Volkswagen has recently found itself falling behind in the crossover segment here in the U.S. The primary reason for its lagging? The fact that it lacks anything that can haul more than five people. That will all change with the arrival of the all-new 2018 VW Atlas.
The Atlas will hit showrooms with a distinct look that will stand out on VW lots while maintaining some of the brand’s signature cues. The latter will include its vertical grille bars and the LED-underscored headlights.
Other than those two features, the Atlas will be cut from its own cloth with chunky shoulders, a broad hood, and upright nose. It’ll also stand out as the largest vehicle VW sells, standing in at 198.3 inches long, 77.9 inches wide, and 69.6 inches high.
Inside, the Atlas sets itself apart with its seven-passenger capacity and room for luggage. To access the third-row seats, VW will include an intuitive folding seat that is fully functional, even with a car seat installed in the second row. Buyers will also enjoy the available Volkswagen Car-Net system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, MirrorLink, and a premium 12-speaker, 480-watt audio system.
There will be two powertrains available for the 2018 Atlas. The base engine will be a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 238 horsepower. Optionally, buyers will be able to choose a 3.6-liter V6 engine with 280 horsepower. Both engines will pair with an eight-speed auto transmission and will come standard with front-wheel drive. The V6 model will have all-wheel drive available as an option.
Safety ratings won’t be ready for some time, but we anticipate good results, thanks to its list of available safety features. These will include available adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, auto emergency braking, blind-spot monitor with rear-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, and more.
Expect further updates closer to launch.
Pricing & Release Date
Volkswagen expects to have the Atlas in showrooms in the spring of 2017.
Official pricing will start at $31,425 with destination for the Atlas S with 4-cylinder turbo. Opting for the V6 adds $1,400 for an MSRP of $32,825.
That said, the vehicle will debut with a special launch edition called the Launch S equipped with the V6 and bonuses like a moonroof, Homelink, 8-inch infotainment system and more. It will start at $34,425 for the front-wheel drive version and $36,225 when equipped with all-wheel drive.
At the top of the range, the Atlas SEL Premium will start at $49,415 and will only be offered with the V6 and all-wheel drive. This is roughly on par with vehicles like the Honda Pilot, which tops out at $48,010.
Compared to the VW Touareg, the Atlas is quite a bit more affordable. The current Touareg starts at $50,405 and ranges as high as $61,105 for the exclusive V6 Executive variant.
Pictured: 2018 Atlas