2022 Ford Escape Vs 2022 Volkswagen Taos
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2022 Ford Escape Vs 2022 Volkswagen Taos

There was a time, not that long ago when compact cars were the best-selling vehicles in the country. By some margin, Canadians opted for a Ford Focus, Honda Civic, Volkswagen Golf, or Hyundai Elantra as their principal mode of transportation.

As the compact car segment continues to lose members, consumers are turning towards small SUVs as their preferred means of mobility. The compact utility vehicle segment is, contrary to cars, growing at an exponential rate with new entries being added on a regular basis. 

One of the latest additions is the Volkswagen Taos. In brief, it replaces the Golf, and its mission is volume. In fact, Volkswagen Canada estimates that it will become the brand’s best-seller before too long, something the Golf would have never achieved. 

The Ford Escape, on the other hand, was among the first small SUVs to enter the Canadian market and it quickly became a hit. To this day, it regularly ranks as one of the top 10 best-selling vehicles in Canada. Also making our list of the ​​10 top fuel-efficient SUVs in Canada.

This comparison pits the new kid on the block in the Volkswagen Taos against the established and appreciated Ford Escape. Despite their “age gap”, they have many points in common. Let’s see how things pan out in this comparison.

Styling: best compact SUV for design

  • Our Pick: Volkswagen Taos
  • Why we like it: It’s chiseled and loaded with personality

Photo: VW 

The Ford Escape started out life as a boxy SUV just over 20 years ago and maintained the style up to 2013 – you can view our used Ford Escapes here. The third-generation Escape swapped out the two-box design for sporty lines, but the current generation lacks visual appeal. It looks timid in most instances unless opting for an upper trim. 

The Volkswagen Taos, on the other hand, is chock-full of personality. The small SUV’s proportions are solid and the body’s got plenty of character lines and creases. Design is an important purchasing consideration, and no matter which Taos trim is selected, all versions are handsome. 

Another stylish new compact SUV on the scene comes from Kia – here’s our full 2022 Kia Seltos vs 2022 Volkswagen Taos comparison.

Cabin: Ford Escape interior falls short to its German competitor

  • Our Pick: Volkswagen Taos
  • Why we like it: Better perceived quality and dashboard layout

2022 Escape and 2022 Taos interiors | Photos: Ford, VW 

Ford interiors, for the most part, are average. Presentation and selected materials generally look inexpensive. On some tested Escape examples, the dashboard featured faux-wood appliques that did little to improve the cabin’s appeal.

Ergonomically speaking however, the Escape’s HVAC and audio controls are straightforward and easy to operate. The same goes for the SYNC infotainment system which works well. 

Once more, it seems clear that Volkswagen put more effort into the design as the Taos’ interior is substantial. The dashboard is more cohesive as the touchscreen display is better integrated into its surroundings. Materials as a whole look to be of better quality without that necessarily being the case. 

Despite the Taos’s lower entry price, its cabin presents as a more premium environment. More attention is paid to surfaces and how various materials come together. 

Interior volume is impressive in both cases. The Taos and the Escape can easily accommodate four adults with plenty of room left over. The second row will generate fewer complaints from three teenagers. 

As well, and in spite of the compact exterior dimensions, the two SUVs deliver generous trunk space. The Escape takes the honours here with just shy of 870 litres. In contrast, the AWD Taos offers a more limited 705 litres of usable space. 

Performance: best 2022 crossover for on-road handling, power, and fuel-economy

  • Our Pick: It’s a tie
  • Why we like it: The Escape Hybrid is extremely efficient while the Taos’ only available engine offers performance and decent fuel mileage. 

Photo: Ford 

It’s difficult to argue with Ford’s multiple powertrain offerings for the Escape. Having said that, the standard and volume-leading turbocharged 1.5L 3-cylinder engine is a miss. It is prone to vibrations both at idle and under load, and despite its size, provides no fuel efficiency advantages. It is impressively torque-rich but even this quality does not offset the noise, vibration, and harshness it suffers from. The 2.0T engine is a powerhouse. It in fact transforms the Escape into something of a sporty sport utility vehicle.

Ford Escape Hybrid (PHEV) clear winner for fuel-efficiency

The hybrid version is by far the most interesting. With or without AWD, fuel savings are tangible, and performance is better than decent. The included eCVT does rob them from the driving experience but it is tolerable. The plug-in hybrid iteration, only offered with FWD, is needlessly more expensive and heavier, but does afford up to 60km of fully-electric range in ideal conditions. If a plug-in hybrid is on your wishlist, here are 10 cheap PHEVs in Canada worth considering.

New VW SUV in compact form offers 2 drivetrain options

Volkswagen’s single-engine offering provides an ideal balance between performance and fuel efficiency. The biggest difference between the FWD and AWD versions is the associated transmissions. Power is sent to the front wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission while, with AWD, the only obtainable transmission is a 7-speed dual-clutch unit. Unfortunately, it is aggravatingly slow to react unless it is set in “S” or sport mode. 

Photo: VW

On the road, both SUVs are pleasant and relatively comfortable. Many might assume the Volkswagen to be sportier via steering response or chassis tune but the fact is that the Ford Escape is also a competent driver. Here’s our full 2021 Escape PHEV review with driving impressions.

For real-world fuel efficiency, the AWD Ford Escape Hybrid will handily and effortlessly return an average of 6.5L/100km. An AWD Volkswagen Taos will require about 2L/100km more. 

Verdict & specs: which small crossover SUV is worth buying?

And so, based exclusively on fuel efficiency, the Escape Hybrid is the winner. However, by nearly all other metrics, the Volkswagen Taos is the more interesting purchase. It presents itself as being more premium and loaded with far more personality. Take a look at our full inventory of used, certified SUVs & crossovers.

Specs: 2022 Ford Escape vs 2022 Volkswagen Taos Comparison 

 

Ford Escape

Volkswagen Taos

Base Price

$29,199

$26,695

Engine

1.5L turbocharged I3

1.5L turbocharged I4

Optional Engine

2.0L turbocharged I4

None 

Optional Engine

2.5L hybrid / 2.5L plug-in hybrid

 

Transmission

8-speed automatic

8-speed automatic

Optional Transmission

eCVT

7-speed dual-clutch automatic (AWD)

Drivetrain

FWD / AWD

FWD / AWD

Maximum Horsepower

250 (2.0T)

158

Maximum Torque

280 (2.0T)

184

Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Combined L/100km)

FWD (1.5T): 8.5/6.8/7.8

AWD (1.5T): 9.0/7.6/8.4

AWD (2.0T): 10.5/7.5/9.2

FWD (Hybrid): 5.4/6.3/5.8

AWD (Hybrid): 5.5/6.4/5.9

PHEV: 2.2 Combined (Le/100 km);

Gasoline Only: 5.8 combined Le/100 km

FWD: 8.4/6.6/7.6

AWD: 9.5/7.4/8.5

Seating Capacity 

5

5

Cargo Space Behind 2nd Row

869.3L

AWD: 705L

FWD: 790L

Towing capacity 

1,587 kg (when properly equipped)

Not Recommended

Basic Warranty

3 years or 60,000 km

4 years or 80,000 km

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