The debuts at the New York International Auto Show included plenty of production vehicles that will arrive in showrooms for the 2019 model year. They also included several concept cars. Sometimes these are a preview of what will make it in production, but other times they’re flights of fancy. The Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak concept is one vehicle most everyone is hoping becomes a production truck one day.
This dual-cab short bed pickup is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine with 276 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Standard all-wheel drive includes Active Control, which has various drive modes. This optimizes the Tanoak for wet, unpaved, or slippery surfaces. It’s also ready to head off-road with a low-range gear reduction.
This is the first pickup based on Volkswagen’s MQB architecture, which is used in an array of vehicles from the European Polo subcompact up to the Atlas SUV that lends the truck its name. The Tanoak is 214.1 inches long and 79.9 inches wide. There’s 9.8 inches of ground clearance and it has a cargo bed that is 64.1 inches long. Inside, there’s room for up to five passengers.
What makes the Tanoak distinctive is its unique design. It’s based on the Atlas SUV, but it’s definitely not the same. There are round LED daytime running lights that extend into the side profile and the hood is higher in the middle. There’s also underbody protection with an integrated winch and carabiner.
The lighting is especially striking with animation that changes depending on what’s going on with the Tanoak. When it’s open, the Volkswagen logo slowly brightens. The light then runs over the crossbars of the grille to the headlight surrounds and eventually lights up the daytime running lights.
In back, there’s an Atlas logo in the tailgate with wrap-around lighting. The logo is illuminated in white and there’s a white LED stripe in the cargo bed that lights up so you can see what you’re doing at night.
Inside, there are front contoured seats to provide plenty of support when off-roading. The infotainment touchscreen is placed high for easy reach and there’s ambient lighting that changes color to yellow or blue at night depending on if you choose Off-Road or City mode.
It’s a unique design and a truck plenty of people in the U.S. would like to see, but don’t hold your breath. According to Volkswagen,
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 U.S.
If you want to see the Atlas Tanoak or something like it, then your best bet is to let Volkswagen know and then, if we’re lucky, we might get a Volkswagen truck.