VW Atlas Tanoak: The MQB pickup is finally out

VW /Patrick Lang
VW Atlas Tanoak (2018)
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As part of the Chicago Auto Show, VW-US Marketing Vice President Hein Schafer dispelled the hopes of everyone who wanted a large pickup from Volkswagen. The reactions to the A tlas Tanoak were definitely positive, but the group lacks the resources for large-volume production. In addition, further work on the platform would have been necessary, since the modular transverse matrix ultimately shows too many barriers for a large pickup truck. All in all, the company does not see an economically viable path in this. It's actually a shame, because we've even ridden the Concept.

That would have been your price

The size of the Tanoak alone is impressive: The Tanoak is 5.44 in length Meters is a whopping 56 centimeters longer than the Touareg recently presented in China. In addition, 2.03 meters make the Tanoak 5 centimeters wider than the Touareg and with a good 1.84 meters the pick-up with the transverse engine towers over the longitudinal-engine SUV, which is no longer offered in the USA becomes to 14 centimeters. A huge thrill, even compared to the 7-seater Atlas (+ 34 centimeters in length), which at 5.04 meters is the largest series model in the VW range. And all on the basis of the modular transverse matrix, which the compact Golf also uses.

The wheelbase between the relatively modest 20-inch models extends over 3.26 meters (+ 28 centimeters compared to the Atlas). Nonetheless, the Tanoak, as a series model, belonged to the mid-size pick-ups in the USA - like the Atlas to the mid-size SUV. Compared to this, the body of the study has been raised by 4.5 centimeters; the entry height at the front is around 35 centimeters, at the back it is even around 37 centimeters

Good view in the MQB pick-up

It's about the seating position and the feeling in this pickup. We can now test all of its facets, we are told. Because a real driving report would be inappropriate at this point. First, we are not allowed to drive faster than 30 km /h. Second, the study is far from ready for series production - so there is not much to report about driving behavior.

Martin Meiners
For long straight trips, the Atlas Tanoak would be perfect for cruising.

The seats can be used for little ones and put tall drivers in the right position. If you start the 3.6 liter VR6 petrol engine, it thunders aggressively. Unfortunately, he is not allowed to let off steam today - even 280 HP and 350 Newton meters of torque do not help.

What is certain is that the high seating position in the remodeled VW Atlas fits incredibly well into the United States. On the long, straight streets you have an extremely good overview and parking problems are practically non-existent here. There are just as few space problems on the huge asphalt surfaces in front of the malls as in front of the garage in your own house entrance - at least that's what most Americans should be.

A bit wide for German streets

The idea To maneuver the 5.44 meter long and 2.03 meter wide ship in Stuttgart-Süd, on the other hand, arouses a less good gut feeling. Not to mention the motorway construction sites, whose lanes in Germany are often two meters wide. That would not be enough for the Tanoak - it would have to drive on the right.

Design lives from animated lighting

Up to the B-pillar, the pick-up and the Atlas are of course very similar. The wheel arch extensions made of robust plastic are specially designed for the pick-up, however, the Atlas versions go their own way from the B-pillar. The rear door handles, which are almost invisibly integrated in the C-pillars, conceal the rear doors. This makes the double cabin appear particularly long. The cabin and cargo box are both visually connected by a strikingly designed joint.

VW
The eye-catching LED lighting characterizes the rear view of the Tanoak.

But the real hit is the animated lighting at the rear. When the door is unlocked, the VW logo first dims, then the two red LED strips below and above the tailgate “open” from the center outwards; as soon as they reach the LED taillights, these are also activated. In the meantime, the LEDs on the two strips “wipe” one more point from the outside to the inside for a brief moment, until all the LED elements light up, which gives the Tanoak a characteristic nighttime design. The light doesn't just go on at the front either: when you open the Atlas Tanoak, the white illuminated VW logo dims; from there, the white light “runs” over the two radiator grille LED crossbars into the border of the headlights. In the end, the LED headlights and the hexagonal LED daytime running light elements in the bumper are also activated.

Interior with digital cockpit

Similar to Cross Sport, the instruments and controls are largely digitalized, but the control elements, thanks to the combination of digital touch surfaces and robust toggle buttons (for example in the air conditioning panel, the roof console and the operation of the all-wheel drive Modes) the more robust character.

VW
The cockpit is similar to that of the Atlas Cross Sport.

There is space for five in the double cabin of the Tanoak , whereby you sit a little more upright in the rear than, for example, in cross sport. The knee room at the back also looks a little less lush than in the SUV coupé presented at the same time. But on the other hand, the extremely high seating position at the front looks extremely bossy and the cockpit as modern as the pictures had suggested. The leather on the seats in the concept car is super soft and feels extremely comfortable. But the real bang is evident when looking out of the rear window: The loading area is around 1.63 meters long, 1.45 wide (1.28 meters through-loading width betweenthe wheel houses) and 53 high. With the loading flap open, almost a double bed (the flap measures 66 centimeters and extends the loading area to 2.29 meters) - or space for the new tumble dryer, even though the washing machine, dishwasher and stove are already charged. VW has such mundane transport ideas for the show car of course not. The loading area is intended for bikes, boards and smaller boats. For this purpose, VW has developed a cargo bar that can be released from its rest position in the rear window area of ​​the double cabin and moved on the side walls of the cargo box. For example, canoes could be securely attached to the cargo bracket and the roof of the Atlas Tanoak using fixing points. Under the loading area there is space for a fully-fledged spare wheel instead of storing it in a spare wheel well like in the SUV - so that the spare wheel remains accessible even when fully loaded.

For Europeans it may be difficult to imagine that drivers need so much space , but the design could also resonate with the old world and is considerably more glamorous than that of the pragmatic Amarok. Since it is not built in the USA, the considerably smaller Amarok, which is not based on the MQB, will not find its way onto the US market without Trump's import fines due to high tariffs. That would be different with a series tanoak. VW would produce it like the Atlas in Chattanooga.

Automatic and all-wheel drive

The Tanoak is named Incidentally, based on a tree species that is native to the US Pacific coast and grows up to 45 meters high. It would fit well in the Midwest, where most customers buy cars in the highest-volume vehicle class in the North American market. In keeping with the robust need for mobility with long ranges, the Tanoak dispenses with hybrid drive, as VW shows with the Cross Sport. The Tanoak is powered by the 3.6-liter VR6 petrol engine with 280 hp, which is also the top engine in the Atlas. It transmits its maximum torque of 350 Nm to both axles via the Aisin 8-speed automatic. With the all-wheel drive, the Tanoak should be able to sprint from 0 to 100 km /h in 8.8 seconds.

Various on- and off-road modes can be set via a drive program switch. In addition, unlike the Atlas SUV, the pick-up has a reduction stage - mechanical grip is the trump card for the targeted clientele. The only drawback: Competitors to be taken seriously, such as the Ford F-150, the best-selling car in the USA, all have a ladder frame, an ancient but stable and particularly robust construction. Can the MQB be designed for similarly high payloads and trailer loads? VW admits that an MQB pick-up would tend to serve the lifestyle side of the pick-up segment - such as the Honda Ridgeline, the pick-up without a ladder frameOn the manufacturer's website, instead of using construction materials to pose with cross motorcycles or other leisure equipment.

Depending on how popular the study is, VW would have to calculate the number of units a lifestyle pick-up could and whether the investments in the third Atlas model could pay off. Advantage of the Tanoak: The technology would be close to that of the Atlas and the investment would be more manageable. But first, as many thumbs up as possible are missing from the audience.

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