By on April 15, 2019

Volkswagen will bring a modified version of the Atlas to the New York Auto Show this week, aimed to appeal to outdoorsy types. VW calls it the Atlas Basecamp Concept, claiming it offers “a go-anywhere attitude to the brand that is already synonymous with road-trip culture.”

That seems like a fair assessment. While the Atlas isn’t the most off-road-friendly vehicle on the market, it rides the line between everyday usefulness and being just capable enough to make it down a gently gnarled trail. Volkswagen is wisely trying to highlight the latter aspect without making outrageous claims about how it can tackle any terrain. It’s only supposed to get you to the base camp, hence its name. The peak is all you. 

However, it should prove more capable than the standard model. Using a Volkswagen Atlas SEL Premium as its starting point, the Basecamp Concept receives tactical-looking Platinum Gray and Black Uni matte paint with orange accents. Its 3.6-liter VR6 engine is down for 276 hp and comes with an eight-speed transmission, paired with Volkswagen 4Motion all-wheel drive (including selectable drive modes). A set of fifteen52 Traverse MX Concept wheels debut on the Basecamp Concept, wrapped in 265/70R17 all-terrain tires.

Air Design provided the custom bodykit, while H&R delivered a new suspension setup — raising the Atlas’ ride height by about 1.5 inches. Front Runner provided the automaker with a Slimline II roof rack system incorporating bike holders and LED light bars, while VW tossed in some interior accessories from its own catalog. But the most interesting item has to be the Hive EX trailer this thing tows.

Featuring matching wheels and tires, the trailer is collapsable and can be expanded whenever the time comes to utilize its portable toilet, heated shower, queen-sized bed, electrical outlets, or kitchenette (which includes just about every convenience but a dishwasher). It also makes the vehicle more about enjoying nature than surviving it or bending it over your knee to deliver a spanking — which is perfect for the Atlas.

It looks more hardcore than it probably should, but it’s also a work in progress, doing double duty to help VW promote some aftermarket items. Volkswagen has not indicated whether or not it will build the Basecamp, though it did say those wheels should enter series production at fifteen52 this autumn. Meanwhile, the vehicle itself will be on display at the the 2019 New York International Auto Show and the 2019 SEMA Show.

[Images: Volkswagen]

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28 Comments on “Far From Suburbia: Volkswagen’s Atlas Basecamp Concept...”


  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    It looks like someone’s got it bad for the Honda Passport.

  • avatar
    gtem

    Nothing like needlessly ruining the ride, NVH, and fuel economy of an effete crossover with a set of beefy all terrain tires!

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Hey I resemble that remark!

      :-P

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        At least your Hercules Terra Tracs are a bit towards the milder side of AT tires, nowhere as raucous over the road as these BFG KO2s or my Grabber AT2s I presume. Over really bad pavement I could see the utility of a tougher carcass that an all terrain tire provides. At least as silly are Wrangler Duratracs on Tahoe Z71s, just totally over the top and needlessly noisy/crude for how anyone’s going to use that thing.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      +1 this is cringey

  • avatar
    slavuta

    “offers “a go-anywhere attitude”

    attitude != ability :-)

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    I like this rig. I could take it to my kid’s soccer tournaments and camp at the fields. Then I could tow the Miata to autocrosses and track days and show up fresh instead of deaf and numb. Those wheels and tires would shrug off potholes*. The VR6 sounds great too. Too bad the Atlas and trailer probably cost $70K combined, so that ain’t happenin’.

    *Saw a buddy last weekend who leased a BMW M240i. He’s had it nine months and has already had three flat tires and one bent wheel from potholes.

  • avatar
    Zipster

    I suggest that those “outdoorsy” types park their vehicles and get out and walk. They will be doing themselves and the rest of us a considerable favor.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      FWIW Plenty of us use vehicles for outdoor recreation, to get to remote campsites and trailheads, etc. Some of us are quite fit to boot.

      • 0 avatar
        Zipster

        You might be surprised how far you can go in a day with a back pack if you are “quite fit.” You might see some things and have some experiences that you would not otherwise have had as you go beyond “quite fit” to a higher level.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          No need to preach to me, I’ve done every kind of hiking and backpacking. I’ve done multi-day ridge-top hikes where we needed to do water drops ahead of time (in a car), I’ve hiked on glaciers near the border with Mongolia where we needed to drive 10 hours including over unpaved steppe and through water crossings (in a car) to make it to a guarded lot to then hike 10km with packs with all our gear to base camp. Encouraging me to get even more fit? I could probably overhead-press you.

    • 0 avatar
      rentonben

      Here in the Pacific Northwest – the cars actually at the trail-heads are typically whatever garbage vehicle at hand that can be left for a week. For the longest time ours were a Nissan 240sx and and Oldsmobile Achieva.

      There are some trail-heads that need more clearance, but you know about them if you check the tail report. Only about 5% of the trails here in these parts and even then – just bring a shovel and fix the road.

      My opinion: The blacked out “warrior taco” just looks stupid parked next to the beat up minivan.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        rentonben is quite right.

        We have many trail-heads here in the Southwest. They’ve been expanding and improving their trail systems to encourage tourism.

        Lots of old used sedans with bike racks are the vehicle most commonly seen or 3rd owner beater Subarus.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        A much better take on this. Some of my most memorable hiking started from my brother’s rusty ’89 MPV. It got around really well for what it was, RWD but with decent clearance and a robust suspension. His friend does the same with a 250k mile Geo Prizm. The most extreme offroading I’ve done to get to a backpacking destination was hands down that trip out to the Aktru Glacier near Mongolia: 5 grown men with 5 full sized packs jammed into a Lada 2107 bouncing over roads and through water crossings that most American SUV drivers would squirm at.

  • avatar
    Zipster

    Todd-a

    Take away your powerful vehicle and you are a eunuch.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      LOL what are you even doing on a car website? I’m forming an increasingly well deduced picture of what you look like and what you’re all about. And it’s not a good look my dude.

      • 0 avatar
        Zipster

        gtem:

        Oh, wow man, you carried a backpack 10 kms! I wish I could do that.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          What can you do?

          • 0 avatar
            Zipster

            I cannot do as much as I could 16-17 years ago, but this summer I will do a 60 mile backpack in Jasper National Park. I will probably be the oldest person to backpack that distance in the park this year.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            That’s cool man, sounds like we share a passion for the outdoors. I just don’t see the need for constant condescension towards seemingly everyone around you (judging by the history of your posts on the site). I’ll use my 4Runner to take my family out into the woods to camp and when he’s older, my son and I can go on more serious backpacking trips. You just come across as a resentful, lonely person. A guy full of p*ss and vinegar who drives his Prius around and judges everyone.

  • avatar
    Zipster

    You are basically right!


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