Does Volkswagen have eyes on entering the competitive pickup truck market in the United States? According to the press release announcing its Tarok concept taking the stage at this year’s New York Auto Show, there are no imminent plans for a VW truck to arrive stateside. You can bet, however, that executives are keenly interested in seeing how New Yorkers respond to the butch concept – especially since it will enter production for the Brazilian market.
The Tarok concept actually debuted in Brazil last November at the Sau Paolo International Motor Show, and it garnered quite a bit of attention. Classified as a compact truck, it packs a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder producing a modest 147 bhp that sends power to all four wheels through a six-speed automatic gearbox.
In place of a traditional four-wheel-drive system, the Tarok uses a full-time 4Motion all-wheel-drive setup with various settings for a range of conditions. Hardcore truck buyers might be sceptical of such a system, but VW says the Tarok is plenty capable off the beaten path with an approach angle of 60.4 cm, a departure angle of 67 cm, and 23.4 cm of ground clearance.
Gallery: Volkswagen Tarok Concept
The Tarok’s party piece, however, is its configurable bed and interior. Similar to the Chevrolet Avalanche of old, the Tarok can extend its smallish four-foot bed into the greenhouse by opening a panel and folding the rear seats. That increases the bed length to just over 183 cm – nearly identical to what you find on most full-size pickups.
The smaller truck segment is stronger than ever in the U.S., as evidenced by the splashes made with the new Jeep Gladiator and the return of the Ford Ranger. Though the Tarok is technically a concept, it rides on VW’s existing MQB platform and the automaker has already confirmed it will enter production in nearly the same form as seen here. Should Americans find this VW truck interesting, it shouldn’t take much to offer up a U.S. spec model in the not-so-distant future.
VOLKSWAGEN SHOWS TAROK PICKUP CONCEPT AT THE NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW
→ Compact pickup features innovative bed and cab design
→ Production version of concept vehicle expected to go on sale in Brazil soon
→ Concept vehicle features 1.4-liter TSI® engine and 4Motion® all-wheel drive
Herndon —Volkswagen of America plans to show the Tarok pickup concept for the first time in the U.S. at the New York International Auto Show. This compact unibody pickup was first seen at the Sao Paolo International Motor Show at the end of 2018 and is expected to enter production for the South American market in the near future. Although there are no plans to produce the vehicle for the U.S. market, the Tarok concept is being shown to gauge market reaction for a truly versatile and compact entry-level pickup.
Based on the MQB platform, the Tarok concept is a compact pickup that is 193.5 inches long, yet has the ability to carry loads up to 73.2 inches long thanks to an innovative design that allows the pickup bed to extend into the cab.
Alongside the Atlas, the Tarok concept is one of the largest MQB-based Volkswagen vehicles designed to date. The Tarok concept is 72 inches wide (without wing mirrors) and 66 inches high (without roof rails). The wheelbase is a comparatively long 117.7 inches, which leads to short overhangs of 36.0 inches at the front and 39.8 inches at the back.
The key to the Tarok concept’s versatility is a variable load area. The floor space can be enlarged not only by opening the tailgate, but also using a newly developed mechanism for folding down the bottom of the passenger cabin’s rear panel.
The width of the load area between the wheel arches is 42.9 inches, with a bed length of 47.5 inches with the tailgate in place. Drop the tailgate, and the load area is extended by 27.4 inches. Opening or folding the door to the cabin and folding the rear seats extends the load area by another 25.8 inches. Payload is 2,271 pounds.
The rear seats are unlocked and folded using a mechanism that is quick to operate. The rear panel is then locked from the inside via an electrical system. A sealing mechanism helps ensure that the interior is optimally protected against moisture.
The Tarok concept design shows a close relationship with other Volkswagen SUVs, such as the Atlas and the new T-Cross. It has a tall hood, horizontal bars in the grille that run into the headlights, and LED headlights and Daytime Running Lights. Tarok also gets an underbody skid plate and a roof and A-pillars finished in gloss black.
From the side, the most striking feature is the C-pillar that looks like the bar on a Targa top. The aluminum frame extends from one side of the vehicle to the other, covering the Tarok concept’s rear panel. The other main features are a tornado line designed as a sharp undercut above the door handles and a powerful shoulder section that emerges above it. The 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels are fitted with 235/70 tires.
A continuous LED strip dominates the rear of the Tarok Concept. This wide light strip is located on the top section of the tailgate and then merges outwards into both rear lights, helping to create an unmistakable light signature at night. The tailgate itself extends right into the bumper, giving a low load height.
The interior features a fully digital design for the instruments and air conditioning control system, and matches the expressive exterior in terms of style as well as color. A glass-
covered 9.2-inch Infotainment system and a configurable Volkswagen Digital Cockpit are the central elements within the color-keyed instrument panel. These two elements create a continuous digital and networked cockpit, designed to help make use of a maximum range of online services and apps. Another clever feature is a speaker in the center console that can be removed and connected to a compatible smartphone via Bluetooth.
Located behind the shift lever is the 4Motion® Active Control—a multi-functional rotary knob that is used to control the all-wheel-drive functions and associated driving modes. The driver uses it to activate four higher-level modes and different pop-up menus. If drivers turn the switch to the left, they access two “Onroad” and “Snow” profiles. If the switch is turned to the right, “Offroad” (automatic setting of offroad parameters) and “Custom Offroad” (variable settings) are activated.
The 4MOTION Active Control can be used to adapt all relevant assist systems to the drive situation in seconds. The “Comfort”, “Normal”, “Sport”, “Eco” and “Individual” driving profiles, also selected via 4Motion Active Control, are also integrated. These profiles are used to customize parameters such as the throttle response, gearshift, climate control and steering.
To demonstrate the vehicle’s off-road ability, the Tarok has an approach angle of 23.8 degrees, a departure angle of 26.4 degrees, and a breakover angle of 22.1 degrees. The minimum ground clearance is 9.6 inches.
The Tarok Concept is powered by a 1.4-liter, 147-horsepower four-cylinder turbocharged and direct-injection TSI® engine, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission and permanent 4Motion all-wheel