A comparison of a new vs. lightly used Volkswagen Taos to determine which way to go on this fuel-efficient subcompact crossover.
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The Volkswagen Taos subcompact crossover has been on sale since 2022 when it replaced the Golf hatchback as the German automaker’s entry-level model. Sitting below the Tiguan, this two-row subcompact SUV trades on excellent fuel economy, an upscale cabin, and plenty of standard content.
For 2024, that standard content is bolstered by the addition of IQ.DRIVE, VW’s suite of advanced driver aids, on every model, along with a handful of upgrades by trim level. There is also a new SE Black variant with up to 19-inch black wheels and special blue cabin stitching. But is that enough of a reason to buy a new Taos over a lightly used 2022 model? That’s what we aim to find out in this new vs. used Volkswagen Taos comparison.
It’s easy to compare a new and used Volkswagen Taos on specs as nothing has changed in this department since the small crossover arrived in 2022. All models are powered by a 1.5L turbocharged inline-4 good for 158 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque.
An 8-speed automatic transmission routes power to the front wheels unless you opt for all-wheel drive. The AWD Taos features a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic and a rear driveline disconnect system that decouples the rear wheels as needed in the name of fuel efficiency.
Those fuel economy figures come in at 24 mpg city, 32 mpg highway, and 27 mpg combined in all-wheel drive spec. But the front-wheel drive Taos is significantly thriftier on fuel consumption with ratings of 28 mpg city, 36 mpg highway, and 31 mpg combined.
Volkswagen differentiates the Taos chassis and associated driving experience based on drivetrain. All models, new or used, ride on a strut-type front suspension, but only all-wheel drive variants feature a multi-link rear suspension. With the front wheel drive Taos, it’s a torsion beam out back.
Unless you’re pushing the Taos hard, you may not notice the difference, but AWD models with this more sophisticated rear suspension design should feel more planted under cornering. With AWD, a system VW dubs 4Motion, the Taos also features Normal, Sport, and Individual drive modes plus the ability to automatically brake individual rear wheels when spin is detected.
Shopping a new vs. used Volkswagen Taos, you’ll find a virtually identical cabin. It’s a nice place to do some driving with two-tone cloth on base models and textured door panel inserts adding an upscale touch. Leather and CloudTex leatherette are available, as are climatized front seats, a panoramic moonroof, and dual-zone automatic climate control.
Cargo space is ample at 66 cubic feet with the second-row bench folded or 28 cubes with that seat – which can split-fold in a 60-40 configuration – upright. The same is true of the 38 inches of rear legroom. Base models come with a 6.5-inch infotainment touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot.
From SE grade on up, new or used, an 8-inch screen, wireless smartphone mirroring, and a fully digital instrument panel are all included. Aside from the addition of a standard heated steering wheel on the 2024 Taos, the only other notable upgrade on new models is a more liberal application of contrast stitching.
A base 2022 Volkswagen Taos S came with 17-inch wheels, LED headlights, cloth upholstery, and a 6.5-inch central display with Apple and Android integration. In 2024, that model now includes rain-sensing windshield wipers and IQ.DRIVE, which consists of forward collision mitigation, a lane-keeping system, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and adaptive cruise control.
In SE trim, the 2022 Taos included 18-inch wheels, heated side mirrors, CloudTex upholstery, heated front seats, a larger central screen, and a wireless phone charging pad along with forward collision mitigation, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. The 2024 Taos SE makes dual-zone automatic climate control standard and offers an SE Black appearance package.
Top-spec Taos SEL grades featured an illuminated front grille bar, adaptive headlights, leather seating, ambient cabin lighting, automatic high beams, dual-zone automatic climate control, an 8-speaker Beats audio system, navigation, and the full complement of IQ.DRIVE systems in 2022. Buying a 2024 SEL brings all that plus a standard panoramic moonroof.
You can go deeper into these trim-level details with our recent review of the Taos here.
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So, what’s a person to do in this scenario, buy a new 2024 Volkswagen Taos or a lightly used 2022 model? As with so many things, much of this debate comes down to price. And in this case, we recommend a used 2022 Volkswagen Taos.
The four-year warranty, complementary maintenance, and standard IQ.DRIVE aren’t enough to justify the extra cash required to go new, which can be as much as $10,000 versus a comparably equipped used 2022 Taos. Should you decide a 2024 Volkswagen Taos is for you, be sure to read up on the latest new car incentives to stretch your budget as far as you can.