VW Tarok Concept pickup packs mighty morphing bed

Volkswagen is teasing its next pickup, with the VW Tarok Concept promising a highly flexible extended cab truck with an unusual way to expand the bed. Shown off at the São Paulo International Motor Show today, the new truck may have "concept" in the name, but VW is saying that a production version will follow on in sort order.

Best of all, according to VW not only is it "certain" that there'll be a production Tarok, but there'll be "barely any changes" from what you see here. While Brazil will get the pickup first, the automaker isn't rolling out other locations. "The lifestyle-oriented pick-up also has the potential to enhance the Volkswagen model range in other markets around the world," it says.

Like the Atlas Tanoak concept back in March, the Tarok Concept is based on VW's MQB platform. Among the benefits, the automaker says, are short overhangs and a longer than expected wheelbase. However, it also has a way to especially maximize what you can carry in the back.

Normally, the pickup has a 3 feet 11 inch long bed. Open the tailgate, and you can extend that by around 2 feet 3 inches. However, there's also a panel in the rear of the cab, which can open up for even more space.

That rear panel, when folded along with the three rear seats, adds more than another 2 feet 1 inches. In total, you get more than 9 feet to play with. That, VW points out, is more than pickups in the class above can boast.

It's designed to be easy and quick to do. The rear seats unlock and fold down using a manual mechanism, and then the rear panel locks into place with an electronic lock. There's a sealing system to prevent rain or other weather from making it in through the bed and into the cabin.

Altogether it's a clever way to deliver more space, though it's not the Tarok Concept's only smart feature. The tailgate dips down into the bumper, lowering the sill, and VW has used plenty of black plastic cladding for the lower sections of the truck, making it less fragile off-road.

Inside, there's a fully digital dashboard for the instrumentation, HVAC, and infotainment. A 9.2-inch touchscreen sits in the center console, while the driver gets an 11.7-inch display for the gages. One of the dashboard speakers can be removed and used as a portable Bluetooth speaker, and there's wireless charging for your phone.

Under the hood, VW has used its 1.4-liter four-cylinder TSI engine. That supports either gasoline or pure ethanol, popular in Brazil, and is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission and permanent 4MOTION all-wheel drive. It'll deliver 148 horsepower.

When the production VW Tarok arrives, meanwhile, there'll also be a 2.0-liter TDI turbodiesel, with the same power output. 0-62 mph is expected in 9.7 seconds for the gas engine, with a top speed of 117 mph.

As for the styling, that combines some of the futuristic elements we've seen from VW's recent electric concepts with the sort of rugged bulk you expect from a pickup truck. Bold LED lighting front and rear gives the fascia an expressive face, while the windshield looks as though it blends into the roof thanks to high-gloss black A-pillars and roof. 16-inch alloy wheels with 235/70 tires are designed for performance on- and off-road.

Volkswagen isn't saying whether the Tarok Concept will make it, in production form, to the US. Still, after the positive reception to the Atlas Tanoak earlier in the year, the automaker was clear that it was listening closely to see how popular a production model might be.