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Volkswagen Tarok: Super clever compact ute firms for US launch, but still ruled out for Australia

Is there a market for smaller utes in Australia?

The Volkswagen Tarok “urban pick-up” concept shown at the 2018 Sao Paolo motor show is firming to appear in US showrooms, but remains ruled out for Australia. 

Based on the brand’s MQB platform with optional all-wheel drive, Volkswagen US sees a market for the Tarok.

The Tarok will be sold in North America. The Tarok will be sold in North America.

Where most utes - or, in local parlance, trucks - are gigantic in North America, VW believes an untapped market exists for smaller models aimed at urbanites searching for a more lifestyle-orientated vehicle.

“As (mid-size) pickups get bigger, to the stage where they are as big as full-size pickups were not so long ago, and more expensive and less fuel-efficient, we are trying to see if there is space for a vehicle with a smaller footprint that potentially is more affordable and gets better fuel economy,”  Volkswagen of America’s Senior Vice President of Product Marketing and Strategy told The Detroit News.

The Tarok's interior resembles the Polo's. The Tarok's interior resembles the Polo's.

Unfortunately, the Tarok’s chances for Oz appear very slim, with Volkswagen Australia's Paul Pottinger telling CarsGuide that "There’s not enough capacity at either end for our market. There's just no appetite for a compact ute in Australia."

To be built in Mexico, and thus avoiding the USA’s 25-per-cent "chicken tax" on imported commercial vehicles, the Tarok will reportedly be available with a trio of turbocharged four-cylinder engines.

The concept used a 110kW/250Nm 1.4-litre and a 132kW/320Nm 2.0-litre turbo petrol, while a 110kW/320Nm 2.0-litre turbo-diesel could also be made available. All-wheel drive will likely be optional, and both manual and automatic gearboxes will be available. 

The Tarok's load bay can be extended. The Tarok's load bay can be extended.

The Tarok concept also featured a very clever variable load space, which allowed the rear seat to be dropped to extend the useable length of the tray.

Would you like to see the Tarok in Australia? Tell us in the comments below.