TTAC Photochop: VW Pickup Truck
Volkswagen has been toying with the pickup segment since the 2000 Advanced Activity Concept (AAC), a prototype that blended a luxurious premium interior with… a truck. As Elvis monologued, honey why I've never known (you LIED when you said you loved me; and I had no cause to doubt you). Anyway, the AAC was more of a prelude for the Touareg than a serious design exercise for a production pickup. Almost a decade later, VW's finally going for it, offering a competitor to the Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, et al. Spy photographs indicate that the VeeDub will lose the chrome, Alcantara and all the rest of the upmarket bits that don't look so hot when they're splattered with mud. Black plastic fender flares, bumpers and mirror casings will provide the requisite heavy-duty attitude and affordable price (U.S. full-size pickups are as cheap as chips these days). It's expected to be available as a single cab and double cab– and even in a full SUV version. Is this the small pickup American pistonheads have been pining for?
From my understanding, both the live axle and the body-on-frame construction are about durability. Live axle suspension is dead simple and can take a lot of weight and abuse. Body-on-frame makes body panels non-load-bearin, so you can just take them off and hammer out the dents. Also, it means you can use the platform for all kinds of other things, like aftermarket bed replacements.
Maybe VW should worry about their basement dwelling reliability first. However, the current compact pickups are a bit long in the tooth (the Ranger especially so) so maybe they can gain some traction with this. Used to be VW was the entry door into the world of German sport sedans (i.e. jetta). Today VW is the ????
Adonis, Body on frame means that when you overload it, you are less likely to bend the frame. In fact, the overall reliability will be better for body on frame because even without abuse, it holds up better of the long run. Body on frame vehicles are, in general, longer lasting. The axle is for hauling and towing capacity, and driveability when heavily loaded. Now, a very well designed and built uni-body with independent suspension could last longer than a body on frame one, but it would not be the expected outcome.
All I can say is that they need to bring an updated Rabbit pickup back. They brought the Rabbit back in hatchback form, so they should bring the truck back as well. I've always wanted a Rabbit pickup, but since they haven't been available new for over 20 years in North America, there's no point in trying to buy one that's in rough shape off Ebay. A Rabbit truck with a 2.0 litre TDI would be ideal, and I know they'd sell every one that was available.