2022 Kia Seltos vs 2022 Volkswagen Taos
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2022 Kia Seltos vs 2022 Volkswagen Taos

Kia’s subcompact and stylish Seltos SX or VW’s more premium Taos Highline? Each are new models offering its own benefits at different price-points, but which small SUV is right for you?

The average transaction price for new cars continues to rise. This isn’t surprising news since the cost of most things goes up over time, but while automotive costs have risen relatively slowly and steadily, the advancements seen in modern cars is astonishing, arguably making contemporary cars a better value than ever before. Progress in safety, technology and refinement show up with every new model that hits the market, and consumers are the beneficiaries of it all.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the increasingly popular subcompact SUV segment that’s growing not only in the number of choices available, but also the performance, capabilities and luxury offered despite being ‘entry level’ machines.

There’s been a lot of buzz around Kia’s Seltos as it delivers a lot of what consumers want at a reasonable price point, and for 2022, Volkswagen’s new Taos which we reviewed here looks poised to steal some of that excitement. Here’s how they stack up against each other.


  • Our Pick: VW Taos
  • Why we like it: Sharp edges, wide stance and big wheels make it look like a 5/8 scale Atlas

2022 Volkswagen Taos | Photo: VW 

Several years ago, Kia brought in some of the top car designers from around the world. Since then the entire line up has been transformed into one of the most beautiful automotive families available today. 

Kia’s Seltos is a handsome little rig with decent proportions and, in top SX spec, plenty of chrome accents. There’s an awkwardness in the front end of the Seltos, with a gap beneath the grille, and an unusual treatment to the headlight shape.

2022 Kia Seltos | Photo: Kia 

Comparatively, as a shrunken-down version of its Atlas sibling, the Taos looks more purposeful and mature, especially rolling on its optional 19-inch wheels. There are a number of sharp horizontal creases stamped into the profile of the Taos that reduce the stumpiness most subcompact SUVs suffer. It’s a handsome, cohesive machine from stem to stern.


  • Our Pick: VW Taos
  • Why we like it: Better technology and a brighter cabin make the Taos a nicer place to be

2022 Kia Seltos interior vs 2022 Volkswagen Taos interior | Photo: Kia, VW 

Loaded up with high performance sound systems, on-board navigation and colourful leather seats speaks to the top-of-the-line trims for each of our test units, but the addition of heated steering wheels, plus heated and cooled seats is a truly decadent touch in both SUVs.

There’s abundant front seat space in both, and while the leg room is similar in the rear seats of both SUVs, the Kia’s rear seat feels darker and offers less headroom thanks in part to the intrusion of its sunroof.

The Taos offers an all-digital gauge display that’s configurable to prioritize the information the driver wants, and Volkswagen’s large touchscreen infotainment system offers bright and crisp graphics and intuitive operation. 

Wireless integration and rear seat climate control in the Taos

While both systems enable Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, only the Taos provides wireless integration. The Taos also offers multi-zone climate control and rear seat climate controls, both of which are absent in the Seltos

The Seltos and Taos offer more than 750 L of cargo space behind the rear seats, a wholly decent amount within the subcompact class. Fold the rear seats flat and the Volkswagen’s cargo hold swells to 1,866 L, which is notably larger than the Seltos at 1,778 L, as well as most everything else in the class.


  • Our Pick: Kia Seltos
  • Why we like it: The Seltos offers more power without a fuel consumption penalty

The Seltos is available with a normally-aspirated 4-cylinder or the turbocharged 1.6-litre version found in our tester. The latter puts out 175 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque, both of which are considerably better than the 158 hp and 184 lb-ft mustered by Volkswagen’s 1.5 L, turbo-4 found in the Taos.

2022 Kia Seltos | Photo: Kia 

Seltos offers respectable towing abilities for a small crossover

Around town, the VW’s power deficit isn’t noticeable, but when accelerating at highway speeds, the Kia simply has more oomph for passing. What’s more, the Kia is rated to tow 680 kg (1,500 lbs), whereas Volkswagen doesn’t recommend towing with the Taos at all.

While typically reserved for performance car application, both the Taos and Seltos direct the power to all four wheels via a dual-clutch transmission (DCT). When asked for speedy shifts during spirited driving, the Volkswagen’s gearbox responds with precision and immediacy. 

The Kia’s gearbox, on the other hand, is slower to react and often seems reluctant to downshift when called upon. At parking lot speeds, the Seltos shudders a bit as the clutches slip, making it tricky to drive it smoothly.

2022 Volkswagen Taos | Photo: VW 

Taos is sportier but expect a harsher ride

The Volkswagen also offers sportier handling, but at the cost of a harsher ride than the Kia’s, and to be fair, the Seltos is a fine handling machine for a small SUV in its own right, offering good grip and composure, even when driven hard.

Fuel efficiency is decent and essentially a draw between these two, each requiring only regular unleaded and fitted with a 50-litre fuel tank, meaning range is similar, too.

Verdict & Specs

It’s a tough choice between these two, and smart consumers will do well to cross-shop both the Seltos and the Taos, but our preference is for the Volkswagen. It should be noted that the Taos Highline does cost a few thousand dollars more than the Seltos SX, but that higher cost of admission gets a buyer more technology and features, plus an airier cabin, giving the VW a premium car feel despite its attainable price.

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Specs: 2022 Kia Seltos vs 2022 Volkswagen Taos 


2022 Kia Seltos SX

2022 Volkswagen Taos Highline 

Base Price




1.6L turbocharged I4

1.5L turbocharged I4


7-speed dual-clutch automatic

7-speed dual-clutch automatic




Peak Horsepower

175 hp

158 hp

Peak Torque

195 lb-ft

184 lb-ft

Fuel Economy

9.4/ 7.9/ 8.7 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb

9.5/ 7.4 / 8.5 L/100 km cty/hwy/cmb

Cargo Space Seats Up / Down

752 / 1,778 L

790 / 1,866 L

Towing Capacity

680 kg

Not recommended

Standard wheel size



Basic Warranty (months/km)

60 / 100,000

48 / 80,000

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