The Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak pickup truck concept made its world debut at the New York International Auto Show. Named after a species of tree that is native to the Pacific Coast in the US (and that grows up to 135 feet high), the Atlas Tanoak is the first pickup based on Volkswagen’s MQB (modular transverse matrix) architecture.
Powered by a 276-horsepower V6 FSI gasoline engine, the Atlas Tanoak uses an efficient eight-speed automatic transmission and the 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system. Although there are currently no production plans for the Atlas Tanoak, Volkswagen is keen to gauge the reactions of buyers and media, since pickup trucks are one of the biggest volume segments in the US.
The Tanoak concept is 214.1 inches long, some 15.8 inches longer than the Atlas, which makes it a large midsize pickup by US standards. The concept vehicle is 79.9 inches wide and 72.6 inches tall, with a wheelbase of 128.3 inches, 11 inches longer than the Atlas seven-seater.
The body of the concept vehicle has been raised nearly 2 inches compared to the Atlas SUV, yielding ground clearance of 9.8 inches. Designed as a dual-cab, five-seater, the Atlas Tanoak pickup has a cargo bed that is 64.1 inches long, 57.1 wide (50.4 inches between the wheel wells) and 20.9 inches high. This allows for easy transport of cargo such as bikes or surfboards with the tailgate in place, and ATVs and dirt bikes with the tailgate down. The spare wheel is located under the cargo bed, making it accessible even when fully loaded.
A novel feature of this pickup is a rail that is mounted on the pickup bed. Normally, the rail is fixed by the back of the cab, but it can slide the length of the bed and thus doubles as a carrier for things like canoes and ladders.
Although the Atlas Tanoak is based on the production SUV, the pickup is completely redesigned. Up to the B-pillar, there are similarities, but the frontal treatment is more rugged, in keeping with a pickup truck's mission. The headlights and front bumper, using round LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs), were redesigned and extend into the side profile.
Additional redesigned components include: the engine hood that is significantly raised in middle; the entire grille unit including LED headlights; and the bumper. Very rugged underbody protection that integrates a centrally mounted winch and carabiner are also featured.
The Tanoak takes an entirely different path than the Atlas SUV from the B-pillars back. The rear doors of the dual cab are not very noticeable at first glance, because the handles are integrated into the C-pillars and are barely visible. The dual cab and its window surfaces emphasize the vehicle's length. Another conspicuous departure from the SUV are the rear fenders, which have more strongly flared surfaces. The cab and bed are painted in Red Earth.