Five-seat VW Atlas Cross Sport concept takes on NYIAS 2018

VW Atlas Cross Sport Concept teases 2019’s 5-seat SUV hybrid

Volkswagen will invest around $340 million in the new SUV's market launch - in addition to investments of around $900 million already made to expand the plant for Atlas production. The Ford F-150, in particular, was not only the best-selling truck in the American market, but the top-selling vehicle, period, with volume coming to almost double that of the leading SUV, the Toyota RAV-4.

The Atlas Tanoak Pickup has been named after a tree that's native to the U.S. Pacific Coast and grows to 135 feet.

So, there's plenty of nudging and winking as to how this "concept" might translate to a vehicle you see in dealerships.

The concept unibody pickup Volkswagen introduced Wednesday at the NY auto show would share a platform and powertrain with the brand's three-row Atlas crossover, but is almost 16 inches longer with almost 10 inches of ground clearance. It rides on the MQB platform, which underpins everything from the Golf to the Atlas, and it's that last vehicle with which the Tanoak has the most in common.

But there's a big bed in the back, and almost ten inches of ground clearance underneath.

The German automaker on Wednesday unveiled the Atlas Tanoak concept at the 2018 NY auto show.

There's a new grille, new daytime running LEDs and a more sculpted look to the front quarter panels than the Atlas, while the illuminated Volkswagen badge on the grille is actually illegal in Germany, but legal in the US. It's also got taller suspension emphasized by 20-inch wheels wrapped in off-road tires.

Volkswagen chose to use hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains with the Atlas Sport, at least for for the concept vehicle. The cab and bed are painted in Red Earth.

It looks great but, more importantly, it's useful functionality that other pickup makers aren't yet offering. Meanwhile, the Atlas Tanoak pickup - with its cargo system - is an ideal choice for driving across America's expansive landscapes.

Moving inside, the concept's layout is almost identical to that of the seven-seat Atlas, but there are more gizmos here to befit its status as a show vehicle. The all-wheel-drive-mode control behind the shifter even has its own display and LED lighting.

At first glance, The VW Tanoak appears to be far more suited to the American market than either of those pickups.

But the big reason VW can't just ship the Amarok here is that pesky Chicken Tax, which greatly favors domestically produced trucks.

The Atlas Cross Sport is a smaller five-seat version of the seven-seat Atlas SUV, introduced a year ago. "The decision is what we need".

The Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport concept features a high-voltage plug-in hybrid system using the Atlas' 276-horsepower, 3.6-liter V-6 plus front and rear electric motors and an 18-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery in the center tunnel.

Inside, there's a 10.1-inch central touchscreen with proximity sensors and gesture control, integrated into the horizontal-themed dashboard.

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