New Upholstery Blossoms

The back seat of Cliff Leppke's 1964 Beetle, a Bahama Blue model that got a return to its original hue.



VW’s 2022 Jetta GLI Driven at Road America; 2022 Tiguan’s Scenic Ride

May 24, 2022 Road America, Elkhart Lake WI:  This year’s Midwest Automotive Media Association’s Spring Rally at fabled Road America, meant facetime with VW’s Jerhon Anderson, track time in the 2022 Jetta GLI and scenic drives via the 2022 Tiguan SEL R-Line.  

Your correspondent fetched the GLI wearing a “T” for track windshield sticker, got into a queue and headed from RA’s paddock to the racetrack’s starting line for a quick spin on a snaky course with hills and off-camber thrills.  The GLI sports a fresh fascia, revised shift lever, revamped interior accents and louder looking tailpipes.  It comes in one trim:  Autobahn.  Anderson says you can pick either a six-speed manual (AKA Joy Stick) or VW’s seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.  The test car had the latter.  MSRP is $33,980.  GLIs, furthermore, benefit from an independent rear suspension.

The GLI, despite its Sport Mode, upshifts too soon, blunting acceleration out of turns.  Paddle shifters let you downshift and hold a lower gear longer, wringing out more oomph from the turbocharged 228-hp mill.  Since the track was cool and wet, careful car control, rather than insane speed and intensive braking for RA’s corners, was necessary.  The Jetta compiled.  Compared with Hyundai’s feisty Elantra N another RA sampler, the Jetta speaks compact luxury sedan better than sports sedan.

VW’s 2022 Tiguan, in contrast, is a compact crossover best suited for hauling you and your gear to the lakes near Elkhart Lake.  All trims come with VW’s Digital Cockpit, a video display/instrument cluster.  The climate-control panel now features touch sensors.  The R-Line’s bottom line is $37,790 if your dealer plays nicely and VW keeps the lid on inflation.  The updated front cabin’s atmosphere seems airy and agreeable.  There’s adequate power for plying the sublime glacial terrain called Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine.  Steering is light but accurate.  



2022 VW Taos SE: An Enchanting Compact Crossover

2022 VW Taos SE:  Enchanting Economy-Size

VW’s Taos is 9.3 inches shorter than our Tiguan, making it just a skosh shorter than Toyota’s RAV4.  The Tao’s people-sitting area, however, is roomier than the RAV4’s. Tao’s cargo bay, alas, is smaller.  Thus, the Taos is a “small” compact with a “big” compact’s interior.

Bigger than Pint Size

It’s a stretch, however, for VW to present its Taos as having the panache of New Mexico’s artsy enclave.  But if one must live in a dot on VW’s atlas (or Atlas), near Hyundai’s Santa Fe and Tucson, why not borrow yet another Southwestern destination nameplate?  It’s certainly less troublesome than Tiny Touareg.

The FWD Taos’ virtues are decent fuel mileage and front/rear seating.  You sit atop suede/mesh swathed thrones with contrasting stitching.  This seems peachy, as there’s plenty of legroom front and rear.  Add a comfortable ride and you’ve got VW’s answer for those seeking a Golf-like wagon.

Inside, the Taos’ plastic-shell dash pad screams cheap.  It’s not a total loss; VW wrapped the heated D-shaped steering wheel in leatherette, covered the A pillars in cloth, hemmed the headliner and lent an upscale click to the dashboard’s switchgear.  VW incorporated the shifter’s lighted quadrant into the shift knob.  The center front armrest is too small and too short for elbow support.  The easy-fold split rear seat with pass through, face vents and USB-C ports.

Press the start button and VW’s 158-hp 1.5-liter turbo EA211 engine lights up.  This alloy-block mill has efficiency tricks:  low-friction cylinder liners, a “B” cycle engine induction scheme and variable-vane turbocharger.  My tester had a sudsy eight-speed automatic transmission.  I saw 37 mpg highway, 29 mpg overall using regular fuel.  The EPA’s numbers:  28-mpg city, 36 highway and 31 combined.

Ride and Handling

VW tuned this rig for comfort.  Ingress and egress are easy.  You’ll notice body roll.  Noise is well suppressed although some road textures intrude.  Steering is light but accurate.

The SE in red-over-black Cloud Tex and cloth interior lists for $28,440.  Add $1,200 for panoramic sunroof, $895 for IQ.Drive with semi-automated driving extras including adaptive cruise control with start/stop, Lane Assist and Active Blind Spot Monitor.  Add $395 for 18-inch black alloy wheels.  The bottom line is $31,325.

The FWD Taos price/equipment proposition is an enigma, though.  It’s like reserving a room at the El Monte Sagrado luxury resort and not getting the whole enchilada.  The view’s great but you must pay extra for full driver-assist peace and tranquility.


The VWCA (Volkswagen Club of America) is a not-for-profit hobby club for owners and enthusiasts of Volkswagen and Audi automobiles. Founded in 1955, the Club has followed the evolution of Volkswagen from the early air-cooled Beetle to the latest models to roll off the assembly line. We are not owned by, affiliated with or sponsored by Volkswagen AG or Volkswagen of America, the Importer. The Club is operated and managed solely by volunteer members who contribute their time and energy in pursuit of our motto, "to help Volkswagen and Audi owners enjoy their cars to the fullest." Read about the club's history.



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