Smaller than the Amarok, this truck is headed for South America

Still upset that Volkswagen won’t sell the Amarok truck in the United States? Well, get ready to see yet another VW truck that you won’t be able to buy in the U.S. The Germans are bringing the Tarok to the New York Auto Show only to show you what the South American market will get soon. Just a concept for now, the Tarok will become a production model in 2020.

The Volkswagen Tarok is a cool compact truck

The 2019 Volkswagen Tarok Pickup Concept is Yet Another Teaser of Something We Can't Have
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The Tarok is some 17 inches shorter than the Chevrolet Colorado

Built on the familiar MQB platform and based on the Atlas design-wise, the Tarok looks like a sportier, more modern iteration of the Amarok truck. But it’s actually notably smaller. At 193.5 inches long, the Tarok is 13.4 inches shorter than the Amarok Double Cab, which makes it a compact truck to U.S. standards.

However, the Tarok is actually smaller than the compact trucks you’re able to buy in 2019. It’s some 17-inches shorter than the Chevrolet Colorado and around 14 inches shorter than the Nissan Frontier. Compared to the Toyota Tacoma, the Tarok is a full 20 inches shorter.

This is why this truck looks like an SUV with the back side of the cabin removed. The thick C-pillars and the fact that the bed is fully integrated into the body set it apart from other production trucks. Most of its design is based on the Atlas, and although it looks sportier in the front, it’s far from futuristic. Around back, the tailgate the descends into the bumper and the LED taillights that stretch over the entire width of the fascia reinforce its SUV-like appearance.

2019 Volkswagen Tarok concept - exterior dimensions
Length inches 193.5
Width inches 72
Height inches 66
Wheelbase inches 117.7

The Volkswagen Tarok has an innovative bed

The 2019 Volkswagen Tarok Pickup Concept is Yet Another Teaser of Something We Can't Have
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Although it’s shorter than all U.S.-spec compact trucks, the Tarok has plenty of storage space thanks to an innovative design that allows the bed to extend into the cabin. Volkswagen designed a mechanism that folds the bottom of the passenger cabin, allowing longer items to be loaded into the bed. With the tailgate opened, the Tarok can carry items that are up to 73.2 inches long. This is impressive, but only if we consider the trucks compact size. The rear seats can be removed as well, but the cool thing is that you can leave them in place to transport four passengers in comfort while also being able to store items under the seats.

The Volkswagen Tarok looks like a T-Cross inside the cabin

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Despite the "concept" tag, the Tarok is actually a production-ready vehicle. It’s interior looks similar to some of Volkswagen’s crossovers and shares many of its features with the T-Cross. It does include some fancy features that might not be offered on the lower-priced production trucks, such as the 9.2-inch infotainment system, the configurable, digital instrument cluster, and the color-keyed dashboard and door panels.

The Volkswagen Tarok is small but capable

The 2019 Volkswagen Tarok Pickup Concept is Yet Another Teaser of Something We Can't Have
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The Tarok concept features a tiny 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood. Rated at 147 horsepower, the four-banger mates to a six-speed automatic transmission and the company’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system. While it’s not overly powerful, the Tarok has a payload capacity of up to 2,271 pounds. That’s around 300 pounds less than the Euro-spec Amarok and Ford Ranger, but it’s around 100 pounds more than the Chevrolet Colorado. Impressive!

Engine 1.4-liter four-cylinder
Horsepower 147 HP
Transmission 6-speed automatic
Drivetrain 4Motion all-wheel-drive
Payload 2,271 Lbs

The Volkswagen Tarok isn’t coming to the U.S.

The 2019 Volkswagen Tarok Pickup Concept is Yet Another Teaser of Something We Can't Have
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Although it's not coming to the U.S., Volkswagen wants to gauge market reaction for a compact pickup truck

Although you’ll be able to see it up close at the New York Auto Show, Volkswagen made it clear that it has no plans to bring the Tarok to the U.S. So why is it displaying it in New York? Well, although it’s not coming to the U.S., Volkswagen wants to gauge market reaction for a compact pickup truck. But even if the crowd goes wild, the Tarok might not make it to the U.S. after all. This truck is way too small for this market and the Amarok is a better option against the Chevy Colorado and Toyota Tacoma. Volkswagen trademarked the Amarok name in the U.S. back in 2018, but it has yet to greenlight this truck for North America, most likely because it needs to find a way to produce it in the U.S. rather than import it from other continents.

For the time being, the Tarok is set to go on sale in Brazil and then extend to other emerging markets from South America. The Tarok isn’t the first compact truck from the German company. From 1989 to 1997, Volkswagen sold the Taro (yes, same name, no K), a rebadged version of the fifth-generation Toyota Hilux. The Taro was sold in Europe only as part of a joint venture between Volkswagen and Toyota.

