The Volkswagen Atlas is a reversal for this German car maker. Most European cars are small, have great handling, and are on the luxury side. The Atlas is made by the German company but is built for an American audience. It is even built in America. It is a seven-passenger, three-row SUV that is aimed at the American family market. Like most vehicles in this class, it is big, perhaps underpowered a bit, and offers a very comfortable and smooth ride. Even so, it still has some of the things Vokswagens have always been known for. Its dashboard and instrument panels are very easy to understand and use, and it handles well for a big vehicle.
The Atlas is a new model for Volkswagen, and so it is all new. It is a crossover, and fits between the very large and mid-sized minivans. In Volkswagen’s lineup it is between the small Tiguan and the high end luxury Toureg. There are five trim levels available, starting the the S, SE, SE technology, SEL and SEL premium. The S is simple, with cloth upholstery and a four-cylinder engine. The SE adds faux leather interior and push button ignition, and the technology package offers a lot of new developments like blind spot monitoring. The SEL offers a full sunroof, real leather interior and navigation. The Premium edition adds video screen dashboard to the mix.
The drivetrain is rather straightforward. The base engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder unit that puts out 235 horsepower. The other engine is a 3.6-liter V6 that puts out 276 horsepower. Reviews say even the V6 struggles at times to move this vehicle well. The V6 still gets around 20 miles per gallon. It can get to 60 in 7.9 seconds, and that isn’t fast, but most SUV’s are not particularly quick. It has a top speed rating of 110 miles per hour. Still that isn’t so bad for a vehicle that has a curb weight of 4,700 pounds. It can go from 70 to a full stop in 174 feet, which is good for a vehicle in this class. Reviewers say this is a comfortable vehicle that handles well, and is fun to drive. It is a bit underpowered, but you don’t really expect a lot of power in a big family vehicle.
But most people buy a SUV of this size for the interior, and for safety. The Volkswagen Atlas does not disappoint in these areas. It has a passenger volume area of 153 cubic feet and cargo volume of 21 cubic feet. It is nearly 200 inches long, which gives this seven-seater lots of room inside. There is plenty of room for all the passengers. It looks a little bulky, but its squared off design adds interior room for arms and legs, especially in the back. It has a generous list of standard amenities as well. Voice recognition, rear view camera, sun room and phone integration are all standard on all but the base model. The driver assistance package includes the usual safety items like blind spot monitoring, front and rear collision warning, lane keep assist, and front crash mitigation.