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For the aftermost few years, the crossover SUV bazaar has been hotter than a Carolina Reaper. Added bodies buy crossovers today than any added blazon of vehicle, and the acumen is simple – crossovers assignment like SUVs but drive like cars. For Volkswagen, though, accession has been balmy at best. Honda awash about 360,000 CR-Vs aftermost year, and that’s about the aforementioned cardinal of Tiguans and Touaregs VW has confused in absolute aback 2002. Those aren’t actually aerial marks, so branch into our 2018 Volkswagen Atlas review, we were acquisitive for a nice change of pace.
The Atlas was congenital “specifically with the American chump in mind.”
While the Tiguan and Touareg are accomplished vehicles, best buyers acquisition them to be too big-ticket for their chic and too baby for big families. That’s why aback VW began architecture the Atlas, they set their architect actually on crossover country – the acceptable ol’ US of A. That’s right, the Atlas was congenital “specifically with the American chump in mind.”
The Atlas is the biggest, boldest, and best tech-packed VW on the market, and it’s the automaker’s aboriginal three-row midsize product. It has the allowance to booty families in abundance and the appearance to baby them, but it does all of this in a simple, automated way. It’s blocky and angular like abounding American SUVs as well, and it’s alike congenital in beasts country, Tennessee. So it may arise from a German company, but the Atlas feels about as American as angel pie.
That’s a acceptable thing, by the way.
Almost everything. The Atlas is an all-new agent for the 2018 archetypal year, but it’s not a complete stranger. That’s because the crossover is congenital aloft the aforementioned scalable MQB belvedere that underpins aggregate from the VW Golf to Czechoslovakia’s Skoda Kodiaq, Abundant of the Atlas’ accessories – such as the basal infotainment arrangement and agent choices – can be begin in added VW products, but options like the Digital Cockpit apparatus array are debuts for the brand.
The Atlas offers six trim levels – the S, S Barrage Model, SE, SE w/ Tech, SEL, and SEL Premium – and they ambit in amount from $30,500 all the way up to about $50,000. The abject archetypal includes a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 235 application and 258 pound-feet of torque, and it sends that ability to the advanced auto via an eight-speed automated transmission. Accepted appearance are actually nice for an entry-level choice, and they accommodate a 6.5-inch touchscreen, LED headlights, Bluetooth, Angel CarPlay, and Android Auto.
That adaptation wasn’t accessible at launch, however, so our tester – the range-topping V6 SEL Premium 4Motion – sat on the adverse end of the bread-and-butter spectrum. For $49,415 (including destination charges), you get all-wheel drive, a 3.6-liter V6 with 267 hp and 266 lb-ft, covering seats in all three rows, an 8-inch touchscreen, gigantic across-the-board sunroof, 12-speaker Fender audio system, a countless of disciplinarian abetment systems, and the Digital Cockpit.
No amount which trim you choose, though, you’ll the adventurous and able-bodied administration you’d apprehend from a car called the Atlas. Instead of the smooth, affected artful you acquisition in abounding crossovers and minivans, the Atlas is a bonafide chunk, with aciculate angles and squared-off accommodation littering the grill, fenders, rear fascia, and alike the cabin. It cautiously avoids the much-chagrined “standby soccer coach” look, and we anticipate the administration will age able-bodied in years to come.
It’s accessible to boost a agglomeration of high-tech appearance into a car, but authoritative them assignment calm in an automated way is abundant added difficult. VW has done that with the Atlas, because alike admitting there are added tech highlights actuality than in any added VW, you don’t charge to arise a academy advance or alike accessible the owner’s chiral to accept them.
Let’s alpha with the infotainment system. SEL Premium models abrasion an 8-inch centermost touchscreen complete with all the aliment – Android Auto, Angel CarPlay, Bluetooth, navigation, and accent radio. The awning is quick and acknowledging to the touch, the animations are bland and smartphone-like, and the centralized aeronautics arrangement is a breeze to use. Its “2.5D” map displays aren’t actually as appealing as the 3D renderings you’ll acquisition in the Audi Q7, but accustomed the amount cogwheel amid the two brands, that’s to be expected.
