Volkswagen teases the Tarok pickup truck for the U.S. at New York Auto Show

Volkswagen Tarok concept driving

Volkswagen is bringing the Tarok concept to the 2019 New York Auto Show. The compact pickup truck was first seen at the Sao Paolo International Motor Show in Brazil last year, but this North American appearance is mean to “gauge market reaction for a truly versatile and compact entry-level pickup.”

In other words, Volkswagen is taunting us, but it also means there’s a chance the Tarok could end up in dealerships in the U.S. Although it’s referred to as a concept, a production version of the pickup has already been confirmed for the Brazilian market.

Size-wise, the Tarok is truly a compact pickup truck, not only 4.8 inches shorter than the Volkswagen Atlas but also nearly a foot and half shorter than the Ford Ranger. To make up for that size deficit the second-row seats and a panel beneath the rear window in the quad-cab Tarok fold down. With the tailgate dropped, that allows for a maximum of 73.2 inches of floor space. The pass-through panel is similar to the one on the short-lived Subaru Baja; the rear glass is fixed in the concept truck.

Volkswagen Tarok concept front 3/4
Volkswagen Tarok concept pickup surf board
Volkswagen Tarok concept interior
Volkswagen Tarok concept overhead rear 3/4

The Tarok’s interior is similar to other modern Volkswagens, right down to the production-style center shift lever for the six-speed automatic transmission. The concept truck features VW’s Digital Cockpit instrument cluster.

Power wise, the concept comes with a 147-horsepower 1.4-liter turbo four-cylinder from the VW parts shelf. The Brazilian production version will come with a 2.0-liter diesel making the same power.

If a production Tarok makes it to the United States, chances are it will need a more power to be appealing to the pickup truck set like the 235-hp 2.0-liter turbo that serves as the base engine in the Atlas. In theory, such parts swapping would be straightforward, as both the Atlas and Tarok are based on VW’s MQB platform. That also means, in theory, the Tarok could be made in VW’s Chattanooga plant.

The V-6 version of the Atlas can tow up to 5000 pounds. Assuming similar specs in the Tarok, a Volkswagen truck could carve out its own niche with smaller dimensions, comfortable on-road manners thanks to the unibody construction, and enough versatility and capability to still be useful.