Back in the late 1978s, when stagflation was dogging us like an anvil hanging from your neck, Volkswagen was building the Rabbit (or the Golf, to the rest of the world) at a plant in New Stanton, Pennsylvania, and came out with an interesting concept: A pickup truck. Not the bed and cab on a ladder frame that everyone was used to, but instead a Rabbit-based truck with a unitized body, including the bed, and front drive. That made for some interesting vehicle dynamics, especially when moving quickly with a loaded bed, which could be in a world of hurt if the cargo abruptly shifted. Now there’s a truck again at Volkswagen, a concept vehicle, although it’s going into production in Brazil very shortly.
It’s called the Tarok, and it will be shown at this month’s New York International Auto Show after first making the scene at a salon in Sao Paulo. The Tarok is proof positive that Volkswagen has learned a lot about building little trucks in the past 40-something years. First of all, its a crew cab, and one with a big difference: The rear of the cabin can fold down to allow a cargo bed pass-through that gives the Tarok an additional 25 inches of cargo space, even with the tailgate raised. It rides on Volkswagen’s global MQB platform and utilizes a 1.4-liter gasoline engine with full-time 4Motion all-wheel drive as standard equipment for a less woolly loaded driving experience. There are no announced plans to build or sell the Tarok in the United States but with a resurgence in interest for compact trucks here – a theme we’ll revisit on this site – don’t bet against it happening. Images courtesy Volkswagen of America.