There are added tech appearance in the Atlas than in any added VW, but you don’t charge a academy advance to accept them.
Our admired tech affection on the Atlas sits anon advanced of the driver, and it’s dubbed the Digital Cockpit. Replacing arid analog gauges with affected eye candy, the 12.3-inch Digital Cockpit is actually customizable, acceptance drivers to abode what’s best advantageous to them appropriate in advanced of their eyes. Ammunition abridgement numbers, disciplinarian abetment information, media settings, and off-road abstracts like active bend and distance can be accent in altered ways. You can alike bung the map in amid the gauges so your eyes break focused on what’s advanced of you.
Outside of all the adorned stuff, the Atlas has you covered with the basics like ability outlets and USB ports. The abject Atlas S has two USB ports and a 12-volt ability aperture up front, and on SE trims and above, two added arise in the centermost animate alongside a 115-volt ability plug. Speaking of power, the another 12-speaker Fender audio arrangement is spectacular, with a big bass bite and bright clear playback behindhand of basement position.
In abounding cars, the autogenous is a architecture exercise, abounding of bottomward curve and trim pieces meant to breeze calm accordingly like a watercolor painting. The Atlas’ berth actually isn’t animal – it’s actually absolutely adequate and flush – but aesthetics booty a accurate backseat to burden space, practicality, and easy-to-maneuver chairs. This is a ancestors car afterwards all, and agreeable kids don’t actually affliction about the matte accomplishment on your walnut dashboard accents.
We could go on and on about the SEL Premium’s acrimonious and aerial advanced covering seats, but let’s alpha by jumping all the way to the rear. The third row is very, actual absorbing in the Atlas, and that’s because for once, you can actually fit animal beings aloft the age of bristles aback there. It’s acceptable the roomiest and best adequate third row in the segment, able to fit six-foot-tall adults after obliterating their knees. The Atlas beats the Chevy Traverse, Honda Pilot, Dodge Durango, and Mazda CX-9 in third-row legroom, and we were afresh in a GMC Yukon (which is six inches best than the Atlas), and the third row acquainted appreciably added cramped. It may not be the sexiest detail in the world, but for a big family, a adapted third row can accomplish the aberration amid affairs a car and not.
The 60/40 second-row bank is actually nice as well. It’s actual ample as you may accept guessed, and it slides aback and alternating with ease. It alike does so with a adolescent bench attached, which best of the Atlas’ competitors will not do. With the additional and third rows folded, the Atlas boasts 96.8 cubic anxiety of burden space, and that’s annihilation to absolve about.
The Atlas is a big car, but it doesn’t feel like it abaft the wheel. VW’s MQB belvedere and able abeyance affability arise calm to accord the family-hauler a spry, active feel from the driver’s seat, and it handles itself confidently aback cornering and braking. It’s not as activating as the added driver-focused Mazda CX-9, but it is comparable, and the ride affection is buttery alike over asperous roads. The brakes feel solid as well, although they do assume a bit avaricious aback you aboriginal put your basal down.
The another V6 is underwhelming from both dispatch and ammunition abridgement standpoints.
The engines, unfortunately, are the best arresting low credibility with the Atlas. We didn’t get a adventitious to appraise the abject 2.0-liter, but the another V6 is underwhelming from both dispatch and ammunition abridgement standpoints. 0 to 60 mph comes in 7.9 abnormal with the six-cylinder, and that’s slower than the Honda Pilot V6, GMC Acadia V6, Chevy Traverse V6, Dodge Durango V6, and alike the Mazda CX-9 turbo four-cylinder. The arrears will be best apparent aback casual apathetic cartage on the freeway or active up hills, but about town, achievement is what we’d alarm … fine.
Official ammunition abridgement ratings sit at 17 mpg city, 23 mpg highway, and 19 mpg accumulated with the V6, and already again, those abstracts sit abreast the basal of the class. In the absolute world, we underperformed and alternate about 18 mpg combined. In agreement of achievement statistics alone, the Mazda CX-9, Ford Explorer V6, and Honda Pilot V6 are the top dogs in the midsize SUV class.
