2019 Volkswagen Atlas Pickup
Volkswagen might be considering introducing a unibody pickup based on the Atlas three-row crossover within the U.S. market. The news sprang out of the 2017 Detroit auto show in January when CarBuzz talked with VW North America’s chief engineering officer, Dr. Matthias Erb. And while Volkswagen has yet to confirm or deny its intentions toward an Atlas-based pickup, we decided to generate a rendering of what it might look like.
The Atlas-based truck (we’ll just call it the Atlas Truck) would be squarely aimed at the Honda Ridgeline. Like the Pilot on which it’s based, the Ridgeline retains the SUV’s unibody construction, transverse engine arrangement, and crossover-like driving characteristics. Volkswagen would surely follow this same game plan, using its Atlas SUV as the mechanical and design inspiration for a mid-sized, unibody pickup.
Volkswagen and Dr. Erb know full-size, body-on-frame pickups dominate the American pickup market from the traditional domestic automakers. Breaking into that territory is tough, as evidenced by the lukewarm sales figures of Nissan’s new Titan pickup. He told CarBuzz: "More than 80 percent of trucks in the U.S. are full-size. Three main automakers own this segment: Ford, GM, and Ram. They’re not just about to let someone else invade their turf.”
So rather than tackling the full-size pickup segment, VW would be smart to compete against the Ridgeline. As for sales, the new-for-2017 Ridgeline is doing extremely well, having nearly doubled sales in just the last few months in 2016 since its next-best year in 2008.
So what would an Atlas Truck look like? Keep reading for our speculation.
Volkswagen has designed and built the Saveiro especially for the South American market. The vehicle was developed with a pretty small budget so don’t expect to the same quality as the European Volkswagen products.
Though, the Saveiro keeps many Volkswagen traits which make it a highly desirable pickup, such as reliability and strong build quality.
The Volkswagen Saveiro competes on the South American market with models like the Fiat Strada, Chevrolet Montana o or Ford Courier. It’s powered by a 1.6 liter four cylinder flex fuel engine capable of running on both gasoline and ethanol blends.
The vehicle is offered in three trim levels namely the Saveiro, Saveiro Trooper and Saveiro Cross (or Cavalier). The Volkswagen Saveiro is also available in both single and extended cab configurations with maximum payloads of 715 kg and 700 kg respectively.
The Amarok is the newest pickup in Volkswagen’s lineup of commercial vehicles and was launched in 2011. The vehicle was designed for South America, Europe and New Zeeland markets and will compete with models like the Toyota Hilux.
The Volkswagen Amarok features a modern exterior design combined with a top notch build quality and the overall refinement typical for the German manufacturer.
The vehicle also comes with the latest Volkswagen technologies engineered for commercial purposes and it’s fitted with a six speed gearbox, low range transfer box, permanent four wheel drive, locking centre and rear differentials. Under the hood it gets two capable diesels units with a displacement of 2.0 liters.
The Volkswagen name is usually associated with good products. The company builds passenger cars, commercial vehicles and even trucks and all of its models receive good marks at the reliability and technology chapters.
One of the most popular commercial vehicles sold by the company is the small Caddy van. The new Caddy is one of the best products you can buy on today’s market and it’s now considered a benchmark in its segment.
The older Caddys weren’t as popular as the new ones, but they offered the same reliability levels and the strong build quality which is typical for the German manufacturer. The 1996 Volkswagen Caddy was sold until 2003 and was based on the small Polo Platform which gave it very capable handling abilities.
The Volkswagen LT was sold between 1996 - 2006 and was replaced by the Crafter. This big panel van was based on the Mercedes Sprinter, but it didn’t get the same attention as its three pointed star sibling.
Though, the vehicle was fairly practical thanks to its big, bulky body and had a spacious and strong built interior.
The Volkswagen LT was available with various engine outputs that developed between 90 hp and 130 hp. Gross vehicle weights varied from 2.8 tonnes to 4.6 tonnes with a starting price of $ 25.300. There were also three wheelbases and two roof heights available.
There aren’t many vans out there that have the same reputation as the Volkswagen Transporter. This model was always ahead of the pack when it comes to build quality and longevity and is around since 1950s.
The T4 was the fourth generation of the Transporter and was sold between 1996 – 2003. The T4 had the strong genes of the previous Transporters in its bones, which helped it earn itself a tremendous reputation fairly fast.
At that time the turbo diesel technology was only at its beginning, so in 1996 the vehicle was launched only with a standard 1.9 diesel unit, being followed by a 2.5 liter turbo engine in 1999. Continuing the heritage of its versatile predecessors the Transporter T4 was offered in various shapes namely as panel van, chassis cab, crew cab and even a four wheel drive model.
