Volkswagen almost never makes a concept car that it doesn’t want to put into production. But that doesn’t mean the Tarok pickup is going to be sold in America just because it’s being shown today the 2019 New York Auto Show.
Last year at the very same show, VW presented the Tanoak concept, and that’s going to enter production for sure. It’s based on the Atlas and will sit alongside it on the factory floor. At the same time, the Germans announced a partnership with Ford that will spawn a new Ranger and a sister truck, the Amarok. However, this concept probably has nothing to do with all of that.
The Tarok is much smaller and was developed for the South American market. The company thinks there some guy with a bar and lumberjack shirt is Pittsburgh or San Diego who wants one, and is using New York to “gauge market reaction for a truly versatile and compact entry-level pickup.”
America has compact trucks like the Toyota Tacoma, but this is completely different. It’s based on crossover bones, so it’s got unibody construction, like that thing Hyundai is working on right now. From bumper to bumper, the Tarok measures only 193.5 inches, so it’s CUV-sized. And for power, the concept shown in Brazil had a 1.4-liter turbo four-cylinder with 147 horsepower… like a Jetta. The rest of the powertrain consists of 4Motion non-permanent AWD and a six-speed automatic gearbox.
Obviously, VW could never get away with that setup. It would need to upgrade to the 2-liter turbo from the Tiguan. While we don’t see the point of this vehicle, the concept is undeniably cool It’s got a car-like interior and driving position, bold LED lights that wrap around both ends, and a really small bed that connects to the cabin through a hatch. It should be cheap to run and easy to park, but is that what people look for in a truck?