Already promised for South America, VW is testing the waters in America
We reported with great envy last November at the Sao Paulo auto show when Volkswagen showed off the Tarok pickup concept bound for the Brazil market. Perhaps our bitterness was misplaced, however, as VW is now showing the same concept at this year’s New York auto show.
Unlike the V-6–powered Tanoak concept, which we drove last year, the Tarok makes do with a turbocharged 1.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine producing 147 hp. No torque figure has been stated, but if the Golf-derived powertrain is anything to go by, expect the four-cylinder to yield about 184 lb-ft. The concept uses a six-speed automatic transmission to send power to all four wheels.
VW uses its front- and all-wheel-drive, unibody MQB platform for the Tarok, the same architecture found under everything from the European Polo subcompact to the Atlas three-row SUV. At 177.7 inches, the Tarok’s wheelbase is 0.4 inch longer than that of the Atlas, but the pickup is nearly five inches shorter overall. It’s narrower, too, at 72.0 inches compared with the Atlas’s 78.3-inch span.
The Tarok looks extra rugged courtesy of its bulging fenders and plastic cladding. VW spiced things up on the concept with glowing LED bars across the grille and a bright roll bar at the C-pillar that sits over the bed. It features 16-inch aluminum wheels wrapped in chunky 235/70 tires. There are also matte-black roof rails on top as a finishing touch.
Its payload capacity is 2,271 pounds (1,030 kg), greater than the Ford Ranger’s maximum of 2,128, a would-be—albeit rear-drive-based and body-on-frame—rival if VW brought the Tarok to North America. The bed is 47.5 inches long with the tailgate up, 74.9 inches when it’s lowered, and 100.7 inches when the Chevy Avalanche–style folding bulkhead is dropped to allow cargo to extend into the cabin.
The driver can access VW’s various terrain modes via a dial controlling the “4Motion Active Control” system; the settings include On-road, Snow, Off-road, and Custom Off-road. VW claims that the Tarok’s dimensions are also optimized for off-road driving with “an approach angle of 23.8 degrees, a departure angle of 26.4 degrees, and a breakover angle of 22.1 degrees,” according to the brand’s press release. Minimum ground clearance is 9.6 inches.
VW went all-out inside the truck concept, with a screen-heavy cabin. Digital displays serve as the instrument cluster, the air-conditioning controls, and the infotainment interface. In addition, there’s a removable Bluetooth speaker in the center console for beach bonfires, camping trips, or, uh, other places you want to listen to music.
Like the Tanoak, the Tarok concept is merely a design study to gauge interest among U.S. consumers. The company has already said that the Tarok will be entering production for South America, though, so be sure to let VW know if you want this slick little truck on our shores. Us? We say the more small pickup trucks, the merrier.