Today, the pick-up has become more of a lifestyle vehicle used for daily commuting as well as recreation. It’s still used for rough work, so it has to be tough underneath but looks-wise, style is now important where before it was a secondary matter. The carmakers have responded accordingly to this trend and as with the Amarok, Volkswagen’s new and smaller pick-up to be introduced in the near future prioritizes style.

Introduced as the Tarok Concept, it is said to be ‘production ready’ and, with few changes, will go on sale in Brazil in 2019. “The Tarok Concept’s expressive design makes it the first pick-up to combine the stylistic elements of an urban SUV with an authentic off-road design,” declared Klaus Bischoff, Head Designer at the Volkswagen brand, at the unveiling of the concept truck during the Sao Paulo International Motor Show which is on this week.

“With its striking Targa-inspired roof bar, charismatic front end, three-dimensional LED lighting strip in the rear, and powerful yet stylish side panels, we have succeeded in merging the practical advantages of the Tarok Concept with a lifestyle-oriented design,” he said.

An important design feature in the 5-seater Tarok Concept is its variable cargo area concept. The floor space can be extended by opening the tailgate or using a mechanism that allows the bottom of the passenger cab rear panel to be folded down. As a result, the back of the cab can also be used to transport extra-long items. Analogous to this variability, the maximum load is correspondingly high at around one tonne.

The interior indicates a new way forward for Volkswagen in the pick-up segment, with its primarily digital design. Eye-catching elements include a colour-keyed crossbar in Cypress Metallic that stretches across the entire dash panel. This crossbar surrounds a glass-covered Infotainment system, digital air conditioning controls and a Digital Cockpit, which together form the main cockpit elements with all displays and controls on a single visual and operational axis.

The Tarok Concept is proposed with a 1.4-litre 150 ps 4-cylinder TSI engine. As it will be sold initially in Brazil, it is tuned as a TotalFlex Fuel Unit which can run on pure ethanol (E100) as well as a petrol-ethanol blend (E22). The TSI engine is also combined with a 6-speed automatic gearbox and permanent 4MOTION all-wheel drive.

Volkswagen plans to offer the production Tarok in other markets and it could be a potential model for Asia, provided it can be priced at similar levels as the Japanese pick-ups that are firmly entrenched in most markets. Depending on the market, there will also be a second powertrain option in the form of a 2-litre turbodiesel with direct injection which produces 150 ps.

Although Volkswagen may seem to have only entered the pick-up market 8 years ago with the Amarok, it has actually had pick-ups since the 1950s. One of them was the original Kombi which had a pick-up variant, and there was a time when the Rabbit (the name for the first generation of the Golf made in the USA) also had a pick-up variant. During the 1980s, Volkswagen also had a model called the Taro which was a Toyota Hilux that it assembled under licence. In more recent times, it has offered pick-up variants of the Caddy and Transporter too.

Volkswagen has produced pick-ups since the 1950s, starting with a variant of the Kombi van (top). It even had a pick-up variant of the Golf in America (above right) and currently offers the Amarok (above left).

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Visit www.volkswagen.com.my to know more about the models available in Malaysia.

[Chips Yap]

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