QOTD: What Would It Take to Get You Into a Volkswagen Pickup?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

So, who’s excited about the mere possibility of purchasing a German pickup in the relatively near future? Let’s see a show of hands.

Volkswagen says it will build the Atlas Tanoak (pronounced “tan-oke” — unless you’re German, apparently) if the American buying public plays nice. If head office feels good vibes from the concept vehicle’s appearance at the New York International Auto Show, there’ll be a relatively butch-looking new unibody pickup tossed into the midsize market.

Will you be one of the showroom denizens kicking the tires on a Tanoak? While the production version, if built, contains plenty of unknowns — price, payload, practicality — there’s plenty to go on from Wednesday’s unveiling. Maybe a rundown of its would-be rivals is in order.

For the sake of simplicity, let’s say the only version of the Tanoak offered is a crew cab, all-wheel-drive, V6-powered model. The concept contains an eight-speed automatic, so an autobox becomes part of our template, too. Interestingly, its bed length (tailgate up) is 64.1 inches, the longest (by a hair) of a group containing the similar Honda Ridgeline and short-bed versions of the Chevrolet Colorado, Nissan Frontier, and Toyota Tacoma.

Because we’re not used to its presence, as well as the fact that it’s not yet on the market (and Ford hasn’t created a build and price tool), the Ford Ranger won’t appear in this piece.

Of the short-box, six-cylinder, crew cab models here, the Colorado’s 1,548-pound payload just barely tops the Ridgeline’s 1,465-pound rating. The Frontier’s 1,340-pound rating pushes the Tacoma’s (1,175 lbs) to last place. We suspect this rating isn’t top of mind for those looking at smaller trucks, considering there’s deals, deals, deals to be had on 2018 Rams.

In terms of price, the Ridgeline’s the dearest — but only by a pocketful. The unibody Ridgeline Sport AWD tips the financial scales at $36,265 after delivery, just a tick above the Tacoma SR5 4×4 V6’s all-in price of $36,110. The Colorado WT 4WD V6 crew cab’s $32,495 price trails the two imports, but it’s the ancient-but-cheap Frontier S V6 Crew Cab that’s the bargain of the bunch. The decade-old model still delivers big sales numbers for Nissan, and with good reason — outfitted like the others, the Frontier rings in at $30,065, all told.

Once the Ranger arrives, an even tougher market awaits any truck bearing the VW badge. So, how does the Tanoak get noticed? Will it be payload and towing? Overall refinement? Looks? Price? Euro snobbery? If you’re in the market for a midsize, what does the Tanoak have to do to raise your interest enough to even consider a purchase?

[Images: Volkswagen, General Motors]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Lon888 Lon888 on Mar 30, 2018

    Speaking as a current GTI owner - a very, very large crowbar.

  • WildcatMatt WildcatMatt on Apr 17, 2018

    For me, it would be sufficient legroom, a 10/100 warranty, and an out the door price $5k less than a comparable Colorado.

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