Volkswagen will display a concept truck called the Tarok at the 2019 New York International Auto Show this week. It features an innovative pickup bed and unique styling for a midsize pickup.
The Volkswagen Tarok will likely come to South American markets as a production vehicle, the automaker said. It is not clear whether the truck is destined for U.S. dealers. However, Volkswagen of America will monitor response to the vehicle to determine where there is demand for it.
High truck tariffs typically dissuade automakers from exporting trucks to the U.S. VW would have to build the vehicle at a North American plant, like its factory in Chattanooga, Tenn., where it builds its large Atlas SUV, to make Tarok sales in the U.S. feasible.
The Tarok debuts on the heels of the Tanoak, a similarly styled midsize pickup concept unveiled during the New York auto show in 2018. Both trucks are based on a unibody platform, rather than a traditional body-on-frame. The platform is called MQB, or Modular Transverse Matrix. It underpins Volkswagen sedans and crossovers.
The current midsize pickup truck the Tarok resembles most closely is the Honda Ridgeline. It also utilizes a unibody frame for carlike ride quality and fuel efficiency. However, sales of the Ridgeline are far eclipsed by more rugged competitors such as the Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado and Nissan Frontier.
The key to the Tarok is its versatility. Volkswagen equipped the truck with a unique bed. The back of the passenger cabin and rear seats can be folded down to extend the length of the bed into the vehicle’s interior. It creates a load floor that is up to 73.2 inches long on a vehicle that is 193.5 inches long in total. With the tailgate down the load floor increases to 99 inches in length.
An aluminum frame that constitutes the Tarok’s C-pillar at the back of the cab is the truck’s most eye-catching feature. It creates a visual effect similar to targa-style convertibles on some sports cars.
The truck is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 147 horsepower. The Tarok has a six-speed automatic transmission and Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system.
Volkswagen has not announced a maximum towing capacity for the Tarok. However, the maximum payload capacity of 2,271 pounds is very high compared with current midsize pickup trucks.
The Tarok also has minimum ground clearance of 9.6 inches and short front and rear overhangs that enable good approach and departure angles for off-roading. The truck has five driving modes and additional Snow and Offroad settings.