Volkswagen just upped its game in the American SUV market in a very big way with its new 2018 Atlas.
The Atlas is the largest SUV ever produced by Volkswagen, handily outsizing the automaker's Tiguan and Touareg SUV models.
“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,” says Hinrich J. Woebcken, CEO of Volkswagen's North America Region, Volkswagen. “The Atlas marks a brand new journey for Volkswagen to enter into the heart of the American market.”
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Made in Tennessee, the Altas is VW’s first vehicle “made here for here.” It also signals the North American division paying a lot of attention to the specific needs of the U.S. market.
“The Atlas represents Volkswagen North America getting more freedom,” says William Gock, product communications senior specialist with Volkswagen of America, adding that this could influence the future of Volkswagen models sold here.
Design of the new 2018 Volkswagen Atlas
The Atlas draws on the latest Volkswagen design trends to create a bold new look in the SUV segment. At 198.3 inches long, 77.9 inches wide, and 69.6 inches high, you’ll certainly see it coming.
All that size translates into a rather spacious cabin.
Atlas makes maximum use of its three-row seating layout to offer space for up to seven adults, boasting a cavernous 153.7 cubic feet of total passenger volume. Headroom is 41.3/40.4/38.3 inches (first/second/third rows), while legroom is 41.5/37.6/33.7 inches, respectively.
A newly designed folding mechanism for the second row offers easier entry and exit room by enabling the second-row bench to tilt and slide forward, even with child seats in place.
The Atlas’ interior design is what company officials call classic Volkswagen — clean and functional, with a premium feel. Driver controls are positioned for optimal ergonomics and usability, and simple, driver-centric displays enhance involvement behind the wheel rather than distracting from it.
The Atlas hits showrooms with a choice of two powertrains: the 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injection TSI four-cylinder with 235 horsepower or a 3.6-liter VR6 engine with 276 horsepower.
Although bigger than its smaller brother the Touareg, the Atlas comes with a smaller price tag thanks to the emphasis being placed on size rather than luxury.
"In the past VW used to charge a premium compared to the competition. To that end the Atlas sits between the Chevy Traverse and Ford Explorer in terms of entry-level pricing," Woebcken says.
The Atlas base price starts at $30,000. A loaded, all-wheel-drive V6 model will cost around $48,000.
Big size without a big price tag? Volkswagen hopes that combination will make the Atlas a favorite choice with American SUV buyers. They certainly didn't go small with this one.
“Life is as big as you make it,” Gock says.