Volkswagen Advanced Activity Concept Pickup

Volkswagen's Advanced Activity Concept (AAC) combines the functions of a pickup truck with the luxury of a top-class sedan. With full-time four wheel drive and powered by a 313hp V10 Diesel engine, the AAC points in the (very remote) direction Volkswagen could take by building a pickup truck, but most likely it's an accurate look at the upcoming VW SUV.

Dimension-wise the AAC appears to be slightly larger than the Dodge Dakota. The hood of the truck is V-shaped with an integrated grille extending into the front bumpers. The headlights are Xenon lamps and set high on the truck for off-road driving.

The A-posts are steeply raked, the side windows form a single visual unit and the C-posts which slope down at an angle to the load platform are all significant styling elements that combine to suggest something of a coupe body style. The load-area cover, with its end panel that echoes the slope of the C-posts, adds emphasis to the sporting side of the AAC's character.

As far back as the C-posts, a load-bearing bodyshell is used. The load platform and rear axle are supported on flanged-on side chassis members. As a smooth link between the passenger and load areas, a substantial rail runs all around the pickup's platform.

The interior is high brow luxury with leather seats, a dash trimmed with brushed aluminum, and teak wood floor. It is here that the

console, with its strongly three-dimensional styling, takes on the shape of a classic cockpit area. It has a navigation system with a 7-inch color screen that is activated when the ignition is switched on. Route guidance information and a diagram of the off-road geometry (the vehicle's position and tilt angle) are shown on the multifunctional display. A computer or a TV set can also be connected. The three-element central instrument cluster in front of the driver supplies standard information such as road speed, engine speed and coolant temperature. When driving off-road a diagram of the AAC's position and tilt angle can be displayed on the small monitor. In the rear are two separated seats that can be folded for additional storage space.

The prime objective of the interior designers was to achieve an exceptionally luxurious, distinguished ambiance while bearing in mind the special needs of an off-road vehicle's occupants. The controls, for example the light switch, are therefore particularly massive in character, and surfaces such as the armrests, although elegant in appearance, have been made sufficiently robust. The AAC's designers chose brushed aluminum for these areas too, since in addition to its visual quality it possesses the necessary strength.

The AAC's doors are unlocked by a remote control known as the "Communicator". Not until this is inserted in a special holder on the top of the dashboard can the engine be started by pressing a separate button. Since the special rear side doors mean that the body has no B-posts, Volkswagen has given the AAC front seats with the seat belt mounts integrated into the upper part of the seat back.

For power Volkswagen has equipped the AAC with a 5000cc V10 direct-injection turbo diesel (TDI). A six-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic manual shift mode transmits engine power to a permanent four-wheel drive system. When crossing difficult off-road terrain, an extra-low off-road ratio and two differential locks can be selected electronically by pressing the appropriate buttons, so that the AAC maintains its reliable progress in such conditions. These systems are accompanied by an electronic differential lock (EDS) at all four driven wheels. The electronic stability program (ESP) also helps to counteract difficult driving situations. The AAC concept car has independent suspension with double wishbones at all four wheels.

The suspension is enhanced by three-position air springs. For typical driving conditions around town the springs are left in a central setting. At higher speeds the suspension can be lowered and off-road it can be raised.