2018 VOLKSWAGEN ATLAS FIRST LOOK
2018 VOLKSWAGEN ATLAS FIRST LOOK BY AUTO CRITIC STEVE HAMMES
Move over Touareg; VW’s got a more modern SUV now. It seats up to 7 adults, is priced from under $35,000 and offers 4- and 6-cylinder power.
They may be late to the game but Volkswagen is taking this American-made family hauler very seriously, setting its crosshairs on the Pilot, Explorer and Highlander. It’s the biggest VW ever to be sold in the U.S. boasting cavernous passenger volume. A folding mechanism for the second row offers improved entry and exit room by enabling the second-row bench to tilt and slide forward, even with child seats in place. Captain’s Chairs are available on SE models and above. This replaces the three-passenger, second-row bench seat with two individual seats for even greater comfort and adjustability. The two-passenger third-row bench seat offers a 50/50 split, and both second- and third-row seats feature fold-flat functionality.
Atlas is offered with a choice of two engines—a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with front-wheel drive making 235 horsepower or an available 3.6-liter VR6 engine with optional 4Motion all-wheel drive producing 276 horsepower. Both units feature Start/Stop technology and Remote Start is standard on SE w/ Technology trims and above. With either engine, power is sent through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The Driving Mode Selection feature, equipped on all Atlas models with 4Motion all-wheel drive, allows the driver to select specific vehicle profiles based on driving conditions. It has four settings: Onroad, Snow, Offroad, and Custom Offroad. The Atlas has 8” of ground clearance and can tow up to 5,000 pounds.
As it pertains to safety, new on Atlas is an emergency braking system called Maneuver Braking. Included with ParkPilot, it can help mitigate or prevent collisions with static obstacles while the vehicle is maneuvered. For the music lover, the SEL Premium trim offers the most advanced Fender Premium Audio System to date with 12 speakers and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are integral.
Available in 5 trim levels – S, SE, SE w/Technology, SEL and SEL Premium, the 2018 Atlas is arriving at dealerships now.