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

More by Steph Willems

Comments
Join the conversation
2 of 98 comments
  • 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.

  • Ronin The very asking of the question "Are Plug-In Hybrids the Future?" is an interesting one. Because just 2 or 3 years ago we'd be asking- no, asserting- that E cars are the future. We're no longer asking that question.
  • Peter Benn There apparently were some K-code 4-dr sedan Fairlanes. Collectible Automobile Apr 2024 has found a '63 500 with HD 3/spd.
  • Mia Hey there!I recently stumbled upon the Crack Eraser DIY Windshield Repair Kit (check it out here: https://crackeraser.com/collections/diy-windshield-repair-kits) and decided to give it a shot on a small chip in my windshield. I have to say, it worked like a charm! Super easy to use, and it saved me a trip to the professionals. If you're dealing with a similar issue, this kit is definitely worth considering. 😊
  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
Next