Further Reading

The 2019 Volkswagen Tarok Pickup Concept is Yet Another Teaser of Something We Can't Have
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Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen Tarok Concept.

2019 Volkswagen Atlas Pickup Exterior Exclusive Renderings Computer Renderings and Photoshop
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Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Volkswagen Atlas Pickup.

2018 Volkswagen Amarok High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen Amarok.

Compact pickup features innovative bed and cab design
Production version of concept vehicle expected to go on sale in Brazil soon
Concept vehicle features 1.4-liter TSI® engine and 4Motion® all-wheel drive
Herndon —Volkswagen of America plans to show the Tarok pickup concept for the first time in the U.S. at the New York International Auto Show. This compact unibody pickup was first seen at the Sao Paolo International Motor Show at the end of 2018 and is expected to enter production for the South American market in the near future. Although there are no plans to produce the vehicle for the U.S. market, the Tarok concept is being shown to gauge market reaction for a truly versatile and compact entry-level pickup.

Based on the MQB platform, the Tarok concept is a compact pickup that is 193.5 inches long, yet has the ability to carry loads up to 73.2 inches long thanks to an innovative design that allows the pickup bed to extend into the cab.

Alongside the Atlas, the Tarok concept is one of the largest MQB-based Volkswagen vehicles designed to date. The Tarok concept is 72 inches wide (without wing mirrors) and 66 inches high (without roof rails). The wheelbase is a comparatively long 117.7 inches, which leads to short overhangs of 36.0 inches at the front and 39.8 inches at the back.

The key to the Tarok concept’s versatility is a variable load area. The floor space can be enlarged not only by opening the tailgate, but also using a newly developed mechanism for folding down the bottom of the passenger cabin’s rear panel.

The width of the load area between the wheel arches is 42.9 inches, with a bed length of 47.5 inches with the tailgate in place. Drop the tailgate, and the load area is extended by 27.4 inches. Opening or folding the door to the cabin and folding the rear seats extends the load area by another 25.8 inches. Payload is 2,271 pounds.

The rear seats are unlocked and folded using a mechanism that is quick to operate. The rear panel is then locked from the inside via an electrical system. A sealing mechanism helps ensure that the interior is optimally protected against moisture.

The Tarok concept design shows a close relationship with other Volkswagen SUVs, such as the Atlas and the new T-Cross. It has a tall hood, horizontal bars in the grille that run into the headlights, and LED headlights and Daytime Running Lights. Tarok also gets an underbody skid plate and a roof and A-pillars finished in gloss black.

From the side, the most striking feature is the C-pillar that looks like the bar on a Targa top. The aluminum frame extends from one side of the vehicle to the other, covering the Tarok concept’s rear panel. The other main features are a tornado line designed as a sharp undercut above the door handles and a powerful shoulder section that emerges above it. The 16-inch aluminum-alloy wheels are fitted with 235/70 tires.

A continuous LED strip dominates the rear of the Tarok Concept. This wide light strip is located on the top section of the tailgate and then merges outwards into both rear lights, helping to create an unmistakable light signature at night. The tailgate itself extends right into the bumper, giving a low load height.

The interior features a fully digital design for the instruments and air conditioning control system, and matches the expressive exterior in terms of style as well as color. A glass-covered 9.2-inch Infotainment system and a configurable Volkswagen Digital Cockpit are the central elements within the color-keyed instrument panel. These two elements create a continuous digital and networked cockpit, designed to help make use of a maximum range of online services and apps. Another clever feature is a speaker in the center console that can be removed and connected to a compatible smartphone via Bluetooth.

Located behind the shift lever is the 4Motion® Active Control—a multi-functional rotary knob that is used to control the all-wheel-drive functions and associated driving modes. The driver uses it to activate four higher-level modes and different pop-up menus. If drivers turn the switch to the left, they access two “Onroad” and “Snow” profiles. If the switch is turned to the right, “Offroad” (automatic setting of offroad parameters) and “Custom Offroad” (variable settings) are activated.

The 4MOTION Active Control can be used to adapt all relevant assist systems to the drive situation in seconds. The “Comfort”, “Normal”, “Sport”, “Eco” and “Individual” driving profiles, also selected via 4Motion Active Control, are also integrated. These profiles are used to customize parameters such as the throttle response, gearshift, climate control and steering.

To demonstrate the vehicle’s off-road ability, the Tarok has an approach angle of 23.8 degrees, a departure angle of 26.4 degrees, and a breakover angle of 22.1 degrees. The minimum ground clearance is 9.6 inches.

The Tarok Concept is powered by a 1.4-liter, 147-horsepower four-cylinder turbocharged and direct-injection TSI® engine, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission and permanent 4Motion all-wheel drive.

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