While it took a bit of time to get around to it, Volkswagen added a third-row seating option to a full-size SUV called the Atlas and the all-new seven-passenger vehicle is adding a lot of fans to the already-deep list of VW enthusiasts.
In addition to the impressive Atlas package is an equally impressive new warranty, which Volkswagen is touting as America’s best SUV bumper-to-bumper transferable warranty. Offering a six-year/72,000-mile (whichever occurs first) New Vehicle Limited Warranty, the Atlas (and new Tiguan) will stand behind their vehicle for what statistics show is the average time Americans hold onto their vehicles.
I recently tested the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas and I found the big SUV to offer competitive levels of technology and spaciousness, in addition to Volkswagen’s signature driving dynamics.
As the largest vehicle in the Volkswagen stable, the full-size Atlas SUV offers family-ready passenger and cargo volume, as well as everyday usability and utility. Atlas is available in five trim levels: S, SE, SE w/Technology, SEL and SEL Premium.
Make no mistake that VW has made sure the Atlas has what American consumers demand in their SUV. Designed and built in the U.S., Atlas is the biggest and boldest VW of all time.
The first glance at Atlas gives you a modern, muscular look that shows off VW’s pension for creating clean lines and good proportions. All trim levels have attractive full LED front lighting for low beams and high beams, turn signal indicators, side marker lights, and daytime running lights; all ride on standard 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.
Atlas provides plenty of room for adults in all three rows. A 60/40 split-folding second-row bench seat reclines and slides fore/aft as much as eight inches. Second-row passengers have plenty of leg room and third-row passengers will be pleasantly surprised with the available space and convenience getting back there.
Accessing Atlas’ spacious third-row is easy, thanks to wide door openings and an innovative folding mechanism. Atlas’ second-row seats can be leaned forward with child seats installed, a notable efficiency for anyone dealing with child seats.
A 6.5-inch touchscreen display with Voice Control, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is standard in the base S model, other trim levels offer an 8-inch touchscreen display and additional infotainment system features. The SEL Premium model includes navigation and a 12-speaker Fender premium audio system.
Power & AWD
Atlas is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine rated at 235 horsepower at 4,500 rpm and 258 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,600 rpm, or an available 3.6-liter V6 that delivers 276 horsepower at 6,200 rpm and 266 lb.-ft. at 2,750 rpm.
To help with fuel economy, both engines have Start/Stop technology. The V6 models can tow up to 5,000 pounds when set up with a factory-installed trailer hitch.
Either engine can be equipped with front-wheel drive (FWD), but only V6-powered Atlas models can be upgraded with VW’s available 4Motion all-wheel drive (AWD) system.
Regardless of which powertrain combination you choose, fuel economy is not anything to write home about. The 2.0-liter engine is rated at 22/26 mpg city/highway. The V6 with FWD delivers 18/25 mpg, while AWD models offer just 17/23 mpg.
Driver assistance systems like forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection, lane departure warning, and park assist are available or standard equipment on certain trim levels.
With a starting price of around $31,000 and the all-new 6-year/72k warranty, this is a big VW with a big stamp of confidence across it.
This auto review was researched and written bySteinProContent Servicesand provided to the Sun-Times for publication