The VW Atlas Tanoak may not fit in with how you view Volkswagen. It’s a safe bet to assume that when you hear “Volkswagen” you think of the Beetle or the Bus, maybe the Jetta. But did you think of a pickup truck? Doubtful.
But you probably should have. The VW Atlas Tanoak may be a foray into new territory for Volkswagen, but it looks like they’re hitting on all cylinders. The Tanoak shares a lot of the specs of the Atlas—it uses the same MQB modular platform, as well as the narrow angle VR6 engine. The truck is 16 inches longer than an Atlas, which includes a five food truck bed. The VR6 engine will output 276 horsepower with 266 pound feet of torque. Reports indicate that the Tanoak will do zero to sixty in about 8.5 seconds, so you won’t be winning any drag races with this truck. The Tanoak has 10 inches of ground clearance and, like most SUVs, it has different settings for terrain, including a low range setting. And since it’s based on the Atlas, the powertrain should already be certified for emissions in the U.S.
There’s plenty of stiff competition in the truck market, so the question remains as to whether VW will actually produce the Tanoak. But there’s a reason for that stiff competition—truck sales make up a huge portion of the automotive industry and it makes sense for VW to try to break into that realm.