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2023 Volkswagen Taos Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons.

2023 Volkswagen Taos Trim Levels, Configurations & Comparisons: S vs SE and SEL

What 2023 Volkswagen Taos Trim Should You Buy? What is the Difference Between Trims?

The 2023 Volkswagen Taos is one of the most impressive small SUVs sold in America. Not only is the new model affordably priced, but it’s also packed with the features that today’s drivers desire the most. More advanced safety technologies now come standard, thus adding to the vehicle’s value.

In terms of performance, the Taos is engineered to be a practical daily driver. However, many people will like its playful handling. An available all-wheel-drive package also enables outdoor enthusiasts to have some fun.

Despite its subcompact size, the Taos provides nearly 38 inches of rear legroom. This is good news for drivers who need an accommodating family hauler. A fuel-efficient design and good cargo space also make the crossover a fine choice for travelers. VW’s current Taos lineup gives prospective buyers a total of three trim levels to pick from. Here’s a rundown of how these trims differ.

 

Compare Taos S vs SE Trims. What is the difference?

With an estimated MSRP of less than $25,000, the Taos S is the lineup’s most economical option. However, it looks and feels like a more premium model. While the S trim comes loaded with ample equipment right out of the box, there are a few notable options to consider.

Every new Taos comes equipped with the same turbo engine. It develops just shy of 160 horsepower and more than 180 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed auto transmission makes sure none of the available power goes to waste. Road tests show the Taos can accelerate to 60 mph in as swiftly as 7.6 seconds, which means drivers won’t have trouble merging onto the highway.

VW’s 4Motion AWD package is a popular option. When road conditions turn slick, drivers will appreciate this system’s ability to enhance traction. While the snow mode is perfect for tackling wintry weather, off-road modes enable adventure-seeking families to hit the trails. The AWD-equipped Taos receives a different transmission as well. VW’s seven-speed DSG transmission is designed to shift faster, thus giving the SUV a sportier character.

Along with the 4MOTION AWD system comes an upgraded, multilink rear suspension. This feature effectively improves the SUV’s handling. When driving down a steep grade, hill-descent control gives drivers an extra degree of security. Cold-weather goodies, such as heated front seats and heated side mirrors, also come with the package. Located in the cargo area is an extra 12-volt power outlet.

The Taos is quite efficient for a non-hybrid SUV. Front-wheel-drive versions are estimated to return 28 mpg in town and 36 mpg on the highway. However, some owners have reported getting up to 40 mpg during real-world driving. Choosing VW’s 4MOTION AWD system lowers the fuel economy rating to 25 mpg town/32 mpg freeway. Regular gasoline is the engine’s preferred fuel.

Because of the S trim’s stylish exterior, many people may confuse it with one of the higher trim levels. Drivers don’t have to pay extra for LED headlights and LED taillights. Roof rails are standard as well. While an attractive set of 17-inch wheels come standard, opting for all-wheel drive brings larger 18-inch wheels. The S trim has five exterior color options: Pyrite Silver Metallic, Dusk Blue Metallic, Deep Black Pearl, Platinum Gray Metallic, and Pure White.

To curb costs, VW equips the S trim with manual front seats and manual air conditioning. A big convenience is the SUV’s multifunction steering wheel, which features tilt and telescopic adjustments. Keyless access with push-button start is another helpful feature. Other standard equipment include cloth seating surfaces and a 60/40-split folding rear seat.

VW’s standard infotainment setup provides a 6.5-inch touchscreen, which is smaller than average. However, this system performs well. App-Connect enables users to integrate their smartphone by simply plugging in a cord. Every passenger can tap into the internet using the SUV’s built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. Bluetooth connectivity, two USB ports, a backup camera, and a four-speaker stereo system are also included.

Instead of a traditional analog instrument cluster, the Taos S receives a Digital Cockpit. It features an 8.0-inch screen that displays the gauges and other key driving info. Meanwhile, VW’s Car-Net services app gives drivers remote access to the SUV. They can remotely start the engine, summon roadside assistance, set restrictions for teen drivers, and more.

In the event that a crash is serious enough to cause the airbags to deploy, an Intelligent Crash Response System will give passengers an extra blanket of protection. The system automatically turns on the emergency flashers, shuts off the fuel system, and unlocks the doors for easier exiting. By helping to slow down the vehicle, automatic post-collision braking helps prevent secondary impacts. A tire-pressure monitor is also standard.

This year, Volkswagen outfits the Taos S with extra standard safety technologies. When attempting to switch lanes or back out of a parking space, the newly added blind-spot monitor will warn drivers of oncoming vehicles. Meanwhile, VW’s Front Assist system with pedestrian warning can automatically engage the brakes with encountering unexpected danger.

