The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is the most American model the company has ever produced. That’s because, unlike previous Volkswagen SUVs, the Atlas isn’t a European vehicle modified to suit American tastes. Rather, the Atlas was conceived, designed and engineered from the start as a family vehicle for American buyers.
That suggests it’s big, larger than the majority of its peers in reality, with 3 rows of seating and a substantial cargo area. The Atlas is likewise right at home on the open highway thanks to supple suspension tuning and precise steering. And like every good family vehicle nowadays, the Atlas uses a lot of technology to keep every passenger captivated and safe. As Volkswagens go, it’s better fit for success than any model prior to it, however its rivals were established with comparable goals. After a couple of hours behind the wheel, this is our take on how the Atlas stacks up.
It’s exactly the very same length (198.3 inches) as the Ford Explorer and a little longer than the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander. More importantly, the Atlas has more room in between the front and rear wheels than all three of those competitors, so guest space within is generous.
Much of that area approaches providing third-row travelers some decent legroom, an element that can vary considering that the second-row seats change forward and back. To evaluate out the comfort of all the rows, we adjusted the front passenger seat to fit a 6-foot adult comfortably then did the very same with the second row behind it. That exact same 6-footer then sat in the third row, and there were no knees touching the back of the middle-row seat, a significant task in any three-row vehicle.
From the driver’s seat, the Atlas feels as big as its dimensions recommend. The wide, flat control panel does not horn in either the driver’s or front traveler’s space, and the broad center console runs out the method till you need a soft spot to rest your elbow. The view over the hood isn’t as expansive as we would like, however. You’ll probably feel as if you’re sitting low and examining the hood rather of staying up high and seeing it slope far from you.
Despite how the seats are changed, the second row is large. Like many other big crossover SUVs, the Atlas provides both captain’s chairs or a 60/40-split folding bench seat. Cargo room behind the 3rd row is also generous at 20.6 cubic feet, a number that easily tops both the Pilot (18.5 cubes) and the Highlander (13.8) however comes up short of the Ford Explorer (21.0). The cargo location itself has a low liftover height for simple loading, and there are open storage wells found on each side that huge enough to hold little bags of groceries.
On the roadway, the Atlas is easy to maneuver. You’ll have self-confidence owning it around turns. It has a more strong feel than the soft-riding Toyota Highlander, for example. The steering is light and precise while the brakes feel effective and easy to regulate. It eats up highway miles easily with hardly any roaming or require for consistent corrections. We think about the Mazda CX-9 the handling benchmark for the class, but the Atlas isn’t far behind.
The exact same cannot be stated about the engine performance of the Atlas, though. 2 options are readily available: the basic 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder ranked at 235 horsepower and an optional 3.6-liter V6 with 276 hp. Both come with an eight-speed automatic transmission and send their power to either the front wheels only or to all 4 wheels with the optional 4Motion all-wheel-drive system.
Volkswagen’s entry into the popular mid-size, 3-row SUV sector, the 2018 Atlas, has actually been priced from just $31,425. The figure includes a standard $925 location charge.
The Atlas can be found in five trim levels, beginning with the base S at $31,425 with a 2.0-liter engine and front drive. The trim levels move up, through SE, SE with Technology, SEL, and the topline V6-only SEL Premium, which at $49,415 features essentially everything.
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