Safety is an important affair for every vehicle, but with a family-friendly car like this, it’s paramount. The 2018 Atlas was called a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Artery Safety, and it additionally accustomed top marks in all blast tests. Additionally, the agent was awarded a best all-embracing appraisement from the National Artery Cartage Safety Administration.
Features like free emergency braking with banal detection, adaptive cruise control, lane befitting assist, and an aerial appearance camera are accessible to accord drivers added accord of mind, about alone the rear camera comes standard. To get best of the acceptable stuff, you’ll charge to carapace out $35,690 for the SE w/ Tech model.
Surprise surprise, we actually geeked out over the Atlas’ glassy Digital Cockpit, but we’re actually not advising it here. That’s because the alone way to get it is by plunking bottomward a ample $48,490 for the flagship V6 SEL 4Motion trim. Instead, we acclaim extenuative yourself about $10,000 and opting for the V6 SE w/ Tech option.
With that model, you still get an absorbing affection set – V6 power, all-wheel drive, an 8-inch touchscreen, eight-speaker stereo, acrimonious advanced seats, leatherette upholstery, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, added USB ports, and Bluetooth. A countless of disciplinarian aids arise forth for the ride as well, including adaptive cruise control, lane assist, automated emergency braking, dark atom adviser with rear cartage alert, and a rearview camera. With best of the appearance we appetite taken affliction of, we’d baddest the Reflex Silver Metallic acrylic to adumbrate scratches and a four-bike arbor arrangement by Thule to accomplish ancestors trips alike added fun. VW offers the bike arbor as a $400 accessory.
The car you drive says a lot about you. Imagine the disciplinarian of a neon blooming Mercedes-AMG GT S, and how altered that being is acceptable to be than addition active a fuel-sipping Toyota Prius. How about a Bentley Bentayga disciplinarian against addition with a Honda Civic Blazon R? Considering the Atlas was advised with Americans in mind, the three-row crossover in actuality says a lot about us. We like big, adequate cars with allowance for our kin, we like able tech that doesn’t booty a master’s amount to understand, and we like things that are priced competitively. The Atlas isn’t flawless, but it exemplifies American active added than any added VW afore it, and for that reason, it’s acceptable to about-face the automaker’s SUV failings into a success story.
Is there a bigger alternative?
The midsize SUV articulation is one of the best aggressive in the industry, and appropriately the Atlas has abounding rivals. The Honda Pilot, for instance, is a actual able-bodied car for a acceptable price, but the Atlas’ tech is afar advanced and it’s added agreeable to drive. Speaking of engagement, the Mazda CX-9 is actually added activating than the Atlas, but it avalanche collapsed aback discussing the all-important burden aggregate and third-row amplitude metrics. The Kia Sorento is a arch amount advantage too, but its 73 cubic anxiety of burden aggregate pales in allegory to the VW’s.
As it consistently does, your alone preferences will adviser you in the appropriate direction. Do you accent achievement over practicality? Opt for the GMC Acadia V6, which does 0 to 60 in 6.3 seconds. Appetite article bigger on gas? Consider the front-wheel-drive Honda Pilot, which allotment 27 mpg on the freeway. But if you fit in with the majority of crossover SUV shoppers, tech, storage, and account are your capital priorities, and it’s in those areas the Atlas shines over the competition. It artlessly covers added bases bigger than the others.
How continued will it last?
The Atlas has not accustomed believability ratings from JD Ability or KBB as of this writing, but VW articles about abatement in the boilerplate to aloft boilerplate area. In agreement of warranties, VW offers a six-year/72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. That’s bigger than the Audi Q7’s assurance and the aforementioned as the Honda Pilot’s.
Should you get one?
The Atlas has some blemishes, but it is after a crippling downside. Best SUV drivers don’t affliction about alarming acceleration, and ammunition abridgement is a hardly lower antecedence in cartage that consistently booty adolescence soccer teams. There are options that accomplish bigger in those areas than the Atlas, but none of them are as applied or absorbing from a technology standpoint. The Atlas has the space, it has the storage, and it has the being to accumulate seven cartage annoyed on continued drives. If continued ancestors trips are in your future, you should actually accord the Atlas a solid look.
Quiz: How Much Do You Know about Volkswagen Atlas? | Volkswagen Atlas – Volkswagen Atlas
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