The start of the São Paulo International Motor Show usually means a cool concept pickup truck or two. This year's show doesn't disappoint, as Volkswagen debuts the clever, little Tarok Concept. The near-production small pickup is influenced heavily by smart, modern SUVs but still does serious work, carrying payloads up to 1 tonne (1.1 ton) in an extendable bed that grows around cargo.

Why compromise when you can have it all? That seems to be where Volkswagen is headed with the five-seat Tarok. The pickup combines the maneuverability of a small, sub-Amarok truck with extra cargo space and the payload to get work done. And it pulls in plenty of styling and digital technology from the ever-hot SUV segment for good measure.

"With its striking Targa-inspired roof bar, charismatic front end, three-dimensional LED lighting strip in the rear, and powerful yet stylish side panels, 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," explains VW head designer Klaus Bischoff.

The curve-infused, car-like styling won't necessarily resonate with folks who believe trucks should look boxy and stout, but in a place where pickup cars (like VW's own two-door Saveiro) roam freely, it's sure to find an audience.

Helping grow that audience is the Tarok's versatile bed. It seems VW has been watching what Bollinger Motors has been up to of late, creating a similar indoor/outdoor bed expansion. The lower part of the Tarok's rear cabin wall folds down to extend the flat load floor into the cabin. Fold the rear seats and drop the tailgate, and the Tarok offers plenty of pass-through storage capacity for long items.

VW keeps the Tarok purring down road and trail with a 148-hp 1.4-liter TSI four-cylinder, designed to run in Brazil as a Total Flex Fuel Unit on either ethanol (E100) or blended gas/ethanol (E22). A six-speed automatic transmission and 4Motion permanent all-wheel drive distribute torque out to the wheels. Volkswagen says that the Tarok-based production truck will base with a 2.0-liter turbo-diesel TDI with the same horsepower.

The Tarok interior features an emphasis on digital tech, with a digital cockpit, infotainment screen and digital climate controls pulled together by an exterior paint-matched crossbar that cuts across the central dash before turning the corner and wrapping around the door handles. The grey upholstery keeps things light and bright.

Volkswagen plans to bring the production Tarok to the Brazilian market soon, and says it will be very close to the concept. It teases that the model could also find its way to other global markets.

Source: Volkswagen

View gallery - 15 images