectively rates as an Americanised version of the Tharu sold in China, which in turn is spun-off of the Skoda Kamiq, formally the Yeti, Seat Ateca and Volkswagen T-Cross.
Incorporating styling from the Atlas and Atlas Cross Sport, the MQB underpinned Taos measures 4 465 mm in overall length with a wheelbase of 2 690 mm, height of 1 636 mm and width of 1 842 mm which Volkswagen claims translates into a boot that can swallow 796-litres or 1 877-litres with the rear seats folded down.
Unlike the Tiguan, which is only offered in seven-seat Allspace guise in North America albeit without the latter suffix, the Taos provides seating for five and will go on sale in a choice of three trim grades; S, SE and SEL, all powered by the 1.5 TSI Evo engine that sends its 118kW/250Nm to the front wheels via an eight-speed Tiptronic gearbox or a seven-speed DSG when specified with the optional 4Motion all-wheel-drive system.
Sporting an interior similar to the Golf, specification, depending on the trim level, consists of the 12.3-inch Active Info Display digital instrument cluster, two-tone cloth, leatherette or full leather upholstery, auto on/off LED or optional adaptive LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, rain sense wipers, heated and ventilated front seats, keyless entry, heated mirrors and windscreen washer nozzles, push-button start and an eight-way electrically adjustable driver’s seats.
On the SE and SEL, an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto comes standard, along with a wireless smartphone charger, a ten colour ambient lighting system and, in the case of the latter, an eight-speaker Beats sound system.
In terms of safety, all models feature Volkswagen’s new IQ Drive suite of tech as standard, which includes Blind Spot Monitoring, Lane Keep Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning with Autonomous Braking, Auto High Beam Assist, Park Distance Control and the semi-autonomous Travel Assist.
Going on sale next year, the Taos will be built at the former Beetle plant in Puebla, Mexico with pricing set to start at around $20 000. Unsurprisingly, it won’t be offered in South Africa.