Volkswagen Atacama

24 Oct, 2006 1:00am

VW says it will build the Atacama if public reaction is positive

That's crafty... Volkswagen's new concept, the Atacama, is a four-wheel-drive version of the firm's new Crafter van - but rather than carrying boxes and pallets, it will take up to six passengers, and still has room for their luggage.

Powered by a 2.5-litre TDI diesel engine, the six-speed Atacama - which was unveiled at the recent Frankfurt Truck Show - develops around 160bhp. It features a bold aluminium grille, sporty side vents and stylish C-shaped rear side windows. There's even a metal ladder at the rear to help owners access the roof, where they will find an integrated storage box for any additional items that won't fit inside.

The van has huge 20-inch alloys and chunky all-terrain tyres. Rugged plastic panels below the waistline protect the paint­work when the going gets rough. It's possible some of the features could appear through VW's 'Individual Programme', which allows buyers to custom-spec their new top-end motors.

The van-based machine is named after a large Chilean desert that runs from the Pacific Ocean to the Andes mountains. It was designed at the firm's headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany.

"This shows further potential for the Crafter," said a spokes­man. "If the reaction is positive, we will build up to 100 cars." Don't hold your breath, though - VW's last wild minibus-style concept was the Microbus, and that never saw the light of day.

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