The 2018 model year will surprise the North-American automobile market with a full-sized SUV by VW’s making, the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas. This SUV is the third crossover/SUV released by Volkswagen and it is their biggest yet. Also, this vehicle is especially designed by VW for the US market.
The Volkswagen Tiguan is a smaller crossover, the Volkswagen Touareg is their larger offering, and has a seven seat lay-out. The new Atlas is even larger and also comes with seven seats, but the difference with the Touareg is that the Atlas’ seats offer room for seven adults. That means no plastic bucket seats at the far back of the car, only available for the smallest passengers. Even the upgraded classic 2018 Chevrolet Equinox doesn’t offer this much space and comfort in one vehicle, while retaining the upscale appearance of an SUV.
Unfortunately, Volkswagen currently has no plans to release this giant SUV in Europe. Understandable, since the bigger cars don’t usually sell well over there. After the initial release of the 2018 Atlas in the United States, the car is expected to be released on Russian and Middle-Eastern markets as well.
The overall look of the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is a rather generic one. It carries over many designing cues of Volkswagen’s CrossBlue Concept, as many expected, and it turns out that the Atlas makes a reasonable impression. The generic look is quite popular among some brands, so it’s no surprise that the Atlas looks somewhat similar to the Audi Q7.
However, the 2018 Atlas takes on a grille and headlights combo that is reminiscent of the amazingly lovely 2017 Range Rover Evoque. This makes it less similar to the Audi Q7 and actually does add a certain own style. The headlights and grille form a straight line, looking like a wide strip covering the nose of the Atlas. In the middle sits the VW logo and around it the grille pattern is a robust metal one with two chrome strips.
Underneath you can see the lower air vent which is taller than on the CrossBlue concept. The front bumper is dark with a silver-coloured insert and foglight outlines.
All in all, it is very clear that the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is an exceptionally wide vehicle, it measures 77.9 inches (1,98m). The blocky appearance it has, in combination with the even blockier headlights and grille strip, turn this car into a tough and sturdy-looking vehicle.
Side and rear 2018 Volkswagen Atlas
The 2018 Atlas’ side has a body line over the middle which puffs out over the wheel arches and another one between the wheels at the bottom. The wheel arches sit relatively low on the large wheels, giving the side a typical SUV look.
The back offers a nice touch with the straight taillights, imitating the front set of headlights and grille. Underneath the taillights runs a chrome strip to connect the rear light set. On the lower part of the rear bumper there is an angular exhaust on either side of the car.
The interior of the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is also a bit generic, but it works perfectly. Also, generic doesn’t mean that the interior looks cheap, because it looks decent and upscale. Since the interior is a feature that many automobile manufacturers still aren’t able to get fully right, we are really impressed with this one.
Besides the good looking materials and modern dash design, there are also many contemporary tech features in the car. For instance, the digital cluster, is a 12.3 inch screen and the infotainment screen is an 8 inch screen.
The optional sound system is a Fender 480 watts amplifier and 12 speaker system.
The main feature of the 2018 Atlas’ interior is of course the ample room it offers for seven adult passengers, including their luggage. By folding down the middle row there is easy access to the back seat, which has the same level of comfort and upholstery as the front seats. Also, the back seat can be folded down completely for extra cargo space. When the far right middle-row seat folds down, it would even be possible to transport a surfboard, according to Volkswagen.
The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas comes with a choice of two engines. One is the 2.0 liter turbocharged and directly injected TSI four cylinder engine. The engine is also found in the safe and proportioned 2017 Volkswagen Tiguan, but has been tweaked to make more output in the Atlas. This one puts out 238 horsepower and has an eight speed transmission and front wheel drive. The other engine is a 3.6 liter VR6 engine that puts out 280 horsepower.
The trims with this engine are available with front wheel drive or 4Motion All Wheel Drive. This last engine also makes use of the eight speed transmission system, for higher efficiency during the drive.
The tech features in the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas are really top notch. VW offers its Car-Net system, which consists of a range of vehicle services. Think of mobile phone connectivity with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink. Also, navigation help and roadside service, as well as the ability to view car information at a distance are all accessible via Volkswagen’s Car-Net.
Driver assistance and safety features present in the Atlas are: Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking. Also, Blind Spot Monitoring with rear Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning and Park Assist. The Atlas also comes with Automatic Post-Collision Braking, to prevent secondary collisions by automatically braking when the airbags activate.
When the VR6 engine with 4Motion AWD is present, there’s the standard option of Driving Mode Selection. The driver can choose between four modes, for best performance and fuel economy: Eco, Normal, Sport and Custom.
Price, release and sale date
The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas will see its release in the spring of 2017. No pricing information is known yet, this will become available closer to the sale date. An expected starting price for the Atlas will be $55,000, since the somewhat smaller Volkswagen Touareg starts at $49,495.