Small SUV Decisions: VW Taos vs. Chevy Trailblazer

The compact SUV segment is hot right now and manufacturers are scrambling to meet the market’s needs. The Volkswagen Taos and the Chevy Trailblazer are both new to the market, the Taos in 2022 and the Trailblazer in 2021, and both offer a lot of utility in their small packages. They’re fuel-efficient, all-wheel drive, five-seat SUVs that get stellar fuel economy. But, in a VW Taos vs. Chevy Trailblazer showdown, which is the one to buy?

The VW Taos is comparable to the Chevy Trailblazer

A 2022 Taos in blue near mountains on the dirt.
2022 VW Taos | VW

If you’re looking for a compact SUV, the VW Taos vs. Chevy Trailblazer decision is likely one you’d make. The two compact SUVs have a lot in common and are hot sellers. The Taos is VW’s smallest SUV while the Trailblazer is a bit larger than the Trax. The Taos and Trailblazer both seat five, and they’re both roomy. The Trailblazer holds 54.4 cubic feet of stuff with the rear seats down, and 25.3 behind the rear seats. The VW Taos is a bit bigger, and it holds 27.9 cu ft of luggage space behind the second-row seats and 65.9 cu ft with the second row folded down. 

The Trailblazer and Taos can both get all-wheel drive

A few 2022 Chevy Trailblazer models parked next to one another. Choosing the best trim is easy with the LT model.
2022 Chevy Trailblazer | Chevrolet

You can add all-wheel drive to the Taos for $1,450. AWD adds a multilink rear suspension for a smoother ride, too, while front-drive Taoses get a solid axle. On the Trailblazer, all-wheel drive is a $1,500 option. But, you can only order all-wheel drive with the optional larger motor, which is also an extra $345. All wheel drive would be nice to have if you drove your Taos to snowy Taos, N.M.

The Trailblazer will pass fewer gas stations on the highway

Dashboard and front seats in 2023 Volkswagen Taos, highlighing its release date and price
2023 VW Taos | Volkswagen

The Trailblazer gets 28 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway with it’s 1.2-liter three-cylinder and 29 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway with its optional 1.3-liter engine. You do pay a mileage penalty for all-wheel drive.

The VW Taos gets 32 mpg on the highway, and 25 in the city from its 158-horespower turbocharged four-cylinder. However, the engines in the Trailblazer are less powerful. The standard engine makes 137 horsepower, while the optional 1.3-liter makes 155.

The VW Taos vs. Chevy Trailblazer decision may come to technology

The VW offers IQ.DRIVE which offers a slate of driving aids and more. It has many of the features you’d expect, like rear traffic alert and adaptive cruise control, but also the travel assist feature that adds semi-autonomous driving features like automatic speeding up or slowing down when you need it.

The Trailblazer, however, gets Chevy’s Safety Assist that has automatic braking and lane keep assist, but no advanced features like other Chevy’s with Super Cruise get.  Consumer Reports recommends the Trailblazer, but not the Taos.

They are both inexpensive

The VW Taos vs. Chevy Trailblazer decision, however, may come down to price. Both are inexpensive, but the Trailblazer’s MSRP starts lower at $21,600. You’ll probably want to step up to LT package, however, which includes a lot of the standard features most buyers want, for $25,195. The top-level RS is $27,095. The Taos starts at $23,495 but includes that more-powerful engine. Stepping up to the SE will cost $27,895, while the SEL is $32,090 and includes a digital cockpit and leather seats.

RELATED: The 4 Cheapest American SUVs for 2023