Despite its old age, the Volkswagen Transporter T4 can be still seen on today’s roads and kept its value well on the second hand market.
The Volkswagen Caddy has always disguised its cost controls beneath a veneer of high quality materials and tidy manners. Unlike most of today’s LCV which come which cheap and rudimentary interiors, the Caddy had always lead the way with comfortable cabs and top notch build quality.
Without a doubt, the new model represents the peak in Caddy’s history, but the previous model wasn‘t far behind it either.
The third generation of Caddy was based on the Touran platform, which gives it a spacious cabin and a big load area. The vehicle was offered with 2.0 SDI and a 1.9 TDI turbo engines.
In the small LCV realm, the Volkswagen Caddy competes against rivals like the Ford Transit Connect, Citroen Berlingo or Peugeot Partner. The Caddy was always slightly more expensive than its rivals, but its biggest advantage was its standard sliding side door which at its rivals was offered only as an optional feature.
Since it was launched for the first time in 1950 the Volkswagen Transporter range was considered a benchmark in its segment. The newest generation was launched in 2010 and continues to be among the best vans available on today’s market.
The previous model was commercialized between 2003 and 2009 and despite its old age it managed to hold its value well on the used market, being among the most wanted vehicle in this class.
Since its inception, the Transporter range was continuously improved and the 2003 generation was bigger, more powerful and more comfortable than its predecessor. The Volkswagen Transporter goes head to head with models like the Ford Transit or Opel Vivaro and it’s offered with a choice of two diesels which develop between 85 hp and 174 hp.
The fourth generation Volkswagen Caddy was launched in 2010 and received a new exterior style, stronger engines and improved dynamics and functionality.
While the first generations of the Caddy were based on a stretched Polo platform, the latest two generations were built using the larger Touran platform which offers more space inside and better dynamics.
The new Volkswagen Caddy continues to have a pretty competitive price which starts from only $21.990. The vehicle competes with strong rivals such as the Ford Transit Connect, Fiat Doblo, Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Partner, but it has anything it takes to stack up with success against all of them.
To be able to satisfy the need of a wide range of customers the Volkswagen Caddy is offered with numerous engine options and GVWs (gross vehicle weight) of up to 2247 kg.
The Volkswagen Worker is sold solely on the South American market together with the bigger Constellation model.
The truck was designed as a basic mechanical work horse which is able to do a wide range of jobs with minimum costs and maximum productivity.
The Volkswagen Worker range is offered with numerous wheelbases including 2,850, 3,300, 3,900 and 4,300 mm lengths with various GVWs (gross vehicle weights) that range between 8 tonne to 31 Tonne. Thanks to its long list of options and body versions the Volkswagen Worker is among the most versatile vehicles built by the German manufacturer.
The Volkswagen Constellation is almost completely unknown in Europe and US, but in South America the truck is pretty successful. The truck is manufactured since 2005 in cooperation with MAN in Brazil and is available with gross combined weights between 14.3 tons - 62.8 tons.
The Volkswagen Constellation is the biggest vehicle in Volkswagen’s lineup and was designed for long haul and other distribution operations. The Volkswagen Constellation features a cab over engine configuration and is offered with numerous wheelbases and specifications. The truck comes with a range of Cummins and MWM diesel engines which come in three power outputs.
The Volkswagen Transporter range cab was launched for the first time in 1950. Since then it was continuously improved and today is one of the most capable commercial vehicles from the market. The model received major style and technical modifications in 2003, to be able to compete with success against models like the Ford Transit or Opel Movano. The most recent upgrade was made in 2010, but most of the changes were made under the bonnet and the overall designed remained mostly the same.
The Volkswagen Transporter chassis cab is available in both long and short wheelbases with either front or all wheel drive configurations and comes with a choice of single or double cabs.
With gross vehicle weights between 2.8-3.2 tones the vehicle has a starting price of $20.204 and is available with two diesel engines with maximum outputs, ranging from 85bhp 1.9 TDI to the 174bhp 2.5 TDI.
The Volkswagen Crafter is built on the same platform as the Mercedes Sprinter and shares a lot of common elements with its conational sibling. The Volkswagen Crafter, was introduced in 2006, and was designed for the 3 to 5 tonne segment. Basically, the Crafter is the third generation of the Volkswagen LT truck, which was around since 1975.
There are three wheelbases available from 3.25m to 4.33m, three roof heights (low, high and extra high) and four body lengths, from 5.24m to 7.34m. And, with a load space that ranges from 7.5m3 to 17m3 the Crafter is capable of carrying payloads of up to 2,693kg. The Volkswagen Crafter is also available in both Single- and Crew-cab configurations and has a starting price of $36.000.