2018 Volkswagen Atlas is an SUV that checks all packing containers however one

Volkswagen lastly stuffed a lacking spot in its lineup, constructing an SUV bigger than its luxury-tilted Touareg. The all-new 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is the corporate’s first three-row SUV.

Supplied in a base S, mid SE or SE with Know-how, or tippy prime SEL and SEL Premium trims, the Atlas is on the market in front-wheel or all-wheel drive. It comes commonplace with a 2.Zero-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine, good for 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, however a bigger V6 engine can be on faucet.

Sir Combine-a-Lot could be pleased with this huge posterior. 


The Atlas advanced from the Crossblue idea we first noticed in 2013 on the North American Worldwide Auto Present in Detroit. It is nonetheless fairly near that inspiration, although Volkswagen added fog lights to the entrance fascia, a brand new type line runs down the facet (and sadly proper by way of the gas-filler door), and the accessible LED taillights have misplaced a little bit of their verve. Just like the idea, it stays a nice-looking, albeit boxy, automobile. At about 16.5 toes, the Atlas matches the Ford Explorer in total size and is a bit longer than the Honda Pilot.

VW makes the Automobile-Web infotainment system commonplace throughout all trim strains, so even the least costly Atlas nonetheless has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which mirrors cellphone capabilities equivalent to navigation and music playback on the dashboard LCD. The bottom S trim has a 6.5-inch coloration touchscreen whereas higher trims get an eight-inch show. On the SE and above, VW provides drivers distant entry to their automobiles in addition to emergency help, and a program designed to watch the velocity and placement of younger drivers. Nevertheless, it isn’t fairly as strong because the Teen Driver function of GM’s OnStar system.


The super-cool Digital Cockpit is simply accessible on the highest trim. 


As much as 4 USB ports might be had within the Atlas, and its Bluetooth hands-free system can pair two telephones concurrently. Native navigation is simply accessible on the SEL Premium trim line, not on the SE with Know-how trim that Volkswagen had despatched me. That lack of navigation turned an issue on a darkish evening when my cellphone died and I did not have a charging cable helpful.

Though my SE with Know-how tester didn’t have Digital Cockpit, it is value a point out right here. Impressed by Audi’s Digital Cockpit, a completely customizable 12.Three-inch display sits rather than the instrument cluster. It could possibly show a wide range of info between every digital gauge, like audio or gas economic system, or you may go super-techy and show the digital map. When you expertise it, you may surprise why you ever thought it was OK to avert your eyes to a middle infotainment display. Sadly, the one method to get it’s to shell out $48,490 (gulp!) for the SEL Premium, as this function will not be supplied as an possibility on decrease trims.

A serving to hand

Most driver’s aids are commonplace on the Atlas SE with Know-how trim and above, together with adaptive cruise management and lane-keeping help. A blind-spot monitoring system kicks in on the SE trim, and a rear-view digital camera is commonplace throughout the board

If I strayed out of my lane, the lane-keeping help introduced me again in with a little bit of automated steering. It solely works above 40 miles per hour, and I might simply override it with a little bit of pressure utilized to the steering wheel. The system simply acknowledged lane markings at evening, and when all of it acquired to be a bit an excessive amount of for me, a easy press of a button turns it off.

The lane-keeping help additionally works with blind-spot monitoring. At occasions I’m responsible of signaling and ignoring the visible blind-spot alert, basically reducing off the unfortunate driver within the subsequent lane. Nevertheless, the Atlas not solely pulsed the steering wheel after I tried such asshattery, it additionally counter-steered to deliver me again to my senses. Appears my days of unsafe lane-hopping are numbered.

As a heavy-traffic commuter, adaptive cruise management is my sanity saviour. The expertise retains the Atlas at a pre-determined distance behind a lead automotive and may deliver the automobile to a full cease. The system will even pause for about three seconds, however longer than that requires a faucet of the throttle or a flick of the “resume” button on the steering wheel to get going once more. Whereas I recognize the stop-and-go capabilities, the Atlas was not very easy. Often it will glide to a cease, however more often than not it was fairly herky-jerky.

