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Volkswagen Tarok Concept: First Look

  • The Volkswagen Tarok is an innovative compact pickup truck concept.

  • A production version of the Tarok is bound for Brazil, but American availability has not been confirmed.

  • Lots of customization options and all-wheel drive make the Tarok up for just about anything.

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a Volkswagen pickup truck for sale in the U.S. Frankly, that probably won’t change any time soon, but as a way to gauge American interest in a compact VW pickup, the brand has brought the Tarok concept to the New York Auto Show to give us a look at it.

Something Different

The Tarok concept is based on Volkswagen’s MQB platform which underpins a wide range of VW and Audi vehicles including the Atlas SUV, which is closest in size to the Tarok. However, the Tarok concept is much more than just an Atlas with a bed. Its unique cabin/bed design allows the back seats to fold down extending the load floor into the cabin, kind of like on the now-discontinued Chevrolet Avalanche. This makes the truck very versatile for hauling long items. Another thing that makes the Tarok a little different is the fact that it has an unibody construction like the Honda Ridgeline.

Although the Tarok is a concept, it actually looks pretty close to production ready inside and out. The exterior design has some design cues borrowed from Volkswagen SUVs, particularly the Atlas, but its interesting pickup truck body with a C-pillar that looks like part of a Targa top makes it look unlike anything in production. On the inside, we see a rugged, yet functional interior with the latest in Volkswagen’s fantastic digital cockpit technology with the whole instrument cluster being a customizable screen plus a 9.2-in infotainment system in the center stack. A cool quirk of the Tarok concept’s interior is a speaker in the center console that can be removed and used as a Bluetooth speaker.

The Volkswagen Tarok concept is powered by a 1.4-liter turbocharged inline-four TSI engine that makes 147 horsepower, which is linked to a 6-speed automatic transmission. As its rugged looks imply, permanent 4Motion all-wheel drive is equipped for off-road adventures and its tall 9.6 inches of ground clearance and approach and departure angles make it look ready to play off the beaten path.

Choose Your Own Adventure

There are several ways you can customize the ride in the Tarok concept using 4Motion Active Control via a rotary knob by the shifter. You can choose from two "Onroad" and "Snow" profiles plus "Offroad" and "Custom Offroad" modes ensuring the perfect AWD configuration for what you need. On top of that, you can choose from six different driving profiles: Comfort, Normal, Sport, Eco and Individual. Versatility is the name of the game with the Tarok concept.

With the small pickup truck market heating up in recent years in the U.S., we’re curious if Volkswagen does have any plans of bringing a production version of the Tarok to the States. The company has said there are no plans for a U.S. spec Tarok, but maybe its reception at the New York auto show could change that. Find a Volkswagen for sale

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