The Volkswagen Atlas actually appears to be a decent off-roader too

Volkswagen will be in attendance at the 2019 SEMA Auto Show, and it’s bringing with it a host of tricked-out SUVs that are built for the American outdoors. Arguably the coolest of these concepts is the Atlas Adventure Concept. It looks the part of an SUV that can handle itself in the Nevada desert with the kind of ease you won’t see from a lot of SUVs offered at SEMA. It comes with a menu of unique equipment, including a clever housing accommodation setup that should make it comfortable for you and yours to enjoy a good night’s sleep under the stars. The Volkswagen Atlas Adventure Concept is one of three Atlas concepts that will be on display at Volkswagen’s booth in the world’s biggest aftermarket auto show.

Exterior

  • Custom orange wrap and intricate Elevation livery
  • Loads of new LED lamps and LED bars
  • Black hood
  • Air Design USA fender flares
  • Beefy Yokohama off-road tires
  • Overland Equipments rooftop tent
  • Dji Mavic drone
left right

The Volkswagen Atlas Adventure Concept is proof of how versatile the Atlas SUV can be if you inject a little creativity into the equation. I’m not just talking about the flashy custom orange wrap and the intricate Elevation livery crawling from the rear section of the SUV. These details are special in their own way, but they don’t paint the whole picture of the Atlas Adventure Concept.

Designed exclusively by Volkswagen Innovation and Engineering Center California, the Atlas Adventure Concept is your outdoor accommodation on four wheels.

Upfront, the custom Atlas rig benefits from new lighting equipment, including LED off-road lamps situated in the SUV’s grille. A pair of LED bars can also be spotted in the setup, specifically on the front bumper and a longer one up on the roof. The black hood adds a nice two-tone look to the SUV while the accented fender flares from Air Design USA makes enough extra room for Volkswagen to add a set of large and beefy Yokohama off-road tires.

2019 Volkswagen Atlas Adventure Concept Exterior
- image 869433

As striking as these details are, the attention-grabbing equipment sits on the roof of the Atlas Adventure Concept. That, folks, is a fold-over rooftop tent from Overland Equipment. When it’s in full bloom, the massive rooftop tent stretches well past the hood of the SUV, providing you and your companions plenty of living and sleeping space in the outdoors. A newly-installed Thule awning system provides seamless access to the tent from the ground and vice-versa.

That’s not all of it, though.

The Volkswagen Atlas Adventure Concept also comes with an onboard Dji Mavic drone with an exterior-mounted REVL action video camera system for those times when you want to capture the breathtaking scenery of the outdoors.

Without even thinking about the interior and performance upgrades included in the concept, it’s already easy to look at the Atlas Adventure Concept as the perfect companion on all your outdoor adventures. The flamboyant orange custom wrap makes it difficult to blend in with its surroundings, but that’s neither here nor there. The important thing is that the concept has a lot of the requisite tools and equipment you need to enjoy a weekend under the stars.

Interior

  • Standard interior
  • Three-row seating can accommodate seven people
  • Plenty of new tech, including Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit as an option
  • Anywhere from 20.6 cubic feet to 96.8 cubic feet of cargo room
2018 Volkswagen Atlas High Resolution Interior
- image 693401
Volkswagen didn’t have any interior photos to show so the assumption is that the Atlas Adventure Concept’s cabin remains in stock configuration.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing given how appointed and spacious the SUV’s interior is. Cloth upholstery comes standard on the Atlas, though there are options to upgrade to leatherette or leather upholstery provided you want to spend a little extra for them. The interior also boasts a handful of soft-touch materials and wooden accents to spruce up the premium feel. On the flip side, scattered hard plastics are also part of the menu. You have to live with those.

The seats are heated while the driver’s seat comes with the added benefit of being ventilated and power-adjustable. The Atlas can also seat up to seven people. There are three rows of seats available including a sliding second row that can also be upgraded to captain’s chairs if that’s your thing.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas High Resolution Interior
- image 711931

On the tech front, the Atlas Adventure Concept should feature a 6.5-inch touch screen, Mirror Link, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, and a USB port. Those come standard on the Atlas SUV. You can level up and score a larger eight-inch touch screen to go along with the navigation features, Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit, HD radio, satellite radio, a 12-speaker Fender premium stereo, and three extra USB ports. The Digital Cockpit, in particular, is a sexy upgrade, in part because of its 12.3-inch digital display.

