Disclosure: I received a trip to Santa Monica in order to review the 2018 VW Atlas but the thoughts and opinions expressed here are 100% my own.
For most of us when you hear VW, images of the iconic VW Bus and Volkswagen Beetle immediately come to mind. Back in the 60’s whether it was all about the perfect family van or the fun and frolic that the Bug brought, the name Volkswagen was synonymous with fun, durability and was built to last for generations to come.
Throughout the decades, the look of the Volkswagen may have changed but one thing has remained and that is the VW maker’s commitment to make nothing but the very best when it comes to a family car. This past weekend I was privileged to be on the Santa Monica Pier at the end of historic Route 66 as the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas was unveiled ushering in a a new chapter in the company’s American history.
Built in Tennessee, the seven-passenger Atlas offers class-competitive levels of technology and spaciousness combined with hallmark Volkswagen driving dynamics and attention to detail, all at a price designed to draw customers’ attention in the family SUV segment.
“This is the biggest and boldest Volkswagen we have ever built in the United States, delivering the distinctive design and craftsmanship we’re known for, now with room for seven,” said Hinrich Woebcken, CEO of North America Volkswagen. “The Atlas marks a brand new journey for Volkswagen to enter into the heart of the American market.”
Built entirely in the United States in Chattanooga Tennessee, at 16.5 feet long, the Atlas offers a three-row SUV that’s bigger than the brand’s present largest offering, the Touareg SUV, but is still considered a midsize. Inside, the Atlas makes maximum use of its dimensions to offer space for seven adults and their luggage. The third-row can be easily reached by an innovative folding seat solution, one that works even with child seats installed in the second row.
Having tested out all three rows I can personally attest to the fact that no matter what row you sit in, this is comfort at its very best with plenty of legroom to spare, even in the third row which was surprisingly easy to access, something that is not always true of all third-row vehicles. And the best part, if you don’t need the last row of seats, they easily fold down leaving you even more room for cargo. The interior cabin is luxury all the way featuring seats wrapped in high-quality leather and adjustable with your comfort in mind.
Coming to showrooms next spring, Atlas will be offered with either a 2-liter turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder engine producing 238 horsepower or a 3.6-liter V-6 engine with 280 horsepower. Both will be paired with an eight-speed transmission. Woebcken said, at least initially, he expects the six-cylinder engine will be the most popular.
Designed With Safety In Mind:
VW plans to equip Atlas with an array of safety gear, offering available driver assistance features that had previously been reserved for premium SUVs, at a pleasantly affordable price. These include: Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC); Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist); Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert; Lane Departure Warning (Lane Assist), which actively helps the driver steer the car back into its lane; and Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist).
In addition, Atlas is the only vehicle in its class to offer the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System. This builds on the premise that a collision is rarely a single, instantaneous action, but rather a series of events that follow the initial impact—the most significant of which can cause additional collisions. The Automatic Post-Collision Braking System addresses this by applying the brakes when a primary collision is detected by the airbag sensors, thus helping reduce residual kinetic energy and, in turn, the chance of additional damage.
Technology On The Go:
The Volkswagen Car-Net® system provides a full suite of connected vehicle services, including standard App-Connect technology that offers integration with the three major smartphone platforms—Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™ and MirrorLink®. The vehicle also features an available Fender® Premium Audio System that is the most sophisticated yet seen in a Volkswagen, with 12 channels, a 480-watt amplifier and 12 speakers. Simply put, with the Fender Premium Audio System passengers will be able to hear a powerful, arena-sized sound while driving the all-new 2018 VW Atlas.
All in all, Atlas is the largest Volkswagen ever assembled in America and offers:
- Five trim levels, priced for the heart of the competitive SUV market
- Available interior features include innovative Volkswagen Digital Cockpit instrumentation with the centerpiece being the large touchscreen display fitted with the updated infotainment system designed specifically for Atlas
- Two engine options: Four-cylinder TSI® turbo or the available powerful VR6®, both with eight-speed automatic transmission
- Seating for two adults in the third row, with innovative access system
- Based on the award-winning Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) architecture
- Optional 4Motion® all-wheel-drive system on VR6 models or standard front-wheel-drive
Room For The Whole Family & More:
With ample room for seven as well as luggage, the latest in technology, comfort and safety, the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is the perfect family vehicle whether you’re driving the school car pool, taking the hockey team and their equipment to the finals, or if you’re finally taking that trip of a lifetime across the country. This spring, get ready for newest addition to the VW family-the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas-it’s the midsize SUV you’ve been waiting for and it was worth the wait.