Yet another blockbuster as the 2018 NYIAS proves to be the most revealing of the Big Shows for the 2018 MY. Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – March 28, 2017 VW Atlas Tanoak Pickup Concept Who would have thought the last major, the NYIAS, would have had so many cool intros? At the VW Atlas short lead last year, I was sitting around the table with some of the VW PR pros and said, “The Atlas would make for a perfect Pickup truck platform easily taking out Honda’s Ridgeline and even eating into GMs compact trucks.” The response I received was “No way.” All the while I suspect the team must have known about a concept in the works as the pickup truck segment is where the big $s are made here in North America. At this year’s 2018 NYIAS Press days, VW introduced an AWD, dual-cab, short-bed pickup called the “Tanoak” concept. VW stated their Atlas Tanoak pickup truck concept is named after a species of tree that is native to the Pacific Coast in the U.S. (and grows up to 135 feet high in height). The Atlas Tanoak is the first pickup based on Volkswagen’s MQB or modular transverse matrix architecture. Powered by a 276 hp V6 mated to an efficient 8-speed AT through to the 4MOTION AWD. VW stated there are no plans to introduce the Atlas Tanoak, Volkswagen is is watching the largest volume Pickup segment in the world. The Tanoak concept is 214.1 inches long, some 15.8 inches longer than the Atlas, which makes it a large midsize pickup by U.S. standards. The concept vehicle is 79.9 inches wide and 72.6 inches tall, with a wheelbase of 128.3 inches, 11 inches longer than the Atlas seven-seater. The body of the concept vehicle has been raised nearly 2 inches compared to the Atlas SUV, yielding ground clearance of 9.8 inches. Designed as a dual-cab, five-seater, the Atlas Tanoak pickup has a cargo bed that is 64.1 inches long, 57.1 wide (50.4 inches between the wheel wells) and 20.9 inches high. This allows for easy transport of cargo such as bikes or surfboards with the tailgate in place, and ATVs and dirt bikes with the tailgate down. The spare wheel is located under the cargo bed, making it accessible even when fully loaded. A unique feature of this pickup is a rail that is mounted on the pickup bed. Normally, the rail is fixed by the back of the cab, but it can slide the length of the bed and thus doubles as a carrier for things like canoes and ladders. Atlas Tanoak Drivetrain The Atlas Tanoak concept uses Volkswagen’s 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 276 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. The engine provides power to the wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission and the 4MOTION® all-wheel-drive system with Active Control. This lets the driver select from various on- and off-road modes within seconds for optimal grip on dry, wet, slick or unpaved surfaces. For tougher off-road use, the pickup also has a mode that provides a low-range gear reduction. Either on- or off-road, the Atlas Tanoak rides on newly designed 20-inch wheels that wear 275/55 tires. The vehicle will sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds. Atlas Tanoak Design The Atlas Tanoak is a completely redesigned Atlas. The frontal treatment shows off its true pickup nature as the hood is raised with headlamps, front fascia, and round LED DRLs extending into the profile. The standout is the full horizontal length two bar grille is actually a cool looking lightbar! When booted up, the full white VW logo gradually brightens. As soon as the lightbars illumination reach the headlamps, the LEDs of the two strips in front briefly ‘swipe’ out from the logo and back until the LED headlights and distinctive, narrow, six-sided LED DRLs in the bumper activate. A centrally mounted winch and carabiner are front and center with very rugged underbody protection included. Plastic wheelarch extensions, and high-gloss 20-inch wheels that use contrasting aluminum and black coloring finish off the pickup look. When the tailgate is opened, the 64.1” cargo bed is lengthened by an additional 26.1 inches, effectively extending it to 90.2 inches. The Atlas logo is integrated into the tailgate, which also features distinctive wrap-around, animated lighting. Red LED strips on the upper and lower areas of the tailgate transition into three-dimensional LED taillights on the sides. The VW logo is illuminated in white, and there is a white LED stripe in the cargo bed rail, which, when activated, illuminates the cargo bed. The lower part of the rear body is designed both as an underbody shield and a diffuser. Above each exhaust tailpipe sits a rugged towhook. Whether the VW lightbars front and rear would actually make it into a production vehicle remains to be seen but they look cool as hell! Atlas Tanoak Interior The Atlas Tanoak concept is a spacious five-seater. Second row passengers are seated in individual seats that match the design of the front row. The majority of functions, including the A/C controls are operated digitally like the new 2019 Atlas Sport Concept reported previously. 2019 VW Atlas 5-passenger Variant Ambient lighting integrated into the instrument panel and the roofline console immerse the interior in yellow or blue light at night, depending on whether the vehicle is in Off-road or City mode. Arranged on the center console between the driver and front passenger are the newly designed shifter grip for the eight-speed automatic transmission and the redesigned 4MOTION with Active Control, with mode selection via a metallic slider. It was intentionally designed to be very sturdy, so that it can be operated everyday by people who are used to driving a pickup, even while wearing work gloves. Now wouldn’t the Atlas Sport’s Hybrid and PHEV drivetrain inside the Atlas Tanoak be an excellent addition to the VW lineup? Yeah, I thought so.