The hotly contested truck phase has been haunting Volkswagen’s goals, a lot that it has impressed the German carmaker to significantly discover the feasibility of mass producing the unibody Tanoak at their Chattanooga facility. The pickup phase is a robust one, with 2.eight million pickup trucks discovering new house owners in 2017 — although most of these trucks feature body-on-physique, not unibody, development. However whereas the struggling-in-the-U.S. Volkswagen model is unlikely to impression the sprawling phase, even a small slice of that pie would represent a big gross sales bump for VW.
Regardless of its slick LED exterior lighting scheme and neato features like an built-in winch and carabiner, the Tanoak idea is rooted in actuality — particularly, the Atlas’s MQB platform upon which it is based mostly. The truck shares primarily the identical construction because the SUV from the B-pillar ahead. The Tanoak’s seamless decorative entrance and hind lights scream “idea truck,” however the interior combines typical present car cues with some fairly terrestrial decrease plastic panels plucked immediately from an Atlas: These anchor factors are actual and will simply be delivered to serial manufacturing.
Climbing behind the wheel of the Tanoak idea imparts most of the similar impressions you get from the driving force seat of an Atlas. Positive, the customized shows and controls are miles forward of what you’d discover in any manufacturing Volkswagen, with cool-to-the-contact metallic switchgear and impossibly buttery leather-based with a novel braided leather-based sample that carries from the dashboard and the seats to the floormats. However there’s additionally a familiarity to the greenhouse proportion and palpable similarities to the Atlas that makes this pickup appear solely attainable, most outstanding of which is its sense of heft. Do not let its “giant midsize” classification idiot you: This can be a positively large vehicle with breadth that seemingly occupies a full freeway lane, and an elevated physique that sits 2 inches larger than an Atlas, for a complete floor clearance of 9.eight inches.
The twin-cab 5-seater, with its brief-mattress configuration, is available in eleven inches longer than the Atlas; not shocking, since Tanoak was named after a species of tree that grows to one hundred thirty five ft excessive. Cargo capability is a claimed 1,000 kg (or round 2,200 kilos), and towing capability is estimated at 7,000 kilos.
Pull the mechanical gearshift into “D,” and the Tanoak idea’s 276 horsepower VR6 powerplant — similar as discovered within the Atlas — pulls forward easily till it meets its electronically restricted velocity of 30 mph. This expensive one-off’s driving dynamics are troublesome to gauge at these piddling speeds, particularly when constrained to the visitors-clogged 17 Mile Drive. However a number of issues are readily obvious: The Tanoak feels massive from the driving force’s seat, and its steering is extraordinarily mild, an overboosted tune that is possible meant to compensate for the friction created by the excessive-profile 275/fifty five tires. VW’s estimated zero-to-60 mph time of eight.5 seconds appears solely possible given the powerplant’s fairly torquey 266 pound-ft. Although we did not have the chance to attempt them out, the idea additionally features a cross-via from the payload bay to the passenger compartment, and a movable cargo rail that slides throughout the size of the mattress.
Does America want one other pickup truck? My time with the Tanoak idea wasn’t essentially about answering that query, although one incident did shed some mild about what might make or break the success of this theoretical truck. When pulled over for some photos, a Tacoma driver stopped and hopped out of his properly-worn truck, excitedly asking questions on my borrowed steed. What was it, what was underneath the hood, and when is it coming?
VW spokesperson Martin Hube means that, if given the inexperienced mild, the Tanoak could possibly be produced in as little as two years. However extra essential than the feasibility query is whether or not Volkswagen’s theoretical manufacturing truck will look as dazzling because the idea; the world won’t want one other truck, nevertheless it definitely will need one if it is as visually hanging as this tantalizingly tangible idea.
– VW Atlas Tanoak Pickup Concept First Drive Review –
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