Volkswagen Taos – the same crossover Skoda Karoq or better?
Such a hard official test-drive in my practice has not yet been. Dozens of kilometers on rutted stony roads, which would be hard on even serious off-roaders. And here – a crossover B-class, new Volkswagen Taos. It is interesting to know in what state it has reached the end of the Kabardino-Balkarian route? And how is the Taos different from the Karok?
The fact that Volkswagen’s Russian crossover lineup lacks a budget model has been talked about for a long time. And with hope. on the Chinese market. That’s where the Volkswagen Tharu, built on the MQB A1 platform, came on the assembly line in 2018. At the end of 2020, essentially the same car, but with a different body shell and under the name Taos began to be produced in America, at plants in Mexico and Argentina. By the way, the name of the model is due to the Indian tribe that lived on the territory of the current state of New Mexico, on the map of which there is now both the district and the city of Taos.
However, the Russian Taos and the states Taos are two big differences. The Russian Taos has a wheelbase and therefore the total length of the body is five centimeters less. Under the hood instead of turbocharged 1.5 TSI Evo is the same engine as in Karok – atmospheric 1.6 (110 hp) coupled with five-speed manual or 150 hp turbo 1.4 TSI with eight-speed automatic front-wheel drive or seven-speed DSG. It is understandable – Taos is assembled at the same Nizhny Novgorod plant as the Karoq, and unification promises Volkswagen the maximum economy.
Under the hood, the well-known 1.4 TSI engine (150 hp) paired with the new DQ381 robotized gearbox, which will replace the DQ250 under the hood of the Karoq
But externally the Taos is much more interesting than the Skoda – due to the high hood line and the extensive, almost vertical grille. Especially in the top version Exclusive – with a spectacular LED bar from headlight to headlight. Which, by the way, are already in base – LED, reflector, and for extra charge – rotating lenses iQ.Light. I will not say anything about base lenses, but iQ.Light on the mountain roads of Elbrus. Driving beam is ok, but I didn’t like the dipped beam: the bright beam, despite the fact that it turns after the steering wheel, has a sharp border about fifteen meters in front of the car, and further a “black hole” with the barely lit roadside. Already at the speed of 50 km/h you drive apprehensively.
I got all-wheel drive Taos 1.4 TSI in a special complete set Joy and in the most showy of seven possible colors of the body – orange Energetic. Inside the interior the “orange mood” is supported by the plaque in all width of the forward panel and slats on doors. Alas, everything is made of firm plastic. Soft materials are enough only for trimming of forward door panels and the central armrest – adjustable by height and reach. It is in base. As well as an air conditioner, multifunction leather upholstered and heated steering wheel, electrically adjustable mirrors, six airbags, cruise control and audio system with 6,5 inch color display. And for all this – 1,627,000 roubles, which is not bad for today’s times.
But I’m sure that most buyers will go into debt or take out a loan just to get Taos in a more attractive package for 2-2.2 million rubles. With a turbo engine, dual-zone climate control, heated windshield, combined upholstery of the seats, and a ten-inch VW Play multimedia system.
The scales of virtual instruments change color with the atmospheric interior lighting.
While the menu is loaded only three applications – Waze, Yandex.Navigator and Radio (digital), but the list of services will be expanded. The interface is fast and clear – the use of navigation, music or other services complicates only the small print. The only things missing are wireless charging for the phone, glove compartment cooling and eyewash. The last one is on the ceiling console as a plug.
VW Play multimedia is a ten-inch display with very decent graphics and an app store with Yandex.Navigator. I wish the font in the menu was bigger.
It’s over thirty outside, but the climate control system works effectively. It is even possible, having gone deep into the menu, to set three options of blowing intensity in mode Auto. One bad thing is that it is possible to reduce blowing from a concrete nozzle only having turned aside the shutters. Uncomfortable! I tell it as the owner of the first Tiguan with a perfect scheme of dual deflectors.
Deflectors are budget – without separate adjustment of blowing intensity
The inventory in the back has revealed one “lack” in the form of a hook for packages (there are two in Karoka) and a scraper on a gas tank hatch – it seems that Skoda has not given its consent for a full-fledged Simply Clever. Technically, the main difference from Skoda, which became the car of the year according to Autoreview, is the seven-speed gearbox DQ381 on all-wheel drive Taos, which will replace six-speed DQ250 on Karoke. This “robot” also has wet clutch, but is designed for more torque (420 Nm vs. 350 Nm with DQ250) and increased service intervals – oil change is recommended after 120 000 km vs. 60 000 km with DQ250.
