Volkswagen revealed its Atlas Tanoak pickup concept at the 2018 New York Auto Show, but before we go any further, let's clarify a couple of things. The first: A Tanoak is an evergreen tree native to the Western United States that can grow up to 130 feet tall. The second is that, while Volkswagen has no plans to put the Atlas Tanoak into production at this time, it has provided us a rather detailed description of dimensions and powertrain that makes us think this is more than simply a wild-eyed concept.
The Atlas Tanoak is based on Volkswagen's MQB platform, which already underpins a wide variety of cars in VW's portfolio, from superminis in Europe to the Arteon and Atlas in the States. And powering the Tanoak is VW's 3.6-liter V6 FSI engine making 276 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. Power is routed through an eight-speed automatic transmission and Volkswagen's 4Motion all-wheel-drive system with various on- and off-road driving modes.
Sizewise, the five-passenger double-cab Tanoak is similar to the Honda Ridgeline and the Toyota Tacoma with an overall length of 214.1 inches. In contrast, Honda and Toyota double cabs are 210 and 212.3 inches long, respectively. And the Tanoak is wider and taller than both, at 79.9 inches wide and 72.6 inches tall, putting it at the larger end of the midsize pickup truck class.
Though based on the Atlas, the body of the Tanoak has been raised about 2 inches to give the truck 9.8 inches of ground clearance. This concept rides on 275/55 tires wrapped around 20-inch wheels, and though it looks cool, we doubt that combination would make it to production.
A pickup truck is made by its cargo capacity, and the Tanoak has a bed that measures 64.1 inches long and 57.1 inches wide by 20.9 inches high. Between the wheelwells is 50.4 inches of space and, with the traditional tailgate dropped, the cargo bed extends to 90.2 inches.
Inside, the Tanoak is similar to the Atlas Cross Sport Concept we saw with digital touchscreens for infotainment and climate control, ambient lighting and attractive, highly contoured seats. Outside, the pickup concept is wrapped in LED lighting front and rear, including inside the cargo bed and an illuminated VW logo. We're hoping that last bit doesn't make it to production.
Even though the automaker says the truck is simply a design exercise, VW is keen to gauge market and media interest for future production. And with pickup trucks one of the biggest volume segments in the U.S., we think VW would be silly not to try.