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Volkswagen released this article explaining the Taos' chassis development and the two setups for the FWD and AWD versions.

The front-wheel drive models use a torsion beam suspension setup and the all-wheel drive versions use a multilink setup.

  • Volkswagen’s new compact SUV slots below Tiguan and electric ID.4 in lineup
  • Vehicle shows capabilities of regional engineering facilities and personnel
  • Taos uses two chassis setups—a torsion beam suspension for front-wheel-drive models and a multilink setup for all-wheel-drive versions
Herndon, VA — The Volkswagen Taos entry-compact SUV, which slots into the brand’s burgeoning SUV portfolio below the Tiguan and ID.4 EV models, is the latest product to be built on the company’s versatile modular transverse toolkit, or MQB. It has also been specifically tuned for regional markets by engineers within the North American Region.

Volkswagen has been building up its engineering expertise in the region, both in the U.S. and in Mexico. Since 2016, the NAR has been given increasing responsibility for the products that are sold in Mexico, Canada and the U.S., and is tailoring vehicles to market requirements, which are often quite different to needs in other parts of the world, such as Europe.

From the Engineering and Planning Center in Chattanooga, TN, and the Innovation and Engineering Center California in Belmont, CA, to the NAR Engineering Workbench in Puebla, Mexico, Volkswagen now has approximately 1,500 engineers in the region in seven facilities. Their remit includes advanced user interface research, AI, autonomous driving, emissions testing, vehicle design, battery research, powertrain calibration, and chassis setup.

“I am very pleased that we have been building up this capability for the NAR,” said Dr. Wolfgang Demmelbauer-Ebner, Executive Vice-President and Chief Engineering Officer, Volkswagen North American Region. “It is hugely important to have expertise in the region to tailor our vehicles to the wants and needs of consumers, as they vary dramatically in this region compared with other parts of the world.”

When it came to the Taos chassis tuning, the Chassis Development team of 55 engineers from Puebla worked hand-in-hand with engineers from Germany and the U.S. to hone the ride and handling balance for this market. The Taos uses a strut-type front suspension, but has different rear suspension setups for the all-wheel- and front-wheel-drive models: AWD models have a multilink layout while FWD versions get a torsion beam.

The road conditions in the U.S., Canada and Mexico are a massive challenge for chassis engineers. Just in the U.S., roads vary from the smooth blacktop of southern states to surfaces rippled by earthquakes in California to Midwest roads benighted by the ravages of freeze-thaw conditions. Add in the dirt roads found in most U.S. states, and striking a compromise between ride and handling becomes a serious task.

“To get to a balanced chassis for these markets takes a huge amount of work,” says Gerold Bremer, Director, Technical Development, Volkswagen de México. “For the front-wheel-drive Taos, we went through 77 iterations of the various chassis components—springs, dampers, anti-roll bars, suspension components, bushings, and so on—to get the perfect balance between a supple ride, which compact SUV buyers value, and the fun-to-drive nature of a Volkswagen.”

The lively 1.5-liter turbocharged and direct-injection EA211 engine makes 158 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, and a smooth shifting eight-speed automatic transmission is standard. Thanks to sophisticated technology which includes variable geometry turbocharging, the Taos is expected to deliver excellent fuel economy.

The Taos is expected to go on sale in June. The vehicle is positioned in the largest U.S. vehicle segment, the compact SUV market, where 4 million vehicles were sold in 2019—around 24 percent of the market. The Taos is 9.3 inches shorter than the Tiguan at 174.2 inches overall. It will provide an excellent value, with outstanding interior space, tech, and available driver assistance features.
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