New Atlas Tanoak Pickup Concept Is VW's Love Letter To America
- Author: Rogelio Becker Mar 29, 2018,
Mar 29, 2018, 1:16
The Volkswagen Atlas will both shrink and expand in 2019. The company says that 54 percent of its US sales already are being generated by the new-for-2018 Tiguan compact SUV and the current three-row Atlas mid-size family SUV.
Also it is part and parcel of the SUV drive begun by VW. A more mainstream Atlas Cross Sport is seen as a better fit as a sportier two-row SUV for the US than the departed Touareg. The Atlas Cross Sport is created to bridge the gap between those two, providing SUV punters reason not to buy a BMW X4, for example.
It is a concept to test the market reaction to the project, with Volkswagen insiders insisting they could turn it into a production reality in its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant "pretty quickly".
Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak concept Enlarge
Compared with the bigger Atlas SUV, the Atlas Tanoak is 15.8-inches longer, at a near-Ford F-150-like 214.8-inches overall, with 9.8-inches of ground clearance, its chassis up two inches versus the Atlas SUV.
The Atlas Tanoak Concept is designed as a dual cab, five-seat configuration with a short bed. Headroom for the second row may be a little tighter - a trade-off for the slanted C-pillars and rakish roofline with panoramic moonroof that stretches into a rear roof spoiler with black fins.
The headlamps themselves are different from the seven-seat Atlas, and the daytime running lights match up neatly with the illuminated slats on the grille. Why show the flexibility of the Atlas platform with a vehicle that will never actually see the light of day? The Atlas Tanoak has a more rugged appearance to match its off-road capabilities with a raised bonnet and rugged underbody protection, which houses a centrally mounted winch and carabiner. Therefore, there are three displays, one each for the instrument cluster (12.3-inch), infotainment system (10.1-inch) and climate control system. The active LED lighting features are replicated at the rear. The Atlas Cross Sport concept is a plug-in hybrid, with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that offers 276 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque being joined by two electric motors. Shifting for the concept's six-speed automatic is via an electronic toggle shifter. That, the automaker suggests, could mean a 0-60 miles per hour time of 5.4 seconds and a 130 miles per hour top speed.
Alternatively, the Atlas Cross Sport Concept could also features a mild hybrid powertrain that uses the same setup as before, but with a smaller 2 kWh battery. But that may not be its name when it goes into production at the end of 2019.