Volkswagen’s latest concept, when taken in light of a recent announcement of collaboration with Ford on some projects, may signal that the German giant is ready to enter the pickup market in North America with the compact Tarok.
The compact pickup, recently unveiled in concept form at the São Paulo International Motor Show in Brazil, is roughly the same size as Ford’s upcoming Ranger pickup. Volkswagen says the production version will soon launch in the Brazilian market, and it’s versatile enough to adapt to other markets.
The 4Motion (all-wheel drive) 5-seat crew cab/short box pickup features some clever features, most notably the latest take on the extendable bed into the cabin, using a folding rear seatback panel to expand the bed load floor from 1,206 mm to 1,861 mm (and 2,775 mm, with the tailgate down). It also has a large glass roof that can open almost the entire cabin up.
“The Tarok’s DNA adds an exhilarating dynamic to the segment,” says Volkswagen’s head designer Klaus Bischoff. “With its striking Targa-inspired roof bar, charismatic front end, three-dimensional LED lighting strip in the rear, and powerful yet stylish side panels, the Tarok Concept’s expressive design makes it the first pick-up to combine the stylistic elements of an urban SUV with an authentic off-road design.”
The interior is heavy on digital, with the focus on the almost fully-glass instrument panel housing a large infotainment touchscreen control centre, and the wide instrument cluster in front of the steering wheel, which can display a large navigation screen when not being used by the usual instrumentation.
The engines would have to be adapted to the North American consumer, but the concept uses a 148-hp 1.4-litre turbocharged 4-cylinder that can use a combination of ethanol and gasoline up to 100% ethanol. Power delivery is handled by a 6-speed automatic.
The production version in Brazil, which VW says will come to market largely unchanged from the concept, will use the 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbodiesel that also puts out 148 hp.