Volkswagen is Getting Serious About Making a Truck

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

Making its debut at the 2018 New York Auto Show is the Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak Concept.

The first pickup truck based on Volkswagen’s MQB platform, the Tanoak Concept rides on an extended wheelbase Atlas, with the truck measuring 214.1 inches long and sporting nearly 10 inches of ground clearance. Based on those dimensions, the Tanoak Concept is about 15.8 inches longer than the Atlas and it would be a large midsize pickup by U.S. standards. It’s also 79.9 inches wide and 72.6 inches tall.

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The truck is designed as a dual-cab, five-seater with a cargo bed measuring 64.1 inches long, 51.7 inches wide, and 20.9 inches high. One unique feature found on the concept is a rail that is mounted on the pickup bed. Normally, the rail is fixed by the back of the cab, but this one can slide the length of the bed, essentially serving as a carrier for items such as a canoe or ladder.

Powering the Tanoak Concept is Volkswagen’s 3.6-liter V6 engine with 276 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. The powerplant is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission and 4Motion all-wheel drive with Active Control. Volkswagen says it’s capable of going zero-to-60 mph in 8.5 seconds.

2018 New York Auto Show Coverage

Although the truck concept is based on the production Atlas SUV, it has been completely redesigned. The front has a more rugged appearance, with the headlights and front bumper being redesigned and extended into the side profile. There’s also underbody protection that integrates a centrally-mounted winch and carabiner, wheelarch extensions, and 20-inch wheels on all four corners.

From behind the B-pillar however, is when things change significantly compared to the Atlas. The rear doors are subtle since the handles are integrated into the C-pillars, while the rear fenders have more strongly flared surfaces, a far departure from the SUV.

Stepping inside the cabin, the Tanoak Concept is designed to be a very spacious five-seater offering. Up front are sporty, contoured seats, while the second row has individual seats for the passengers. The instruments, center console, and steering wheel have also been redesigned, with the majority of functions controlled digitally.

For now, Volkswagen claims there are currently no production plans for the Atlas Tanoak, but it is gauging the reactions of buyers and media. The automaker is well aware pickup trucks are one of the biggest volume segments in the U.S., which is why it’s considering to enter the market.

Discuss this story on our Volkswagen Atlas Forum

Jason Siu
Jason Siu

Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.

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