A blue 2022 Volkswagen Taos is shown from the front driving on an open road.

Cool Compact SUVs – Choosing Between the VW Taos and Buick Encore GX

Once upon a time, drivers had very few choices when it came to SUVs. Giant three-row vehicles and boxy off-roaders were common, but drivers who craved a combination of ample cargo room and comfortable passenger accommodations were encouraged to take a look at minivans or station wagons. Mercifully, those days ended with the arrival of new compact SUVs, and modern drivers can compare options like the 2022 Volkswagen Taos vs 2022 Buick Encore GX.

These vehicles combine all of the things drivers are looking for when it comes to a versatile daily driver. They have plenty of power to go the distance on the highway yet are nimble enough to parallel park on city streets. The interior is filled with comfort and convenience features, and the outside is sleek and aerodynamic. That is to say, these vehicles are neither giant nor boxy. They combine the concepts of efficiency, roominess, and safety to create vehicles that anyone would be happy to take a road trip in.

Yet there are certain features of the 2022 Volkswagen Taos and the 2022 Buick Encore GX that make them really stand out for certain drivers. Whether it’s a particular feature you can’t live without or the overall package, many drivers like to carefully compare prospective vehicles. Let’s take a look at the 2022 Taos and the 2022 Encore GX in a side-by-side comparison of compact SUVs.

A blue 2022 Buick Encore GX is shown from the side parked in front of a building.

Driving the 2022 Volkswagen Taos vs the 2022 Buick Encore GX

One of the most enjoyable features of compact SUVs is their overall drivability. With a smaller wheelbase than midsize SUVs, they can take tight turns in stride. But in order to really win points with drivers, these vehicles need to be much more than able to turn well. They also need to be peppy and responsive without sacrificing fuel economy or safety.

Equipped with a 1.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that provides 158 horsepower, the 2022 Taos smoothly accelerates and brakes on command. Drivers can select between the standard front-wheel drive with an 8-speed automatic transmission or all-wheel drive with a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic. Those who select a front-wheel drive model can enjoy an EPA-estimated 28 miles per gallon on the city streets and 36 miles per gallon on the highway.

The all-wheel drive Taos has a few extra goodies included, such as 4MOTION selectable drive modes and the quick-shifting DSG transmission. With the 4MOTION system, drivers can choose between On-Road Mode, Off-Road Mode, Snow Mode, and an Off-Road Custom Mode, which allows you to build your own ideal settings. All-wheel drive models take a slight dip in fuel economy to 25 miles per gallon while in the city and 32 miles per gallon on the highway.

The standard power plant for the front-wheel drive 2022 Buick Encore GX Preferred and Select trims is a 1.2L turbocharged inline-3 that provides 137 horsepower. The EPA estimates that this engine offers 29 miles per gallon in this city and 31 miles per gallon on the highway. A larger 1.3L turbocharged inline-3 is standard on all-wheel drive Encore GX models and is available on the front-wheel drive Select and Essence trims. This engine takes to the streets with 155 horsepower. Surprisingly, the front-wheel drive version of this engine slightly surpasses the smaller engine in fuel economy, with 29 miles per gallon in the city and 32 miles per gallon on the highway. All-wheel drive models make 26 miles per gallon on the city streets and 29 miles per gallon on the highway.

Staying Safe in the 2022 Volkswagen Taos vs the 2022 Buick Encore GX

Safety is a primary concern for all drivers, whether your compact SUV is used for toting your family around town or filled with adventure equipment for a weekend away. Both the 2022 Volkswagen Taos and 2022 Buick Encore GX offer standard safety features such as airbags, a rearview camera, and stability control systems.

The 2022 Volkswagen Taos S and SE trims are offered with an available IQ.Drive package that comes standard on the top SEL trim. Designed to provide ultimate peace of mind for drivers, this suite of driver-assist features includes front assist, lane assist, emergency assist, and travel assist, along with rear traffic alert, active blind-spot monitor, and adaptive cruise control. Additional optional features include dynamic road sign display, which alerts drivers to speed limits and traffic warnings. Light Assist serves as an automatic high beam control system, and available Park Distance Control provides alert signals to help you wiggle into tight parking spots safely.

Buick has made the Driver Confidence suite of driver-assist equipment standard across the Encore GX trims, including forward collision alert, automatic emergency and pedestrian braking, and lane-keep assist with lane departure warning. Other safety features, such as rear cross-traffic alert, lane change alert with side blind zone alert, and HD surround vision, are optional. Automatic Parking Assist with Braking is offered on the top Essence trim, which provides automated assistance when attempting to park in parallel or perpendicular spots. An available Rear Park Assist feature alerts drivers to cross traffic approaching when attempting to pull out of a parking spot in reverse.

A blue 2022 Volkswagen Taos is shown from the rear driving on an open road during a 2022 Volkswagen Taos vs 2022 Buick Encore GX comparison.

Exploring the Trim Levels of 2022 Volkswagen Taos vs 2022 Buick Encore GX

One of the most exciting parts of shopping for a new vehicle is choosing the features that make your compact SUV your very own. Both the 2022 Volkswagen Taos and 2022 Buick Encore GX are offered in a variety of trims and complemented by optional packages that help drivers customize their ride.

The 2022 Taos is offered in three trims: S, SE, and SEL. Each trim is a bit different from its siblings. For example, the S offers cloth upholstery, while the SE includes CloudTex seating surfaces, and the SEL is decked out in leather. The S trim offers compatibility with driving apps, while the SE has wireless app compatibility. The SEL not only includes the wireless connection but also has a premium BeatsAudio system. Remote start is included on the SE and SEL trims.

While all trims include Volkswagen’s signature digital cockpit, which displays important vehicle information in high resolution via a digital screen, the SEL trim provides drivers with Digital Cockpit Pro, which can be configured to display all the most important details.

The 2022 Buick Encore GX is also offered in three trims: Preferred, Select, and Essence. The Preferred may technically be the “base” trim, but it includes a few luxury touches, such as an 8-inch color touchscreen infotainment system, which brings together Bluetooth, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and built-in apps. Heated driver and front passenger seats are standard on the Select and Essence trims. All Encore GX models include a leather-wrapped steering wheel, but the Essence takes things up by heating the steering wheel, as well. Drivers can add to their Encore GX experience with optional packages such as roof rails, power moonroof, and all-weather floor lining.

Which One Will It Be?

It might be hard to choose between the 2022 Volkswagen Taos and the 2022 Buick Encore GX. Both come from trusted manufacturers with a record for providing drivers with that extra something that takes the driving experience from “fine” to “fantastic.” With a slightly more luxurious approach to the compact SUV, the Volkswagen Taos and the Buick Encore GX both stand out as special models within the segment.

This might be one of those situations where it comes down to which feels best to you as the driver, especially when selecting the top SEL or Essence Trims. Each is fully loaded with comfort and convenience features any driver can appreciate. Volkswagen’s IQ.DRIVE and the Buick Driver Confidence suite of driver assistance features are comparable, as well, though drivers may consider building upon these features with some of the additional packages offered through the manufacturers.

From perfect street manners to providing all the right touches, small SUVs such as the 2022 Volkswagen Taos and 2022 Buick Encore GX offer drivers plenty of room without requiring them to drive bigger and bulkier SUVs.