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.
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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.
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.
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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.
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