Right now, for automakers, the magic formula is three letters: SUV. Small, big or medium, the fake 4 × 4 stands out as commercial evidence. While waiting for the winds to change and for brands to rediscover the path of innovation, Volkswagen is bringing a new stone to the building, with much delay: the Taos.
On sale from the summer of 2021, in two or four-wheel drive version, the Taos intends to find its place in an already crowded sector by presenting itself as a product “of the golden mean”. It is more wrapped up than a pocket utility (Ford EcoSport), but more compact than a compact model (Honda CR-V) offered by the big general manufacturers. Kia (Seltos), Mazda (CX-30), Nissan (Qashqai) or Subaru (Crosstrek) dig the same furrow.
For the past five years, the small and medium-sized utility segment has continued to grow. The arrival of new players will further boost this growth, estimates the firm Desrosiers Automotive. The latter maintains that the number of registrations in this segment in the country will continue to climb for the next three years at least.
Volkswagen can therefore rub its hands, even if the Taos does not arrive ahead of a market where American, Japanese and Korean brands are already crisscrossing the ground. Pierre Boutin, President and CEO of Volkswagen Canada, maintains, however, that “the Taos is joining our range at a perfect time […]”, without revealing the objectives set for this model.
A direct descendant of the Volkswagen Tharu (China) and Tarek (South America) marketed elsewhere in the world, the Taos, which will take shape and color at the group’s Mexican factory, will have no trouble fitting into the style mold. Volkswagen: muscular profile while horizontally, but imposing very vertical front face with a wide open grille.
However, we hope that the treatment of the cabin will be better than that of the Atlas or the Tiguan and that the promise of above-average interior fittings will be kept.
In this regard, the utility volume of the Taos impresses by being able to reach (folded bench) 1877 liters. By comparison, that of the Subaru Crosstrek (our test bench last week) hits the equivalent of 1,565 liters.
For the technical part, Taos looks like a spoiled child. It uses the modular architecture (code name MQB) proven by practically the entire VW range and to which is added a new mechanism: a 1.5-liter four-cylinder supercharged by a turbocharger.
This engine adopts the Miller cycle, which basically consists of closing the intake valves more quickly in order to reduce the energy efficiency losses associated with an internal combustion engine, without compromising power.
As a reminder, Mazda was the last manufacturer (Millenia V6 2.3 liters) to offer such technology on the Canadian market. This 1.5-liter is linked to an 8-speed automatic transmission on the towed versions (front-wheel drive). The Taos equipped with four-wheel drive (4Motion) will have the exclusivity of a 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
Volkswagen specifies that three versions will be listed in the catalog of this model. However, the Canadian distributor is careful not to reveal the prices, limiting himself to recalling that they will be “competitive against the competition”. Classic!