The front seats are well profiled and instead of leatherette they have fabric with faux suede inserts.
But I don’t remember that robotized Karoq strained so much the reactions on a gas pedal. You slow down before a hole and press the gas, and Taos doesn’t hurry up to accelerate. All gear changes are soft and smooth. Passengers are fine, but I have a steady feeling of lack of power – I had to drive in sport mode almost all the time. It is amusing that during start from two pedals, as during dynamics measuring on the range, “launch control” appears on the display of devices – but four-wheel drive Taos still starts smoothly.
It is uncomfortable on hills: you push the gas pedal to three quarters, and the car hardly crawls, as if there was a variator. The off-road mode does not add activity. As a result it was more convenient to drive up a stony road in Adyr-Su gorge; again it was comfortable to drive in Sport mode.
Four-wheel drive versions are completed with a selection puck of “Drive Mode” modes, from which “Sport” turned out to be the most functional.
I got into front-wheel drive Taos with “automatic” and relaxed. In fact, it is perceived more lively and dynamical just due to more active responses on gas and more quick change of gears. Also as per running smoothness the front-wheel drive is preferable: a little bit softer passes small irregularities on the tires with the same dimensions of 215/55 R17. Here Volkswagen is true to tradition: heavier versions (all-wheel drive is 113 kg heavier than front-wheel drive according to the passport) receive stiffer springs
Suspension is comfortable on asphalt roads, but stony dirt roads are not its element
However, in general the suspensions of both modifications are adjusted well for our roads. Usual asphalted or smooth unpaved roads. But not those we had to drive in Kabardino-Balkaria. After climbing in Adyr-Su gorge on Russia’s only mountain car elevator, I had to cover 12 km by the stony ground to the mountaineers’ camp. And the next day we had to drive more than 60 km over the passes! I am surprised that my colleagues had torn tires on only one of their cars. On my Taos, towards the end of the route, under the hood I heard knocks similar to those of the engine mounts. No wonder – even a well-assembled crossover on such a vibration test can give weakness.
A couple of months ago a car fell down from this auto-funiculator in Adyr-Su gorge, the lady at the wheel was killed. Now both the passengers and the driver have to climb a ladder up 360 steps.
But in other respects Taos has stood firm. We had no questions to the engine – though the temperature of oil sometimes rose up to 120 degrees. The body is rigid – at diagonal lifting the fifth door opens easily, and at the end of test drive there are no crickets in the interior. Well, all my praises, which I sang to Karok, can be addressed to Taos concerning drivability: schemes of suspensions, shock absorbers, springs of identical modifications are one and the same. Behind, we should remind, front-wheel drive cars have twisting beam, and four-wheel drive – independent multilever that, however, influences on steerability a little.
Oil temperature can be shown on the central display – it reached 120°С on prolonged ascents!
So whom to choose? If Volkswagen is preferable by design, in my subjective opinion, the list of options pushes to a choice of Skoda: in the Taos price list there are only three versions which cost less than two million rubles, and Skoda offers as much as nine. And among them there is a modification with an atmospheric engine 1.6 and six-gear “automatic” which Volkswagen is deprived of yet. But is it really necessary? In fact, in the case of the Skoda economy, compared to the “automatic” version 1.4 TSI, is only 53 thousand rubles.
The trunk – with pleasant upholstery and practical accessories. The electric tailgate is available for an additional 25,000 rubles.
But many people will want to save 300-400 thousand when buying a crossover of the German brand. Yes, yes, I mean the Tiguan. After all, Skoda buyers price policy is already forcing them to choose Karoq more often than the larger Kodiaq. And the Taos will probably “bite off” a good portion of customers from Hyundai dealers, who are now jacking up prices on the new Kreta. Dealers of Volkswagen brand can not afford such outrage – in fact with a big markup the client will just buy a Karoq, which has now ceased to be a scarce commodity.
Very soon we shall know how an all-wheel drive Taos with preselective DQ381 behaves on roads of the proving ground and how much it will lag behind from passport 8,9 seconds up to a “hundred”. I personally have no doubts that the lag will be appreciable.
