Is VW Moving Closer To Offering Compact Pickup? It Could Be, No Hard Evidence Yet
Early last year, Torque News took a look at Volkswagen’s Amarok pickup, the compact, diesel that is popular in Europe. At the time of our story, we wondered aloud why VW wasn’t offering the Amarok in the U.S.? Though the automaker was coming out of the Dieselgate scandal at the time, many of the automaker’s diesel offerings were still available, and it seemed like a natural for this market.
TN Keeps The Pressure Up, But There Is No Answer, Yet…
TN honestly took it a step further, questioning VW about the possibility the Amarok would make it to this side of the pond. We were told no in no uncertain terms. The reason: VW didn’t see a market for the Amarok here because of competitive pressures.
What a difference a bit of time makes! At this year’s New York International Auto Show (NYIAS), there was a prominent addition to the already great VW concepts and current offerings – the Tarok Concept pickup. And, though the automaker called it a “concept,” it is far more than that. Plans call for VW to offer the Tarok for sale by Volkswagen do Brazil.
Indeed, it turns out that New York isn’t the first showing of the Tarok Concept pickup. At one of the season’s first motor shows last fall, the Sao Paolo International Motor Show (SPIMS), the Tarok was featured prominently. At the time, there some indications from VW that the Tarok was more than just a concept.
At the time of SPIMS, it turns out; planning was already pretty far advanced for the compact pickup’s entry into the South American market. And, here’s the new piece of this story, while VW says there are still no plans for the Tarok to go on sale in the U.S., having a ready-to-go compact pickup available for purchase, should VW change its mind, puts VW at the top of the new market contenders.
It’s not as if there is no compact pickup market. Ford, for example, has revived its small Ranger and its sales have been respectable. And, Nissan has had a small pickup available for years, the Frontier. Though it is dated, it is there and selling reasonably well. Then, there is Toyota whose third generation Tacoma leads the compact pickup market. And, Chevy and GMC both offer small pickups (the Canyon and Colorado) which revived both marques a couple of years ago with a great deal of continuing success.
VW Is Poised For The Market, But Will it?
So, VW is poised to join a crowded market with what looks like a very competitive product. Featuring unibody construction, not the more traditional body on frame, the new VW Tarok Concept truck was shown at New York to gauge market reaction to a compact pickup. Overall, the Tarok is 193.5 inches, or about the same overall length as the lengthened Tiguan. Based on the automaker’s MQB platform, It is one of the largest MQB-based VW vehicles. It is 72 inches wide and 66 inches high. The wheelbase, at 117.7 inches, is comparatively long.
The key to the Tarok’s versatility is its variable load area. The floor space expands by two methods:
- Opening the tailgate
- Special controls that expand the amount of space in the cargo bed
- Using a newly developed mechanism for holding down the bottom of the passenger cabin’s rear panel.
One Of The Largest MQB Marsalles
As noted, the Tarok is one of the largest VW vehicles to use the MQB-platform. The other vehicle is the American-developed and produced three-row SUV, the Atlas. The Tarok has a very versatile load area. Between the wheel arches, the pickup has 42.9 inches available with a bed length of 47.5 inches when the tailgate is in place. If you drop the tailgate, the load area extends by 27.4 inches. And, using the folding door to the cabin adds another 25.8 inches. Total payload is 2,271 pounds.
The Tarok Concept design shows its close relationship with VW SUVs such as the Atlas and the new T-Cross. The design features a tall hood, horizontal bars in the grille that fare nicely into the headlights. Speaking of headlights, Tarok uses LED headlights and offers Daytime Running Lights (DRL). Tarok also has an underbody skid plate. Black gloss finishes the A-Pillars.
Adding space to the interior is quick as the rear seats unlock and fold, using a quick-to-operate mechanism. A rear panel is then locked inside via an electrical system. And, even if you add cargo space to the bed by using the bed-lengthening feature that lets cargo extend into the passenger compartment, an electrical system locks a rear panel. It seals against moisture.
From the side, the most striking feature on the C-pillar is a device that resembles the bar on a Targa top. Its aluminum frame extends from one side of the vehicle to the other, covering the Tarok’s rear panel. The other main feature is another line designed as a sharp undercut above the door handles and a sturdy shoulder section that emerges above it — the 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheel use 235/70 rubber.
VW Talks About Vehicle’s Lighting
Dominating the rear of the Tarok Concept (VW’s description is a continuous LED strip. 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.
Among other items, Tarok features:
- Fully digital instrumentation and digital control of the climate control system.
- A user-configurable 9.2-inch touch infotainment panel. It is a glass-covered.
- A fully configurable Volkswagen Digital Cockpit
- VW included a special center-mounted speaker through which the Bluetooth-compatible can be configured for the Tarok Concept.
- A multi-function rotary knob not only gives you full control over the Tarok’s 4Motion® Active Control which is a multi-functional tool that sets the Tarok up for the type of driving, as well as the driving environment such as Offroad, Custom Offroad, and Offroad. It also turns on and accesses driving and comfort modes. Several settings on the rotary switch help with environment and comfort setting such as various comfort and control settings such as Comfort, Normal, ECO, among others.
Key Folks Discuss Modes Available
The Tarok Concept’s powerplant is a 1.4-liter, 147-horsepower four-cylinder turbocharged engine. It mates to six-speed automatic tranny and permanent Motion all-wheel-drive.