If it ever goes into production, that is.
At this year’s New York Auto Show, Volkswagen revealed the Atlas Tanoak concept previewing a potential pickup for the US market. At the time, VW said it wasn’t planning to put the Tanoak into production, but the pickup’s positive public and media reception could persuade the German automaker to give it the green light. After all, launching a pickup would help generate more exposure for the brand in the US. If it does enter production, it will be the first pickup Volkswagen has sold in the US since the Rabbit-based model more than 20 years ago.
Volkswagen has previously said the Tanoak “fits the brand well, because we want to get more American in the US, but it’s something we have to look at carefully.” VW also explained how “it’s a very patriotic segment, which American manufacturers dominate.”
The Tanoak was recently showcased at Monterey Car Week, where Volkswagen revealed to Automobile Magzine that the pickup will be cheaper than the Honda Ridgeline if it enters production. The current Ridgeline starts at $29,730 in the US, so a small affordable VW pickup could potentially sell well in the US if it can undercut that price. Automobile Magazine also managed to get behind the wheel of an Atlas Tanoak prototype.
While the speed was capped at 18 mph, the test drive showed off the pickup’s potential, as VW’s modular MQB platform made the prototype “easy enough to thread through the turns." Time will tell if Volkswagen answers our prayers and launches a new pickup in the US since it depends if there is enough demand for the model. The Honda Ridgeline isn’t exactly a strong seller in the US, and the Ford Ranger isn’t generating a lot of buzz.
Based on the production Atlas SUV, the Atlas Tanoak concept is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine that sends 276 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.