The Volkswagen Atlas Adventure Concept should also benefit from the SUV’s enormous cargo room.

The Atlas boasts 20.6 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats. That’s more space than most three-row crossover SUVs have to offer. Fold the rear seats and space opens up to an impressive 55.5 cubic feet and when you fold the middle seats, you gain access to a whopping 96.8 cubic feet of space behind the front row seats. That’s more than enough space to fit all the tools and equipment you need to enjoy your outdoor adventures. Throw in the rooftop tent and you might as well live in that SUV for as long as you possibly can. No judgments coming from here, that’s for sure.

Powertrain

  • Two engine options: 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and 3.6-liter six-cylinder
  • 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque (turbo-four)
  • 276 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque (six-pot)
  • 7.2 seconds from 0 to 60 mph (turbo-four)
  • 7.9 seconds from 0 to 60 mph (six-pot)
  • 22 mpg city / 26 mpg highway (turbo-four)
  • 17 mpg city / 24 mpg highway (six-pot)
  • 5,000 pounds max towing capacity
2019 Volkswagen Atlas Adventure Concept Exterior
- image 869425
U.S.-spec versions of the Volkswagen Atlas come with two gas engine options.

The first one is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The second and more powerful engine is a 3.6-liter six-cylinder engine that produces 276 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. Both engines are paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission, which, in turn, sends power to the two front wheels for the four-cylinder version and all four wheels for the six-cylinder unit. It takes 7.9 seconds for the all-wheel drive Atlas to go from 0 to 60 mph while the front-wheel drive model can cover the same ground in only 7.2 seconds.

No matter the version, the Volkswagen Atlas rarely feels underpowered. That’s a good thing if you’re taking it out for a grocery run, and it’s an even better thing if you’re taking it for a weekend adventure outside the city. Speaking of which, the four-cylinder Atlas gets an EPA-estimated 22 mpg in the city and 26 mpg in the highway. Opt for the V-6 unit and those numbers fall to 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. These are typical EPA returns relative to the size of their engines.

2019 Volkswagen Atlas Adventure Concept Exterior
- image 869429

The Volkswagen Atlas can also tow like a boss for an SUV of its size

. A properly equipped model, for example, can tow up to 5,000 pounds.

That’s good value, especially for a concept like the Atlas Adventure that’s specifically geared towards enjoying life in the outdoors.

Volkswagen Atlas drivetrain specifications
Engine 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder 3.6-liter six-cylinder
Horsepower 235 @ 4500 276 @ 6200
Torque 258 @ 1600 266 @ 2750
0 to 60 mph 7.9 seconds 7.2 seconds
Fuel economy city/highway mpg 22/26 17/24
Towing 2000 lb 2000-5000 lb

Final Thoughts

2019 Volkswagen Atlas Adventure Concept Exterior
- image 869425

The Volkswagen Atlas Adventure Concept is pegged as a concept, but it really shouldn’t be. It’s the kind of concept that shouldn’t be a concept. There’s a large number of people, myself included, that would love to take this concept off of Volkswagen’s hands. It’s functional in a way you don’t normally associate with concepts. Heck, I think Volkswagen can even make a killing with this kind of Atlas spec. Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be the case. The Atlas Adventure Concept will be on display at the 2019 SEMA Auto Show and Lord knows what happens to it after. The good news is that even if you can’t buy the Atlas Adventure Concept as it is, there is a blueprint that allows you to build your own version of the concept. It’s going to cost a lot more than the Atlas’ base price of $30,895, but with all the cool new equipment you’re getting, I’d say the price of building your own version of the Atlas Adventure Concept is going to be worth it.

  • Leave it
    • Possibly clunky in city driving
    • No interior goodies
    • Would’ve been nice to see a power bump
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topsped.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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