The VW Atlas Tanoak pickup truck concept was arguably the biggest surprise of the New York Auto Show. After all, when was the last time you thought about Volkswagen and trucks? But the concept was quite handsome, and the fact that it was based on the Atlas and its stretched-out MQB platform had us pondering the possibility of the truck reaching production. So we asked our talented rendering artist to envision just that.

Overall, we wouldn't expect major changes on a production Atlas Tanoak. The most significant would likely be the use of a normal Atlas SUV front fascia instead of the unique one found on the concept. Volkswagen would want to save as much money as possible in developing the truck to make it profitable, so it would only make sense to utilize as many off-the-shelf pieces as possible from the existing crossover for the pickup. Besides, the standard Atlas nose looks plenty tough and square-jawed as it is.

Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak rendering

We think there's a chance that the chisled, angular motif between the bed and the rear doors could survive a transition to production. While it could be a bit more expensive, it adds some important visual interest to the truck. It also helps the Tanoak look as though it's a more traditional truck with a bed that's separate from cab, despite its unibody design. Around the back, the only big change would likely be the removal of the horizontal taillight elements. Though distinctive, they're unnecessary and probably more costly than VW would want.

Mechanically, we would expect the production truck to use the same 276-horsepower VR6 as the concept and the Atlas crossover SUV. But instead of the fancy transmission with a low range that was on the concept, it would probably just have the basic front- and all-wheel-drive drivetrains of the SUV. We could maybe see VW offering a more off-road-oriented model with the concept's drivetrain, but there's no way it would be the volume version.

Now, would it make sense for VW to build the Tanoak? Possibly. Honda has struggled selling its crossover-based Ridgeline pickup here, falling very far short of the six-figure sales the Toyota Tacoma and Chevy Colorado enjoy. But the Ridgeline's roughly 34,000 sales a year would still be a nice 10 percent boost to Volkswagen's overall sales in the U.S. And that's assuming it only sold as well as the Ridgeline. With a burly enough design, and perhaps a halo off-road variant to boost its image, the Tanoak could sell more, making it worthwhile for VW to offer. Only time will tell whether VW does take on the Tanoak, though. We hope they do.

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