VW's Atlas pickup truck concept is real, but don't get too excited

NYIAS: Volkswagen To Test The Waters For A US Built Unibody Pickup Concept

How much of this will make it from concept to production remains to be seen.

Last week, VW said it would invest $340 million to bring the new SUV to market.

The production version of the VW Atlas Cross Sport will launch in the U.S.in 2019. The Cross Sport will be the model which will bridge the gap between the standard three-row seating Atlas and the Tiguan. Designed as a dual-cab, five-seater, the Atlas Tanoak pickup has a cargo bed that is 64.1 inches long, 57.1 wide (50.4 inches between the wheel wells) and 20.9 inches high. This size puts it square in the midsize truck market in the US the added length also gives the Tanoak a bed that's 64.1 inches long; long enough to haul ATVs and other commonly carried items within this truck segment.

Design-wise, the Atlas Cross Sport looks more dynamic than the seven-seat Atlas, thanks to a sportier stance, sleekly raked C-pillars, as well as short overhangs.

Volkswagen is now presenting - at the New York International Auto Show - two new versions of the Atlas developed for the US: the Atlas Cross Sport1 and the Atlas Tanoak1. Volkswagen said it doesn't yet have plans to put the concept into production, but is using it to gauge potential consumer interest, given the brand's volume aspirations of reaching 5 percent of the US light-vehicle market within 10 years. At the front, there's a two-bar grille - down one bar versus the 7-seat Atlas - but that still encompasses the LED headlamps and daytime running lights.

Moving inside, a 10.1-in touchscreen with proximity sensors and gesture control provides access to all infotainment functions for both driver and front passenger, while the 12.3-in Volkswagen Digital Cockpit with 1,440 x 540 pixel resolution lets the driver control and view driving mode and navigation information. The all-wheel-drive-mode control behind the shifter even has its own display and LED lighting.

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Volkswagen says the vehicle defaults to an all-electric mode that has 26 miles of range. It's mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission and uses 4Motion all-wheel drive.

With that drivetrain, Volkswagen estimates the Atlas Cross Sport would be able to accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in 6.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 130 miles per hour.

Perhaps more likely as an electrification option is a mild-hybrid version of the Atlas Cross Sport, which Volkswagen says would use a 2-kwh pack to deliver net power of 310 hp and 0-to-60-mph acceleration in 6.5 seconds.

Used everywhere from the Golf all the way up to the Atlas, Volkswagen will test the MQB's versatility by asking it to take on superminis in Europe with the Polo and, at the other end of its range, to take on the huge selling Ford F150 and the Chevrolet Silverado.

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