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NY LIVE: Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak concept

by Byron Hurd

Volkswagen offers a Ridgeline-like pickup concept for public consideration.

Volkswagen brought a surprise to New York in the form of a pickup truck concept--something VW fans (and perhaps only VW fans) have been clamoring for since we can remember.

As the name suggests, the Atlas Tanoak is based on the company's new range-topping crossover. The three-row Atlas gets half its rear passenger compartment clipped off in favor of a pickup bed a la Honda's Ridgeline.

The Tanoak concept is a little longer than the production Ridgeline, both in overall length and wheelbase. The Tanoak shares its wheelbase with the Atlas (128.3 inches) and stretches to 214.1 overall. Ridgeline rides on a three-inch shorter wheelbase and is four inches shorter overall.

Unlike Volkswagen's Atlas Sport Cross concept, the Tanoak is conventionally powered. Under the hood is the old-fashioned V6 from the three-row, packing 276 horsepower and 266lb-ft of torque (again a near-mirror to Honda's specs).

These numbers so perfectly match the Ridgeline's, in fact, that we're inclined to believe VW has every intention of bringing the Tanoak to market.

There's more to it than that, of course. Unlike the (previous and long-time VW fan fetish) Amarok, this concept is sporting a powertrain that is already U.S-certified. Further, it's on a platform that is built here (which helps VW avoid Chicken Tax complications and any forthcoming Trump administration tariffs) and will not require any special hoop-jumping for parts and service considerations.

Where this theory runs into trouble is with the same Volkswagen customers who have long wanted such a pickup, as the midsize truck's diesel powertrain and (relatively, mind you) smaller dimensions were seen as selling points.

We expect to learn more regarding Volkswagen's ultimate plans for the Tanoak concept in the coming weeks. Stay tuned.

Live photos by Brian Williams.