VW Atlas Tanoak concept could preview a pickup

VW Atlas Tanoak concept could preview a pickup

While it did give a heads-up on plans to roll out the Atlas Sport Cross Concept it managed to keep pretty much everyone in the dark about a second introduction at the 2018 New York International Auto Show: the Atlas Tanoak Concept. Anyway, Volkswagen is probably hinting at the modular MQB platform that underpins this concept.

Revealed today at the New York Auto Show is the Atlas Tanoak Concept. The Tanoak is the first pickup truck to be fitted to the MQB.

The VW Tanoak-yeah, this is a typically inscrutable Volkswagen name, though with an American connection- is based on the Atlas three-row sport/utility vehicle. The Rabbit line preceded the current Golf models in America.

AutoBlog says "the truck is said to be based off the Atlas SUV structure". As the first half of its name implies, the double cab is based on the Atlas mid-sized SUV, which was designed primarily for the USA market and we'll assume the same of this pick-up concept. The Atlas Tanoak concept also rides higher than the Atlas SUV with 9.8 inches of ground clearance and inside there's room for five.

Enter the Volkswagen Tanoak. Toyota leads, with sales of nearly 200,000 Tacomas previous year. Steffen Knapp, head of sales and Marketing, Volkswagen India, has promised a revamp of its after-sales service model to make the brand more affable in the country. Honda sold about 35,000 Ridgelines previous year.

Analysts, and even some Ford executives in private conversations, say sellers of midsize trucks will likely be battling each in a market that will have modest growth at best.

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VW officials claim the Tanoak is purely a concept, but a company with no pickup truck, that's subject to change.

The more realistic targets would include Honda's Ridgeline and Hyundai's yet-to-be-released Santa Cruz pickup.

The automaker sells the Amarok pickup truck in Europe and other places but not in the United States, where it deals with a 25 percent import tariff. Using the Atlas and the company's Chattanooga facility to produce the vehicles allows VW to escape the tariff.

The Tanoak's cabin diverges further from the Atlas. Very rugged underbody protection that integrates a centrally mounted winch and carabiner are also featured. Tow hooks are built into the rear bumper.

The handles on the rear doors are integrated into the C-pillars while the rear fenders are strongly flared for a properly dynamic look. There's a spare wheel under the bed, and a movable rail can be slid up to the back of the can and along the length of the bed for flexible cargo carrying options; think longer items like ladders. Just like in a Honda Ridgeline, the experience behind the wheel is more vehicle than utility; where the Honda is stolidly earnest, though, the Atlas Tanoak can take greater liberties. That's paired with an eight-speed automatic that sends power out to all four wheels with a version of the VW 4Motion AWD system using Active Control. The slider was made to be used with work gloves. A close-to-production concept is a five-seat SUV instead of seven which has both power and presence.

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