Volkswagen Taos engine: description and comparison
The new crossover Taos from Volkswagen is a very interesting proposal for today, the model quickly attracted the attention of Russian motorists. The heart of any car can be called its engine.
Therefore, let us pay special attention to what engines are put in the Volkswagen Taos today for the Russian market. Let’s consider the resource, consumption and other parameters to understand which is better to choose Taos for a comfortable and dynamic ride.
Today, the German brand offers two variants of gasoline engines, their volume of 1.4 and 1.6 liters:
- CWAA motor (MPI 1.6 liter) ;
- Turbo engine DJKA (TSI 1.4 liter) .
More information about which engines are with which gearboxes and configurations can be found in the table.
|Respect||MPI 1.6L/5MT||MPI 1.6L/6AT||TSI 1.4L (4motion)/7AT|
|Status||MPI 1.6L/6AT||TSI 1.4l/8AT||TSI 1.4L (4motion)/7AT|
|Joy||MPI 1.6L/6AT||TSI 1.4l/8AT||TSI 1.4L (4motion)/7AT|
|Exclusive||TSI 1.4l/8AT||TSI 1.4L (4motion)/7AT||—|
Reliable motor which we could already see in the Volkswagen Golf, Jetta, Caddy, Polo, as well as in Skoda Oktavia, Rapid, Yeti and in some models of Seat. The motor has passed the test of time and does not cause any special questions during use.
Of course, without “BUT” did not do, which is only one and immediately strikes the eye is the power of the motor in 110 forces, given that the car is a crossover, albeit small, but still not super light, hardly an atmospheric motor is best for most users Taos.
The motor has 1.6-liter displacement, DOHC drive, distributed injection, and 110 horsepower. A detailed description can be found in the table below.
|Torque (max)||152 Nm (at 4,100 rpm)|
|Piston stroke||86.9 mm|
|Cylinder D||76.5 mm|
|Revolving cylinder displacement device||No|
|Number of valves||6 (4 per cylinder)|
|City Consumption||5.9 liters per hundredth|
|Freeway consumption||7.3 liters per hundredth|
Other parameters and features CWAA:
- The cylinder head has an integrated exhaust manifold;
- The cooling system pump and thermostat housing are integrated;
- the cooling system pump is driven from the exhaust valve camshaft by a timing belt;
- camshaft housing is of modular design;
- inlet valve timing adjustment;
- timing belt (toothed) drive.
The engine has a very similar construction to the turbo engines, and it seems that originally it was supposed to be exactly turbocharged, but at the last moment it was decided to make it atmospheric.
The thermostat gasket often leaks, there are oil leaks near the timing gears. However even so the engines easily run 250 and more thousand kilometers without any problems.
Turbo engine DJKA
Turbo engine DJKA
In this case, the power is enough, the engine is packed with 150 horsepower. The same motor can be found in the Skoda Karok. The motor is not as thoroughly time-tested as the atmospheric version, but serious complaints do not arise.
Turbo motor DJKA on the Volkswagen Taos
Its parameters are given in the table.
|Torque (max)||250 Nm (at 3000 rpm)|
|Piston stroke||80 mm|
|Cylinder D||74.5 mm|
|Number of valves||6 (4 per cylinder)|
|City Consumption||5.7 liters per hundredth|
|Freeway consumption||8 liters per hundredth|
- timing belt drive (toothed);
- aluminum cylinder head;
- cylinder head with integrated exhaust manifold (intercooler is built into the manifold);
- The cooling system pump and thermostat housing are integrated;
- controllable oil pump;
- turbocharger is bolted to the cylinder head (bolts), cooled with both oil and fluid.
There are problems related to turbine errors. Naturally, there are a lot of one-time cases with serious failures. However, the engine does not have any typical global problems, if we start from the experience of users, and the mileage of these engines is still small.
Conclusion: What is the best motor for Taos?
It is impossible to answer unequivocally. For the majority of users it will be optimum to take a turbo engine, all the same 150 forces it is quite normal for a crossover, against 110 which will hardly satisfy someone in general. Moreover, full drive, which many people need, is offered only with turbo-engine. It is important that the consumption of motors is approximately the same.
Relevance of the atmospheric is very doubtful, unless it will suit those who is afraid to get a more complex engine and is ready to sacrifice dynamics essentially. And the new tendencies (for example, the developed standard Euro 7) say that the atmospheric engines become a thing of the past.