Buyers who are willing to invest more money can further enhance safety by opting for the automaker’s IQ.Drive package. It equips the Taos with a few more intelligent safety features. The package’s more advanced Active Blind Spot Monitor can actually steer you out of the path of an approaching vehicle. Meanwhile, adaptive cruise control helps drivers to better deal with highway traffic.

Travel Assist is also part of the package. This lane-centering technology provides steering support, thus further reducing driving fatigue. Another valuable feature is Emergency Assist. If the driver happens to fall asleep or become unresponsive while at the wheel, the system can safely bring the vehicle to a halt and activate the hazard lights.

A Convenience Package is now bundled together with the IQ.Drive package. When the weather is freezing cold, it boosts comfort by adding a heated steering wheel. Rain-detecting wipers and automatic high beams are also included.

Drivers who are not quite content with the entry-level Taos S can step up to the SE trim. It brings more standard amenities and unlocks an additional number of exterior color options. Prices for the mid-level Taos SE start at an estimated $28,300 before tacking on any optional equipment.

When comparing the S trim to the SE trim, prospective buyers will notice a few exterior differences. Even the front-wheel-drive Taos SE receives standard 18-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires. Silver roof rails also help give this trim a unique touch. Heated side mirrors come standard. More colors are available, including Cornflower Blue with a contrasting black roof and Kings Red Metallic. If desired, buyers can outfit the Taos SE with optional 18-inch black wheels.

Upon moving up to the SE trim, the IQ.Drive Package and Convenience Package become standard equipment. VW also switches to a larger 8.0-inch infotainment screen with upgraded features. While voice-control technology enables users to speak commands, wireless App-Connect makes integrating your smartphone even less of a hassle. Other upgraded tech features include a six-speaker stereo with satellite radio, a wireless charger, and a rear USB port.

To give the SE trim’s cabin a more quality feel, VW upgrades to CloudTex seating surfaces. An eight-way power seat with lumbar control is provided for the driver. Proximity keyless entry, a remote starter, and front-seating heating modes also help make this trim worth the extra money. While a panoramic sunroof is available, buyers must purchase it separately as an option.

Compare the Taos SE vs SEL Trim Levels. What is the difference?

Atop the lineup sits the Taos SEL, which has a starting MSRP of more than $34,500. It’s loaded with premium features that aren’t offered on the lower trim levels. While the SEL trim packs the same amount of horsepower, VW’s 4MOTION AWD package comes standard.

To spruce up the SUV’s exterior appearance, Volkswagen adds exclusive 19-inch alloy wheels with a two-tone finish. A light bar is also built into the front grille. When driving around at night, the Taos SEL’s adaptive projector LED headlamps and cornering fog lights swivel to promote better visibility.

The Taos SEL’s leather seating surfaces definitely elevate the cabin’s luxuriousness. Heated and ventilated front sport seats further set apart this top-of-the-line trim. Other notable creature comforts include dual-zone temperature control, a panoramic sunroof, and multicolor ambient interior lightning.

A big highlight is the SEL trim’s upgraded Digital Cockpit Pro gauge cluster. It features a larger 10.25-inch HD screen with customizable settings. When drivers decide to take a road trip, they can prompt the system to display navigation maps.

This trim offers the best music-listening experience. It comes standard with a more powerful BeatsAudio premium sound system. This eight-speaker unit’s rear subwoofer enables you to enjoy harder-hitting bass.

A few more driver-assist safety technologies are found on the SEL trim. While rear parking sensors help drivers to stay clear of obstacles, Dynamic Road Sign Display keeps you aware of the speed limit and other important traffic signs. An auto-dimming rearview mirror also comes standard.

 

Final Thoughts

The entry-level Taos S is a solid pick. Despite having the lineup’s lowest MSRP, it doesn’t cause buyers to make any big compromises. A few of the notable standard features include an 8.0-inch Digital Cockpit gauge cluster, App-Connect smartphone integration, and keyless access with push-button start. Technologies, such as a blind-spot monitor and auto emergency braking with pedestrian warning, also help promote safe driving.

One of the S trim’s most popular options is VW’s 4MOTION AWD package. It transforms the Taos into a better vehicle for taking adventurous journeys. Remember, along with the AWD system comes a sportier DSG transmission and an upgraded multilink rear suspension.

Although the mid-level SE trim demands more money, some people will desire its upgraded features. A nicer infotainment system, CloudTex seating surfaces, and VW’s IQ.Drive collection of advanced safety technologies come standard.

Folks who desire the most luxurious drive will want the more expensive SEL trim. It certainly comes loaded with a number of high-end upgrades. This is also the only trim that receives a 4Motion AWD system as standard equipment. The biggest downside is that the AWD system does bring down the SUV’s fuel economy rating. Nevertheless, efficiency will still be good enough for most travelers.

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2022 Volkswagen Taos Trim Levels