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Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak Concept Is A Pickup Truck Tease

motor1 logo motor1 3/28/2018 Jake Holmes

Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak Concept

Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak Concept

What if VW turned its Atlas crossover into a truck?

Meet the Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak concept: yes, it’s a VW pickup truck on American soil! But before you ask, Volkswagen says, “there are currently no production plans for the Atlas Tanoak.”

In fact, Hinrich Woebcken, CEO of Volkswagen North American Region, has been emphatic that he’s not interested in selling a truck in the U.S. market. At a roundtable interview last month in Chicago, he told reporters that the full-size truck market here is too loyal for a newcomer to make an impact, while the midsize truck segment just doesn’t represent enough sales for VW to get interested.

Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak Concept© Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak Concept

“Basically small volume. The numbers are small, not convincing,” he said of midsize pickups. “We have so much work and potential to grow in the existing segments, that this is not the top of our list.”

Anyway, the Atlas Tanoak concept is one of those midsize concepts, measuring about four inches longer than a Honda Ridgeline. It rides on the same MQB modular platform used for everything from Europe's small Polo to America's seven-passenger Atlas. Compared to the existing seven-passenger VW Atlas crossover, this concept’s wheelbase has been stretched by 11 inches and its overall length increased by 15.8 inches. It rides two inches higher than an Atlas, too. It’s a crew cab, short-bed design; VW says there’s a useful 50.4 inches of room between that bed’s wheel wells.

Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak Concept© Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak Concept

Visually, there are some Atlas crossover cues, but overall the Tanoak has been given a much more “rugged” appearance. And being a concept, it has show-car flourishes like an animated light-up display for the front VW logo, as well as an illuminated grille and 20-inch wheels.

The inside of the five-seater cabin has also been modified compared to a regular Atlas. Notably, the changes are for usability: a new shifter and a new drive-mode selector knob are both “very sturdy” and chunkier so they can be used with gloves on, while the seats are intended to provide more lateral support for off-roading.

Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak Concept© Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak Concept

A 3.6-liter V6 engine delivers 276 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque – just like in today’s production Atlas. Power goes through an eight-speed automatic transmission to standard 4Motion all-wheel drive, with various off-road modes available for use on loose terrain.

The Atlas Tanoak concept – its name is derived from the name of a tree native to Southern California that can grow to 135 feet in height – is undeniably cool. Midsize trucks may not sell in the volume of full-size ones, but the success of the likes of the Toyota Tacoma and Chevrolet Colorado show that there is still a market for this type of vehicle.

Though, as emphasized up top, this concept isn’t currently slated for a showroom, Volkswagen stresses that it, “is keen to gauge the reactions of buyers and media,” given that trucks are such a huge part of the U.S. market. In other words? Cross your fingers, write pleading letters, and if you wish enough, VW might just change its mind. Maybe.

See more from the 2018 New York Auto Show

Source: Volkswagen

Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak Concept© Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak Concept

Read also:

• Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport Concept Previews New Five-Seat SUV
• VW Registers 'Amarok' Nameplate In U.S., New Pickup Coming?
• Volkswagen Adding Two More SUVs Alongside Tiguan, Atlas

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