Volkswagen Tarok Concept
Keenly aware of just how popular pickup trucks are in the U.S., Volkswagen came up with a compact pickup-truck concept called the Tarok. They presented it at the 2019 New York Auto Show to gauge whether U.S. audiences would be interested in a VW pickup truck again (remember the Rabbit-based pickup of the early ‘80s?). Prior to the show, Volkswagen spokesman Mark Gillies claimed that some buyers believed pickup trucks were too big, too pricey, and too inefficient with fuel. Going by this, Volkswagen designed their stylish Tarok concept as a small and economical pickup complete with seating for five passengers, a versatile, highly-customizable bed, and a higher-than-expected (for its size) payload capacity of over 2,200 lb. Unlike many concept models, the Tarok looks like something you’d actually see on the road today, and depending on how it’s perceived by U.S. audiences, you may very well get to sit behind the wheel of one someday.
History of Volkswagen and Pickup Trucks
Over forty years ago, the first vehicle that was designed and assembled by Volkswagen in the U.S. came out of a factory in Pennsylvania and was simply known as the “Volkswagen Pickup.” This compact truck was built from the Rabbit chassis that offered a less expensive alternative to full-sized pickup truck variants in a time where gas prices were constantly shifting. Over the course of five years, VW managed to sell 77,514 of these trucks in the U.S. and exported several thousand more before the gas crisis ended and the U.S. preference returned to larger models.
What Do We Know About It?
Not much, but certainly enough to get us excited about the idea of a modern Volkswagen pickup truck hitting the American market. Beneath the hood, you can expect to find the same 147 hp turbocharged 1.4-liter engine used in the Golf hatchback. In the Tarok Concept, though, it would get a six-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive. Volkswagen’s projected maximum payload rating of over 2,200 lb. would range close to the V6-powered Chevrolet Colorado, which would be a most formidable rival. Inside, the Tarok Concept’s cabin is decked out with top-notch features, consisting of a fully digital gauge display, a 9.2-inch infotainment touchscreen, and a removable Bluetooth speaker located in the center console. The large glass roof panel is unique and modern, and the silver belt that runs up the body behind the rear doors, around the roof, and down the other side adds a nice stylistic flair.
Will It Come to the States?
That’s the million-dollar question right now, and we’ll just have to wait and see. The Tarok was dreamed up for the South American market, where large-scale pickups aren’t nearly as popular, so that continent is a more likely recipient. There’s still some time, however, to see what the attitude toward a small European-brand truck would be in North America. If it proves favorable, there’s no doubt that the VW Tarok will begin rolling out sometime within the next few years.