Volkswagen despatched me at Atlas with the three.6-liter V6 powerplant in front-wheel drive. This bigger engine places out 276 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque and provides sturdy acceleration. Freeway merging was a breeze and I appreciated the fast energy supply. The Atlas weighs in at over four,300 kilos and the suspension is tuned fairly comfortable. It feels a bit floaty over rolling pavement, however I used to be glad for the comfortable trip on pothole-filled metropolis streets. Though the eight-speed automated transmission generally is a bit hesitant to downshift, I solved that downside by working it manually from the gearshift.

The all-wheel drive Atlas has just a few drive modes that aren’t current within the front-wheel drive model. These modes modify engine, transmission and steering response in addition to the adaptive cruise management system. Eco retains issues placid for the most effective gas economic system, however apart from steering, which is frighteningly gentle and obscure in regular mode, it is robust to inform the distinction between Regular and Sport.


The Atlas is a little bit of a beast, weighing in at over four,000 kilos. 


The Sport mode kicks the acceleration up a notch whereas adaptive cruise management is engaged, arriving to the predetermined following distance faster. Presumably, this habits will preserve different drivers from reducing in entrance of you in low-speed conditions. There may be additionally a Snow mode that reduces engine energy when the sensors detect wheel slip, and each an Offroad and a Customized Offroad setting.

EPA gas rankings for the bigger V6 are 18 miles per gallon within the metropolis, 25 on the freeway and 20 mixed. That is a bit higher than the non-eco increase Ford Explorer however a lot lower than the 22 metropolis/28 freeway of the Mazda CX-9. The smaller 2.Zero-liter turbo engine is nearer to these Mazda numbers. 

The cabin comprises some unlucky plastic-looking wooden trim, but when that is the worst factor I can say about it, VW have to be doing one thing proper. There may be seating for seven adults, though the non-compulsory second-row captain’s chairs take that capability down to 6. These second-row seats can tilt and fold for straightforward entry to the third row, and so they additionally slide ahead virtually eight inches, giving riders within the way-back a bit extra room.

Cargo capability for the Atlas hits the center for the phase. Behind the primary row there may be 96.eight cubic toes of area, with 55.5 behind the second row and 20.6 behind the third row. The Chevrolet Traverse, the Atlas’ largest competitor, unsurprisingly has probably the most cargo area, however the Atlas nonetheless beats the Ford Explorer, Mazda CX-9 and Toyota Highlander on this regard.


The Atlas has an inside of pure German performance.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Volkswagen is providing only a few choices on the Atlas, and people are solely accessible on the higher trim strains. You may substitute the second-row bench seat with captain’s chairs, go for a sporty R-Line look package deal or throw some 20-inch aluminum-alloy wheels in your Atlas.

General, the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is simply what it seems to be: a well-executed three-row SUV. It simply did not fire up any emotion in me. The driving dynamics are what I anticipated, the appears aren’t offensive or polarizing, the cargo capability is center of the highway. It is a superb SUV, but it surely by no means made me smile. My mind was glad however my coronary heart was left behind.

In case your purchases aren’t pushed by emotion, you may be eminently glad with the Atlas. If, nonetheless, you need just a little soul in your three-row SUV, I’d have a look at the equally priced Mazda CX-9 for its nice appears and lithe dealing with or the upcoming — and way more spendy — Dodge Durango SRT for extra horsepower than a six-passenger SUV ought to legally have.

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas begins at $30,500 for a base 2.Zero-liter mannequin, however my mid-trim SE with Know-how and the three.6-liter V6 will set you again only a smidge over $37,000. If you’re the sort to go massive or go house, the V6 with all-wheel drive in SEL Premium trim is $48,490.

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