The VW Atlas Weekend Edition replaces the old pop-up top with an expandable cargo box.

The new Volkswagen Atlas will significantly expand the options for VW fans when it rolls into showrooms this spring. And now, the German maker is showing off a possible special edition designed specifically for weekend warriors who want additional cargo and entertainment options.

Dubbed the Volkswagen Atlas Weekend Edition, the go-anywhere concept is making its debut at this week’s Chicago Auto Show. It highlights an array of options VW plans to offer for the three-row SUV. And it just might be hinting at a special edition model to come.

The Atlas is the third ute in the maker’s line-up, a much-needed addition considering the dramatic changes reshaping the U.S. automotive market. SUVs and CUVs – along with pickups and vans – now account for nearly two-thirds of the new vehicle market, and the trend shows little signs of slowing down.

(Toyota cedes global sales crown for 2016 to VW. Click Here for the story.)

Volkswagen was an also-ran in the ute market, with only two offerings: the big Touareg and little Tiguan. The Atlas is meant to fill a yawning gap by targeting one of the most popular niches in the utility-vehicle market.

Second-row tablet holders expand the entertainment options of the new VW Atlas.

And the Weekend Edition is intended to show just how flexible the Volkswagen Atlas can be. The name itself, long-time VW loyalists might recall, was lifted from classic Vanagon and Eurovan models of the past. But, no, the Atlas version does not get the pop-up top that was a fixture of those older vans.

Instead, it gets what VW calls the “Urban Loader” cargo box. “When empty, the Urban Loader offers a sleek, minimized appearance; when needed for hauling, it can expand to a 17.7 cubic-foot container,” the automaker explains.

There are also rooftop carrier bars for everything from skis to bicycles to kayaks, with sidesteps that make access easy – and also assist small children getting in and out of the vehicle.

Other exterior touches include 18-inch Prisma wheels finished in anthracite gray.

(January car sales show VW beginning to rebound after diesel scandal. Click Here for the latest.)

The Weekend Edition concept shares the Atlas SEL model's 3.6-liter VR6 engine.

Inside, the Atlas Weekend Edition features a full-size cargo divider that can also serve as a “pet-friendly barrier.” And there are mounts for second-row passengers that can handle a variety of different popular tablet computers. They can also access the concept’s Media Control system through onboard WiFi.

The Weekend Edition rounds out the package with a variety of accessories, including window and hood deflectors, a privacy cargo cover, and wheel locks.

The concept is based on an SEL Premium version of the new Atlas, incidentally, and share its 3.6-liter VR6 engine. It turns out 276 horsepower through an eight-speed automatic gearbox, paired with Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system.

VW says many of the features shown on the Weekend Edition will be available when the Atlas reaches dealers in the coming months.

(Latest VW diesel deal could be more costly than expected. Click Here to learn why.)

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