Volkswagen is at this week’s New York International Auto Show, where Wednesday it showed off its Tarok pickup concept for the first time here in the US. VW first showed off the unibody pickup at the Sao Paolo International Motor Show last year and it is expected to enter production for the South American market in the near future.
Although there are no current plans to produce the vehicle for the U.S. market, it’s not stopping VW from seeing how well the idea for a compact entry-level pickup might go over in the states, hence its NYAS appearance. (Based on Car Pro Show listener feedback, there is indeed a market for a small pickup, so we may see this truck in the future.)
Based on the MQB platform, the Tarok concept is a compact pickup that is 193.5 inches long, and can 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, “Off-road” (automatic setting of off-road parameters) and “Custom Off-road” (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 drive.