Bakkie obsession heads for the US. Volkswagen’s Atlas Tanoak concept will be smaller than the average American pick-up, but looks set to pack a serious punch.
Volkswagen is circling the American market with its ‘mid-size’ bakkie concept, the Atlas Tanoak, which debuted at the New York International Auto Show. Based on the platform that underpins the, you guessed it, Atlas SUV from where the Tanoak inherits its bone structure, Head of VW Design Klaus Bischoff says that ‘pick-ups are distinctly American’ (ahem, if you say so, Klaus) and the idea was to build a modern Volkswagen pick-up truck. Just to clarify, we’re sure Bischoff is aware the Amarok actually exists, though the re-engineering required to homologate it for the American market is more cash-sapping than building an entire new model. Crazy!
Images of the concept show us something that looks the size of the Amarok, detailed with futuristic Tron-style LED lighting design on the rear. The front-end light treatment reminds us of Peter Schreyer’s ‘tiger nose’ design that put KIA on the map half a decade ago, except they’ve lit the entire unit up with an LED strip. If that design detail manages to stay all the way into production, we’ll be blown away. Bischoff has said this light signature could have a bright future at VW.
The press release for the event hammers home how the Tanoak is ‘engineered to the bone’. The chassis is 11 inches longer than the donor Atlas. The body sits 25 cm off the ground and in concept guise, it is imagined with the 4Motion AWD system powered by the 3.6-litre V6, with no TDIs in sight. Now we’re talking.
VW says it has gone for functionality and versatility on the Tanoak; that light-display front bumper houses an embedded tow hook and winch. The roof rail that sits behind the cabin can be extended down the load bed towards the tailgate for hauling larger loads. Now we’re thinking practical, VW.
The Tanoak should make waves in the American pick-up market. Where everything bigger is better, this downsized offering will be
a niche product all of its own.