Volkswagen said it has no plans just yet to put the Tanoak into production, but of course "is keen to gauge the reactions of buyers and media, since pickup trucks are one of the biggest volume segments in the U.S".
VW has outfitted the concept plug-in hybrid with a choice between E-Mode, Hybrid, GTE, Off-road and Battery Hold/Battery charge modes.
The concept unibody pickup Volkswagen introduced Wednesday at the NY auto show would share a platform and powertrain with the brand's three-row Atlas crossover, but is almost 16 inches longer with almost 10 inches of ground clearance.
The Cross Sport sits on the same Volkswagen MQB platform and has the same wheelbase as the three-row Atlas, but it's 7.5 inches shorter at 190.8 inches long. At the back, there's a 64-inch long bed, while the cabin has room for five.
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The exterior includes a two-bar grille at the front that are illuminated in white and operates as LED daytime running lights, according to the company.
The same exaggerated proportions continue at the rear, with the bed clearly distinct from the double-cab by virtue of a sweeping trim line. 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.
Volkswagen chose to use hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains with the Atlas Sport, at least for for the concept vehicle.
Inside, the Tanoak follows the trend of more digitization in pickups with "the majority of functions" digitally controlled. Just like in a Honda Ridgeline, the experience behind the wheel is more vehicle than utility; where the Honda is stolidly earnest, though, the Atlas Tanoak can take greater liberties. The all-wheel-drive-mode control behind the shifter even has its own display and LED lighting.
The Atlas Tanoak concept is powered by a 3.6L V6 that generates 276 horsepower and 266 lb-ft. of torque. This is somewhat in contrast to the gearshift controls, which VW says were created to be operated while wearing work gloves.
As we write this, we have little more to go on than what was included in the press release. In upcoming years, two more models will be launched there: the production version of the Atlas Sport Cross and the all-electric I.D. "We need to look at data and see what's available". The digital instrumentation that replaces the analog gages is a league ahead of what just about every truck out there offers today, while VW's infotainment system gets a big touchscreen to play with in the center console.