The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas does minimal wrong, however it’s light on identity and a little low-lease inside—and it swallows fuel. It’s justified regardless of a look
We have tapped it because of a lackluster fuel economy that is not offset by a very impressive performance and a low-leased interior compared to almost all competitors. On the other hand, it’s very roomy and versatile inside, and its conservative appearance has to endure well.
Unlike previous VW crossover attempts, Tiguan and Touareg, the new Atlas is an American-oriented model, so much so built in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Now, VW has been on this road before with its Passat, which is also designed for Americans and built next to Atlas. While the Passat has not really been a hit, the Atlas shoots for the fast-growing crossover SUV segment, not the sedan market that is slowing down.
The Atlas is offered in five trim levels and with a choice of 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder or 3.6-liter V-6 engines mated to front-wheel or rear-wheel drive, but only V-6 can be ordered in winter. AWD weather friendly. At least 200 inches from toe to toe, on the big side compared to its competitors, which includes Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer, and Nissan Pathfinder.
Atlas is likely to be the largest vehicle that drives the new VW modular architecture, which underlies everything from the company’s Golf hatchback line to the next generation of Tiguan. Confusingly, the next Tiguan also entered the market in calendar year 2017 and will also offer three rows of seats, although the amount will be smaller than Atlas.
2018 Volkswagen Atlas Price Specs Review
2018 Volkswagen Atlas styling and comfort
In style, the Atlas stock is more akin to the five-seat Touareg and more Euro-oriented (and more expensive), although the lighted fenders and slightly sharper angular look have much in common with the Jeep Grand Cherokee. The standard LED headlamps are even standard on the base model, but the LED taillights are on the options list.
Inside, the Atlas dashboard can be easily lifted from Passat. The VW Car-Net infotainment system takes the stage on the dashboard and is flanked by a pair of large air vents. The megabuck SEL Premium offers a full LCD instrument cluster, which replaces conventional gauges that support multi-configuration screens.
The three Atlas lines offer a better than average interior space. The second line slips forward and back like most competitors, but Atlas only joins the Pathfinder to allow the child to sit in the second row as he slides forward for access to the back seat. And the third row is quite roomy, providing the most spacious accommodation in its class.
The second row of Atlas is offered as a three-seat bench or as a pair of captain seats (for $ 650 extra), which means it can accommodate seven or six passengers depending on the configuration.
The Model S has a cloth upholstery and a 6.5-inch touch screen, but it has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. SE shoots for the mainstream and adds leather upholstery and an 8.0 inch infotainment upgrade system. CELL tops the lineup with more features like moonroof and automatic emergency braking, although the model loads close to $ 50,000. In addition, the R-Line styling package is available on SE and SEL models to give them a somewhat sportier look (but the package actually does not improve performance other than including 20-inch alloy wheels).
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2018 Volkswagen Atlas Price Specs Review
2018 Volkswagen Atlas Performance and safety
What’s under the hood is not too surprising if you get to know the VW range. The basic model uses a familiar 4 liter 4-liter turbocharged gasoline engine rated here at 238 horsepower. This is the same powertrain we’ve seen in many other VW products, ranging from Golf GTI to the big Audi Q7 SUV (where Atlas shares are very few).
The machine, however, is only mated to the front-wheel drive, which means it is not possible to be a big seller in places where snowfall is common. It’s a strange decision, if you ask us, because this significantly limits Atlas’s attractiveness – especially as the all-wheel-drive market share continues to grow.
Optional is 280 hp 3.6 liter V-6, which comes standard with front-drive and offers all-wheel drive as an option. All engines are mated to 8 speed automatic regardless of the driving wheel. Fuel economy will not be a selling point; The V-6 all-wheel drive model is rated at 17 mpg city, 23 highway, 19 combined, while front-wheel drive goes on mpg 18/25/20. 4 cylinders have not been rated by EPA.
We just move the V-6; It’s smooth and muscular, though it does not fit the optional twin-turbo twin-turbo V-6 in Ford’s Explorer Sport. Atlas rides softly, even on an optional 20-inch alloy wheels, but still stacked when pushed hard into a corner. Ultimately, Atlas drives well, among the best in its segment, deftly hiding the size and thickness of 4,500 pounds.
What is missing, and what should distinguish Atlas from its competitors, is the choice of turbodiesel. After VW admitted cheating in EPA emissions testing, the car manufacturer pulled the diesel engine plug here. Although there are long-distance opportunities for suitable diesel that appear in the ranks of the car maker in the future, we do not hold our breath.
The test-crash score is good, but not great. Sophisticated safety features such as adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and on-board departure warnings come on SE with the Technology and SEL group, but are not optional in SE.
One prominent safety feature is the company’s post-collision braking technology, which automatically withstands brakes after a collision to prevent Atlas from moving if hit by a second or even third vehicle.
2018 Volkswagen Atlas Price Specs Review
2018 Volkswagen Atlas Features
Atlas is expensive for what it is, but it’s tops in technology and warranty.
Despite the low price at the lower end, Atlas is approaching luxury grade but not high-end price after some desirable options are trimmed.
Version tl; dr? What will be purchased here is Atlas SE with the Technology Package, which includes some important family oriented security technologies that are now standard on some rivals. With a V-6, an all-wheel drive, and a captain’s seat in the second row, it is $ 40,440.
But here are the more detailed details:
Atlas S includes a 6.5 inch infotainment touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities, 6 speakers, cruise control, LED lights, and power windows and keys expected. It starts at $ 31.42, including a compulsory destination cost of $ 925. The V-6 engine adds $ 1,400, while an all-wheel drive (requiring a V-6 bump) generates $ 34,625.
From there, the large Atlas SE 4-cylinder sticker, the $ 34,515 front-wheel sticker with the automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, blind spot monitors, cross-link traffic marks, proximity keys, leather seats, driver’s seat, heated front seats , and three more USB ports (for a total of four). The SE does not include the moonroof, which explains the price difference between the Launch packages.
The optional SE Technology Package adds $ 2,000, but includes valuable features such as automatic emergency braking, route departure warnings, adaptive cruise controls, automatic climate control, and rearview mirrors.
Topping the lineup is a CELL at $ 40,085, which brings back a panoramic moonroof power, coupled with a power tailgate, 8-way passenger seat, memory for the driver’s seat, front and rear controls, and trailer obstacles.
SEL is available optionally with Premium package above $ 49,415. It adds leather upholstery, navigation, power-folding mirrors, rear-heated rearview mirrors, heated steering wheel, Fender branded audio system, ventilated front seats, surround-view cameras, 20-inch alloy wheels and 12.3-inch scribbles, multi-configuration screens which replaces the conventional instrument cluster.
In SE and SELs, the captain’s seat can replace the three-seater back seat for $ 625.
Apart from the trim, Atlas comes with a cheap warranty from Volkswagen. The comprehensive warranty covers Atlas for 6 years or 72,000 miles, whichever comes first, and can be moved beyond the first owner.