The forefathers of many American citizens descended upon New York City after crossing the Atlantic with little more than dreams of a bright future to their names. Likewise, the New York Auto Show tends to attract startup automakers that have little more than dreams in their business portfolio. To that end, tucked back in the far reaches of the basement at Javits Center (yes, even farther back than the Inizio EV display) we found the Counter Balance prototype by Barkan Design.
We weren't even sure what type of vehicle we were looking at before speaking with Elad Barkan, the Counter Balance project leader and company namesake. Turns out, the Counter Balance is a mid-engined pickup truck concept that is designed to change the way trucks drive. Barkan developed the Counter Balance with a mid-mounted engine to create a truck that handles as well as it hauls. With the engine mounted amidships, Barkan claims the Counter Balance offers better ride quality and on-road performance than a conventional truck with a light, unloaded bed.
But wouldn't a mid-mounted engine reduce bed capacity in pickup? Actually, Barkan says the Counter Balance, based on a modified Chevrolet Tahoe chassis and using a Chevy V-8 engine, features an extendable bed with a maximum length of 7.5 feet. Additionally, Barkan says the bed is deeper than conventional pickups resulting in competitive capacity. And that space up front that isn't holding an engine has been designed as a sizeable front trunk - just like most mid-engined sports cars.
So cargo capacity may be just fine, but surely there's only room for two passengers inside the cab? Actually, Barkan says, four fit just fine. The rear seats are located directly over the engine, giving passengers a commanding elevated view of their surroundings. Barken claims that noise, vibration, and heat insulation has advanced to the state that rear passengers will be perfectly comfortable sitting atop a burbling V-8 powertrain.
Barkan, based in Los Angeles, claims to be talking to several production facilities for an initial 200-vehicle production run in the near future. So what are your thoughts on a mid-engined pickup truck? With proper packaging, could such a design be the way forward for the segment? For those of you who own a pickup truck, would you sacrifice a little functionality for better road manners?