Volkswagen debuted a concept pickup truck at the New York Auto Show this week, and the Atlas-based design features a short bed design, based on VW’s MQB platform. It’s basically the Atlas 7-seater SUV with the back cut off and a small (but versatile) truck bed in place of the SUV’s cargo storage and third seating row – but that could be exactly the right balance to strike if Volkswagen wants to make a pickup that’s attractive to U.S. consumers.
The Atlas Tanoak, named after a type of tree found in the U.S. Pacific Coast, also features an extended wheelbase compared to the Atlas, with a total overall vehicle length of 214 inches. It has 10 inches of vertical ground clearance, and a 276-horsepower V6 engine with all-wheel drive, along with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
It’s got a variety of on-and off-road driving modes, too, and a more rugged front end and exterior so that you don’t have to hew to only the very beaten paths. The cargo bed in back is 64 inches long and 57 inches wide, and VW says you can even transport ATVs and dirtbikes on the back with the tailgate in the down position.
Basically, it’s functionally, aesthetically and conceptually a lot like a Honda Ridgeline – but Americans like the Honda Ridgeline. Heck, just looking at photos of this thing makes me think “Yes, I am a city dweller who sometimes escapes to the country for some outdoorsy fun and this vehicle calls to me” so I think VW is on the right path here. Or off it, so to speak.
Volkswagen currently has no plans to put the Atlas Tanoak into production, however – it’s taking the temperature of interest and market fit with this New York Auto Show reveal. Consider this article my vote: Please make this truck.