Introducing The Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak: Finally A Truck For The US

After recently showing the new Touareg in Europe and China, Volkswagen is now debuting a new version of its Atlas midsize SUV at the New York International Auto Show: the Atlas Cross Sport concept.

The big question, really, is why?

For what is billed as a midsize pickup, the Atlas Tanoak concept is not small. The concept also features sporty, contoured seats for all five passengers. This is the biggest vehicle yet built on the MQB platform, as it's been stretched even longer than the Atlas SUV. And, back in the 1980s it had an El Camino-like model, based on the original VW Rabbit, on sale in the U.S. But that pint-sized, underpowered model didn't last long and few cared as it slipped into oblivion.

As we write this, we have little more to go on than what was included in the press release.

Bigger than the Amarok, the new Tanoak concept auto is more than five metres long and will be the first pickup ever built off Volkswagen's incredibly versatile MQB architecture. And it's actually about the same length as the shortest versions of both the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado.

The VW Atlas Tanoak concept - which shares a name with a tall species of evergreen native to the U.S. Pacific Coast - features a 276-hp, V-6 engine mated to an eight speed transmission, and has 2 extra inches of ground clearance compared with a standard Atlas.

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This won't just remain a concept, mind - VW has already confirmed that it will make production alongside the Passat and Atlas at VW's Chattanooga plant in Tennessee. The other dimensions are as follows: 79.9 inches in width, 72.6 inches for the height and 128.3 inches for the wheelbase (11 inches more than the Atlas). Anyway, Volkswagen is probably hinting at the modular MQB platform that underpins this concept.

If anything, at least it gives me a nice gallery to run every time I write a story reminding you that, no, Volkswagen will not be bringing a pickup truck to the United States anytime soon. Of course, power is distributed to all four wheels through 4MOTION all-wheel drive.

The Atlas Cross Sport concept is able to sprint from 0 to 60 miles per hour (0-96 km/h) in just 5.4 seconds and hit a top speed of 130 miles per hour (209 km/h).

The Tanoak appears to be targeting the heart of the pickup market, with a dual-cab, short-bed configuration. Sadly, we won't be getting that one, because we have the built-in-the-USA Atlas. Some might counter: why wouldn't it. Honda sold about 35,000 Ridgelines past year.

Pickups accounted for about 16 percent of US auto sales in 2017 and the best-selling vehicle is Ford Motor Co's F-Series pickup trucks. But think about it. the German carmaker desperately wants a pick-up for the American market and so far the Amarok has not been deemed fit to fill that role, so our money would be on this one making it to the production line at some point in the future.

  • Adam Floyd