Volkswagen goes full America with its truck concept

NYIAS 2018 – Volkswagen Reveals Atlas Cross Sport Concept

The thesis of the Volkswagen Atlas SUV was to build a vehicle tailored to American tastes. It measures 214.1 inches in length, making it roughly 3.0 inches longer than the recently revealed Ford Ranger and nearly 16 inches longer than the Atlas, so it's definitely big for a mid-size truck.

The vehicle would be built on the same platform as the Atlas and Cross Sport, VW's MQB platform.

Although the Atlas Tanoak is based on the production SUV, the pickup is completely redesigned.

Revealed today at the New York Auto Show is the Atlas Tanoak Concept. At the back, there's a 64-inch long bed, while the cabin has room for five.

The German automaker's US unit unveiled its Atlas Tanoak Concept at the 2018 New York International Auto Show on Wednesday. It's also got taller suspension emphasized by 20-inch wheels wrapped in off-road tires. Its LED headlights frame a grille split by two horizontal bars, versus the three on the three-row Atlas. The cab and bed are painted in Red Earth. The automaker has gradually been increasing the amount of exterior lighting it has been building into its recent cars and concepts, but the Atlas Tanoak pushes that to even greater levels.

Like its intended foes, the Tanoak isn't being considered as a hard-core working pickup, but as a lifestyle machine with a greater focus on luxury and comfort and equipment and a more secondary focus on carrying ability.

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Ahead of the B-pillar, the Tanoak looks like a ruggedized Atlas - something that, as the giant block "ATLAS" below the grille suggests - VW is making no attempts to hide. The concept features tech upgrades that include a bigger 10.1-inch touchscreen with proximity sensors and gesture control that manages infotainment and vehicle systems. Happily Volkswagen's designers have still included not only physical controls, but ones big enough that you could still toggle and tap them while wearing work gloves.

At first glance, The VW Tanoak appears to be far more suited to the American market than either of those pickups.

While VW has no plans to produce the truck, it signals the company's increased attention to the preferences of U.S. consumers.

Speaking at a press event Tuesday evening, Volkswagen Group of America CEO Hinrich Woebcken said the Atlas Tanoak concept is being used to measure whether there are opportunities for Volkswagen to expand into segments where it doesn't now play, just as the sedan-heavy brand has moved aggressively into crossovers in the last few years.

The Tanoak's interior looks like a fresher take on what we already know from the Atlas SUV.

The engine is carried over from the Atlas; it's a 276 hp, 266 lb-ft 3.6-liter V6 mated to an eight-speed auto transmission.

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