In the ever-growing compact SUV segment, the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek and Volkswagen Taos stand out as strong contenders. Both vehicles showcase a host of impressive features that cater to a wide range of drivers, and deciding between the two can be a challenge.
In this comprehensive comparison, we will examine each model in-depth, exploring their strengths and weaknesses to help you determine which compact SUV is the perfect fit for your needs and lifestyle.
The 2023 Subaru Crosstrek features a rugged yet refined design, characterized by its prominent wheel arches, high ground clearance, and sleek body lines. The Crosstrek’s bold front fascia, which includes the signature Subaru hexagonal grille and distinctive hawk-eye headlights, further enhances its aggressive stance. Available exterior features such as LED fog lights and 18-inch alloy wheels add an extra touch of sophistication.
The 2023 Volkswagen Taos sports a sleek and modern design, with sharp creases and clean lines that give it a contemporary appearance. The front end features a wide, prominent grille flanked by LED headlights, while the sculpted side profile and dynamic rear design create a cohesive look. Optional features such as a panoramic sunroof and 19-inch alloy wheels provide an additional touch of class.
The interior of the Subaru Crosstrek combines practicality with comfort. Soft-touch materials and high-quality plastics are employed throughout the cabin, while the dashboard features a clean, uncluttered design. Standard equipment includes a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, as well as automatic climate control and a rearview camera.
The Volkswagen Taos offers a spacious and well-appointed interior, with high-quality materials and soft-touch surfaces throughout. The dashboard features a modern design, incorporating an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. Other standard features include a digital instrument cluster, USB ports, and ambient lighting.
The Crosstrek provides comfortable seating for up to five passengers, with ample headroom and legroom in both the front and rear rows. The seats are supportive and well-cushioned, making them suitable for long drives. Premium trims offer additional features such as heated front seats, leather upholstery, and a power-adjustable driver’s seat.
The Taos also seats up to five passengers, with generous space in both rows. The seats are comfortable and supportive, with a good range of adjustability. Optional features include leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, and ventilated front seats.
The Crosstrek boasts an impressive 20.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, which expands to 55.3 cubic feet when the 60/40-split rear seats are folded down. Additionally, the Crosstrek offers numerous storage compartments and cup holders throughout the cabin for added convenience.
The Taos offers slightly more cargo space than the Crosstrek, with 24.9 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 65.9 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. The Taos also features several clever storage solutions throughout the cabin, including door pockets, a spacious glovebox, and a sizable center console.
The Crosstrek comes standard with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine producing 152 horsepower and 145 lb-ft of torque. This engine is paired with a six-speed manual transmission or an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT).
For those seeking more power, Subaru offers a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 182 horsepower and 176 lb-ft of torque in higher trims, exclusively paired with the CVT. The Crosstrek is equipped with standard all-wheel drive, which provides excellent traction and handling in various driving conditions.
The Volkswagen Taos features a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, producing 158 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. Front-wheel-drive models come with an eight-speed automatic transmission, while all-wheel-drive models are equipped with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
While the Taos does not offer the same all-wheel-drive capability as standard like the Crosstrek, it does deliver a smooth and refined driving experience.
The base engine in the 2023 Crosstrek offers an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway with the manual transmission, and 28 mpg city and 33 mpg highway with the CVT. The more powerful 2.5-liter engine provides similar efficiency, achieving an estimated 27 mpg city and 34 mpg highway.
The 2023 Taos delivers impressive fuel efficiency, with front-wheel-drive models achieving an EPA-estimated 28 mpg city and 36 mpg highway. All-wheel-drive models see a slight decrease in fuel economy, with an estimated 25 mpg city and 32 mpg highway.
Subaru’s commitment to safety is evident in the Crosstrek, which comes standard with the EyeSight Driver Assist Technology suite. This includes features such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist, and pre-collision braking. Additional available safety features include blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and reverse automatic braking.
The Volkswagen Taos also offers a comprehensive suite of safety features. Standard equipment includes forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert. Optional safety features include adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and a semi-autonomous parking assist system.
The Crosstrek is available in four trim levels: Base, Premium, Sport, and Limited. Each trim offers different levels of comfort, technology, and performance options, allowing buyers to customize the Crosstrek to their preferences.
The Taos comes in three trim levels: S, SE, and SEL. Each trim level offers a varying degree of features and amenities, providing options for buyers with different budgets and preferences.
The 2023 Subaru Crosstrek starts at an MSRP of $22,245 for the base model, with higher trims such as the Premium, Sport, and Limited priced at $23,295, $26,495, and $29,045, respectively. Pricing may vary depending on additional options and packages selected.
