The Volkswagen Tharu was unveiled in 2018 for the Chinese market and about two years later, a revised version was launched in North America as the VW Taos. This crossover is now being prepared for a facelift and we have the first spy photos showing a prototype of the Chinese-market model, possibly previewing design changes that will later arrive in the United States.

Interestingly, while this is obviously the Tharu for China – you can tell that by the badges on the boot lid – our photographers caught the test vehicle in Germany. There’s no heavy camouflage, though a little disguise at the front and back suggests there will be some tweaks to the design. The front fascia seems to be undergoing minor modifications to the lower section of the bumper garnished with new headlights. There could be other new touches too, as we spotted some red tape covering portions of the grille.

Gallery: VW Taos / Tharu facelift spy photos

It’s a similar story at the back where the taillights feature light camouflage. The clusters appear similar to the taillights of the Tiguan, though this might not be their final shape and size. Even more red tape covers the Volkswagen logo in the middle and we have the feeling there could be a coast-to-coast LED strip hiding underneath. Of course, this is our own suggestion that can’t be confirmed for now.

The Taos and Tharu are available with different engines depending on the region. In the United States, the compact crossover has a 1.5-liter turbocharged gasoline engine with 158 horsepower (118 kilowatts) and 184 pound-feet (249 Newton-meters) of torque. If you go for the front-wheel-drive model, it has an eight-speed torque converter automatic gearbox, while the AWD is equipped with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. 

We don’t expect the hardware to change for the facelifted model. The powertrain will likely carry over, though there might be upgrades to the infotainment system. For the 2023 model year in the US, the Taos kicks off at $24,155, while the range-topping Taos SEL will set you back at least $34,535.

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