Taos Basecamp turns VW’s smallest crossover into rugged adventure rig

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After preparing an Atlas for off-the-grid camping in 2019, Volkswagen is keeping the rugged theme going with a concept called Taos Basecamp that gives its smallest crossover more off-road prowess. Some tweaks are purely visual, but suspension upgrades allow adventurers to take full advantage of the available four-wheel drive.

Designers at Volkswagen’s California studio began painting the Taos in Waimea Blue with contrasting black paint on the front, hood, and roof, as well as a handful of orange accents. They also added some Basecamp-specific exterior decals and graphics plus protective skid plate-style trim on the bottom of the doors.

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Actual skid plates protect the front and back of the underbody, according to Volkswagen, but a suspension lift from H&R Special Springs helps keep them from coming into contact with rocks and other obstacles once the Taos leaves the sidewalk. Meaty tires around 17-inch wheels give the crossover more traction.

Fender flares complete the exterior look, while Thule provided a roof box with integrated LED lighting manufactured by Baja Designs. Inside, the biggest change is a custom partition wall. Volkswagen notes that the concept also heralds a frameless rear-view mirror with Bluetooth, although no photos are available.

Volkswagen hasn’t published any technical specifications, but the only engine offered on the regular Taos is a 1.5-liter four-cylinder, and nothing to suggest there’s anything else under the hood. It produces 158 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, and supposedly spins the four wheels via the usual seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is the default configuration, but the layout wouldn’t suit a build like this.

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There is no need to speculate on what’s next for the Taos Basecamp concept. Volkswagen explained that the crossover is a preview of an accessory package it will make available to buyers in the coming months. The bundle includes fender flares, skid plate-style lower door trims and a badge attached to the grille.

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