The 2023 Volkswagen Taos has a starting MSRP of $24,190 for the base S trim, with the SE and SEL trims priced at $27,245 and $31,490, respectively. As with the Crosstrek, prices may vary based on optional features and packages.
Standard All-Wheel Drive:
One of the most significant differences between the Crosstrek and Taos is their drivetrain configurations. The Crosstrek comes standard with Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system, providing excellent traction and stability in various driving conditions. In contrast, the Taos offers front-wheel drive as standard, with all-wheel drive available as an option.
Engine and Performance:
The Crosstrek offers two engine options: a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a more powerful 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine. Meanwhile, the Taos comes with a single engine option, a 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. While the Taos provides a smooth and refined driving experience, the Crosstrek’s optional 2.5-liter engine delivers more power and is better suited for those seeking a sportier performance.
The Volkswagen Taos has a slight edge in fuel efficiency, with front-wheel-drive models achieving an EPA-estimated 28 mpg city and 36 mpg highway. The Subaru Crosstrek, on the other hand, achieves 28 mpg city and 33 mpg highway with its base engine and CVT transmission.
The Taos offers more cargo space than the Crosstrek, with 24.9 cubic feet of storage behind the rear seats, expanding to 65.9 cubic feet when the seats are folded down. The Crosstrek provides 20.8 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 55.3 cubic feet with the seats folded.
Trim Levels and Pricing:
The Crosstrek is available in four trim levels (Base, Premium, Sport, and Limited), while the Taos comes in three (S, SE, and SEL). The starting price for the base Crosstrek is slightly lower than the base Taos, with an MSRP of $22,245 compared to the Taos’ $24,190.
The Subaru Crosstrek is better suited for off-road adventures, thanks to its standard all-wheel drive, higher ground clearance, and the availability of the off-road-oriented Sport trim, which features Subaru’s dual-function X-MODE system. While the Taos offers available all-wheel drive, it is not specifically designed with off-roading in mind.
After examining the 2023 Subaru Crosstrek and VW Taos in various aspects, it’s clear that both compact SUVs have a lot to offer. The Crosstrek shines with its standard all-wheel drive, off-road prowess, and sportier engine option, while the Taos boasts superior fuel efficiency, ample cargo space, and a modern interior design.
Ultimately, your choice between these two compelling vehicles will depend on your preferences, priorities, and driving habits. By considering the factors outlined in this comparison, you’ll be well-equipped to make an informed decision and select the compact SUV that best aligns with your needs.
Subaru Crosstrek Features:
- Exterior Design:
- Rugged and refined design
- Prominent wheel arches and high ground clearance
- Signature Subaru hexagonal grille and hawk-eye headlights
- Available LED fog lights and 18-inch alloy wheels
- Interior Design:
- Practical and comfortable cabin
- Soft-touch materials and high-quality plastics
- 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Automatic climate control and rearview camera
- Comfortable seating for up to five passengers
- Ample headroom and legroom in both rows
- Available heated front seats, leather upholstery, and power-adjustable driver’s seat
- 20.8 cubic feet of cargo space behind rear seats (55.3 cubic feet with rear seats folded)
- Numerous storage compartments and cup holders throughout the cabin
- Standard 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine (152 hp, 145 lb-ft torque)
- Optional 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (182 hp, 176 lb-ft torque)
- Six-speed manual transmission or optional CVT
- Standard all-wheel drive
- Fuel Efficiency:
- Base engine: 22/29 mpg city/highway (manual), 28/33 mpg city/highway (CVT)
- 2.5-liter engine: 27/34 mpg city/highway
- Standard EyeSight Driver Assist Technology suite
- Available blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and reverse automatic braking
- Trim Levels:
- Base, Premium, Sport, and Limited
- Starting MSRP of $22,245 (Base)
VW Taos Features:
- Exterior Design:
- Sleek and modern design
- Sharp creases and clean lines
- Wide, prominent grille and LED headlights
- Optional panoramic sunroof and 19-inch alloy wheels
- Interior Design:
- Spacious and well-appointed cabin
- High-quality materials and soft-touch surfaces
- 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
- Digital instrument cluster, USB ports, and ambient lighting
- Comfortable seating for up to five passengers
- Generous headroom and legroom in both rows
- Available leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, and ventilated front seats
- 24.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind rear seats (65.9 cubic feet with rear seats folded)
- Clever storage solutions throughout the cabin
- 1.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine (158 hp, 184 lb-ft torque)
- Eight-speed automatic transmission (FWD) or seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (AWD)
- Available all-wheel drive
- Fuel Efficiency:
- FWD models: 28/36 mpg city/highway
- AWD models: 25/32 mpg city/highway
- Standard forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert
- Optional adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and semi-autonomous parking assist system
- Trim Levels:
- S, SE, and SEL
- Starting MSRP of $24,190 (S)