VW's Atlas pickup truck concept is real, but don't get too excited
Yes, the Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak concept is super duper cool. And no, you cannot have one.
Steven EwingFormer managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
I'm not trying to be a buzzkill or anything, but I'm going to start this story about the
Tanoak pickup truck concept by copying and pasting a line directly from
"Although there are currently no production plans for the Atlas Tanoak, Volkswagen is keen to gauge the reactions of buyers and media, since pickup trucks are one of the biggest volume segments in the US."
Let me reiterate: No production plans. None. Got it? Cool. Let's move on.
Hey you guys! Volkswagen made an Atlas pickup truck. A dual-cab, short-bed, mid-size, Atlas-based pickup truck. It's based on the same MQB architecture that underpins the Atlas SUV, but has an extended wheelbase, and spans a full 214.1 inches in length -- 11 inches longer than the 7-passenger Atlas -- with nearly 10 inches of ground clearance. Volkswagen's flexible MQB architecture underpins cars as small as the European-spec Polo and the US-spec Atlas; this truck concept shows it still has room to grow.
Volkswagen says the Atlas Tanoak is powered by the company's 3.6-liter naturally aspirated V6, with 276 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. It's mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission and uses 4Motion all-wheel drive. If that all sounds familiar, it's because that's the exact same powertrain as the top-trim Atlas SUV. The pickup concept rides on 20-inch wheels wrapped in 275/55-series tires, and it'll apparently sprint to 60 miles per hour in 8.5 seconds... for whatever that's worth.
The resemblance to the Atlas SUV -- not to mention the smaller Atlas Cross Sport Concept -- is certainly clear. Light-up badges adorn the front and rear, the rear door handles are integrated into the truck's C-pillar and the low-hinged tailgate adds 26.1 inches of length to the already sizeable 64.1-inch bed.
A number of thoughtful pickup truck touches are found inside, including a redesigned shifter that's easier to handle while wearing work gloves. Otherwise, while the majority of the truck's interior is new, the Tanoak bears a solid resemblance to the Atlas on which its based.
Oh, and as for the name Tanoak? That's a species of tree native to the US Pacific region. In other words, it's just another hard-to-pronounce name from the folks who gave us Touareg and Arteon.
The big question, really, is why? Why go through the effort of making a pickup truck concept that won't likely enter production? Why show the flexibility of the Atlas platform with a vehicle that will never actually see the light of day?
If anything, at least it gives me a nice gallery to run every time I write a story reminding you that, no, Volkswagen will not be bringing a pickup truck to the US anytime soon.
Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak Concept is a pickup truck tease