Volkswagen brought a pickup truck to the New York International Auto Show for the second consecutive year, though the Tarok Concept is a bit less traditional than last year’s Tanoak. Instead of a traditional separate cab and bed, the Tarok has access doors at the back of the cabin that open to extend the available bed length — like the Chevrolet Avalanche, for example. Volkswagen brought it to New York after its debut at the 2018 Sao Paulo International Motor Show to gauge reactions and see if the Tarok might succeed in North America.
The Tarok is based on VW’s MQB architecture and looks a bit like the German automaker tried to do to the Tiguan what Jeep did with the Gladiator and Wrangler — make a pickup out of a popular SUV. It’s got some funky looks to it, like a high rear beltline reminiscent of the previous Honda Ridgeline and a C-pillar meant to look like the roof bar on a targa-topped vehicle.
The bed is 47.5 inches long with the tailgate closed and the access doors to the cabin shut. Dropping the tailgate adds an extra 27.4 inches of length (and makes loads less secure), while opening access to the cabin and folding the rear seats down adds 25.8 inches. It’s an interesting approach to a pickup bed, and one that’s been tried — and abandoned — by other automakers.
Power for the Tarok comes from a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine good for 147 horsepower and paired with a six-speed automatic transmission sending power to a 4Motion all-wheel-drive system. It would probably be pretty poky, particularly when laden with what VW claims is a maximum of 2,271 pounds of payload.
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Will the Tarok come to the U.S.? As a Volkswagen, maybe not. While VW plans to launch a production version in Brazil, a VW pickup — quirky or traditional — would have a difficult time in the U.S. simply because of entrenched opinions about the brand itself. It seems more likely that VW, in partnership with Ford, might badge/engineer a new Amarok pickup (VW does sell pickups in other markets) based on the Ranger. There are also rumors that Ford is interested in selling a pickup smaller than the Ranger, and VW could assist there.
Then again, if the public reaction is favorable enough, maybe the Tarok will end up on our roads.
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