The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is large, roomy, and big on utility, offering customers something the brand has long lacked – a three-row, seven-passenger SUV. But while the Atlas arrives late to the party, it supplies Volkswagen with the vehicle it needs to keep Tiguan and Passat owners loyal. Or at least, that's the hope.
USED 2018 Volkswagen Atlas FOR SALE NEAR ME
Ourisman VW of Laurel - Curbside pickup and home delivery available of Laurel, MD (37 mi)
Jaguar Land Rover Chantilly of Chantilly, VA (10 mi)
2018 Volkswagen Atlas Overview
What's New for 2018
The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is an all-new model.
Choosing Your Volkswagen Atlas
Volkswagen offers the 2018 Atlas in five grades, plus a special launch edition: S, Launch Edition, SE, SE with Technology, SEL, and SEL Premium. Seating for seven is standard. The standard cargo space measures 20.6 cubic feet behind the third row and 55.5 cubic feet behind the second row. Fold down both the second and third rows and the 2018 Atlas offers 96.8 cubic feet of cargo carrying capacity.
Two engine choices are available. The base engine is a late-arriving 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine generating 235 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. As we reported previously, the 2.0-liter base engine is a special-order item for 2018. A 3.6-liter V6 with 276 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque will represent the bulk of Atlas sales and adds $1,400 to the starting price wherever it's optional. Both engines work alongside a standard eight-speed automatic and send their power to the front axle – all-wheel drive is an available option with the V6 for $1,800 across the range.
The Atlas' option list is short, sweet, and only offered as late-availability items, later in the 2018 model year. Owners can get a sporty looking R-Line styling package for $1,960 on the SE and SEL trims. Black 20-inch alloys are also available on the SEL and SEL Premium, as a $995 or $235 option, respectively. And in the cabin, customers are limited to a pair of captain's chairs – they're available for $625 on SE and above models and reduce the Atlas from a seven-passenger vehicle to a six-passenger one.
All-wheel drive is a popular choice in this segment, so with the Atlas you must choose the V6 engine to acquire it. The Atlas SE with Technology offers the most asked for amenities in this class, including advanced driver assistance features and represents arguably the best value in the Atlas range. Take the V6 option with standard all-wheel drive and you’ll pay about $40,000 for one.
2018 Volkswagen Atlas Review
Built in Chattanooga, Tennessee and intended primarily for the US market, the all-new 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is the automaker's first three-row crossover SUV. But despite its muscular looks and family-friendly space, poor fuel economy and cheap-looking interior materials could hamper its coming-out party.
Prices for the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas start at $31,425 (including a $950 destination charge) for the late-availability, front-drive S model equipped with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. That expands to $50,040 for a 3.6-liter V6-powered SEL Premium model with all-wheel drive and the optional second-row captain's chairs.
We believe that the $39,815 V6-equipped, all-wheel-drive SE model with the Technology Package (adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, power liftgate, automatic climate control, remote start, auto-dimming rearview mirror) offers buyers the best bang for the buck. Headlining features for the SE Technology Package three-zone climate control, a power liftgate, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
- Model:Atlas SE
- Engine:3.6-liter V6
- Output:276 hp / 266 lb-ft
- Transmission:Eight-speed automatic
- Exterior color:Platinum Gray Metallic
- Interior color:Titan Black
- Base Price:$39,815
- As Tested:$39,815
- Fully-independent suspension does a nice job of absorbing most bumps and handles uneven road surfaces nicely.
- Steering can be adjusted for more weight, while transmission downshifts can be programmed for better performance.
- Factory package ups towing capability to a robust 5,000 pounds.
- Even with eight inches of ground clearance, the Atlas isn't designed for serious off-road jaunts.
- All-wheel drive isn't available with the base 2.0-liter turbo engine.
- Even in front-wheel drive guise, fuel economy from the 2.0-liter turbo (EPA-estimated 22 miles per gallon in the city, 26 on the highway, and 24 combined) and the 3.6-liter V6 (EPA-estimated 18 miles per gallon in the city, 25 on the highway, and 20 combined) is at the low end of the class.
- Best in class second and third row room and ease of ingress and egress.
- Front seats are especially comfortable with long cushions that offer plenty of leg support.
- For extra convenience, a child seat can be left in the second row seats, even when they're tilted forward for third row access.
- Only the top trim SEL comes with leather seating, and even then the grain is rather coarse.
- The interior of the Atlas lacks the quality of materials found in class leaders like the Honda Pilot.
- Road noise – primarily from the tires - is readily apparent in the second row.
Our Favorite Thing
Second- and third-row passenger space is class-leading.
Our Least Favorite Thing
Disappointing interior materials put the Atlas near the back of the class.
A smooth ride, plenty of interior room, and a third row that's actually comfortable for adults make the latest Atlas a good choice for families.
Although advanced safety features like adaptive cruise control, forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning are standard on the SEL, they're part of a $2,100 Technology Package on the SE and not available at all on the base S trim.
The Bottom Line
Volkswagen finally gets a three-row crossover. But coming late to the party with a low-budget interior and poor fuel economy means the Atlas will be facing an uphill battle against more established brands competitors.
Find Your New Volkswagen Atlas On CarsDirect
We have information you must know before you buy the Atlas. We want to send it to you, along with other pricing insights.
I agree to receive emails from CarsDirect. I understand that I can unsubscribe at any time.