By on January 10, 2017

2018 Atlas R-Line

In terms of pounds per dollar, the Volkswagen Atlas could end up as one of the better automotive bargains available in the United States. VW has confirmed that base trims of the Atlas will begin right around $30,000. That’s Ford Flex territory, which is unexpectedly reasonable considering this is a midsize SUV from Germany.

With the Honda Pilot, GMC Acadia, and Mazda CX-9 all starting between $29,995 an $32,420, Volkswagen couldn’t let the valuation stray too far. An automotive paragon like the Golf can start a few grand above the competition, but an unknown entity like the Atlas cannot. 

Volkswagen hasn’t said where the R-Line Atlas will be in terms of price, but range-topping SEL Premium models are anticipated to peak near $48,000.

All variants of the three-row SUV will be available with two engine options: the base turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 235 horsepower or the 3.6 liter V6 with 276 horsepower. Both come standard with an eight-speed automatic, while Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system is available only on the six-cylinder

As the Atlas is assembled in Chattanooga, Tennessee, VW chairman Dr. Herbert Diess was keen to express how important it is that the Atlas will be Made in America™.

“North America is very significant for our brand, and the most important task we face is to regain the trust of our customers,” he said at the Sunday unveiling of the R-Line. “Volkswagen stands for cars designed for American buyers and built in the North American region, cars at attractive prices. The new Volkswagen Atlas and the all-new Tiguan mark the beginning of a major product offensive.”

Hinrich Woebcken, CEO of Volkswagen North America, echoed Diess while further illustrating VW’s desire to get back into America’s good graces with help from the sport utility segment.

“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, ” he said in a statement. “The Atlas marks a brand new journey for Volkswagen to enter into the heart of the American market.”

Atlas models will go on sale this spring, with the R-Line package made available later in the year.

2018 Atlas R-Line

[Images: Volkswagen]

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48 Comments on “NAIAS 2017: Volkswagen’s Atlas Pricing is Shockingly Reasonable...”

  • avatar

    “R-Line” Atlas makes me smile but then since we’re going to have a Traverse RS from Chevy – Why not?

    Maybe an Explorer ST, a Flex RS, a Scat Pack Durango, a Nismo Pathfinder…

    • 0 avatar
      Adam Tonge

      But the Traverse RS has less HP than the regular one. God forbid GM put the 3.6TT in a large crossover.

    • 0 avatar

      Well, there is the Explorer Sport with 3.5L EcoBoost, Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8, etc. “performance” SUVs are nothing new. Slightly ridiculous, yes, but nothing new.

      • 0 avatar

        I’d love to see the 3.6TT in a large CUV. The guys now who talk about “my dad had a big block Plymouth wagon” can have grandkids who talk about “my dad had a twin-turbo Traverse, that sucker could scoot!”

    • 0 avatar

      Can’t speak for all of those vehicles, but a Durango Scat Pack sure sounds like a winner!

      My brother has one with the 5.7 and it is no slouch, but the 6.4 would be downright entertaining. Haul the family AND haul ass!

    • 0 avatar

      I think the “line” in R-Line means it’s only cosmetic changes.
      There’s the Fiesta ST and t Fiesta ST-line in Europe, the latter looks like a Fiesta ST but has a standard Fiesta engine, I believe.

  • avatar

    The pricing accurately reflects how this thing comes across in person. I hopped in an Atlas at the LA auto show. This is not a premium SUV. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s not a 7 passenger Touareg. It’s bigger than a CX-9, but not as upmarket. Felt a lot like a Pilot.

  • avatar

    “built in the North American region”

    Heh… good one, jefe.

  • avatar
    Click REPLY to reload page

    Not included in Dr. Diess’ comments was any mention of how much, if at all, the low price was attributable to judicial and copious use of recycled materials sourced from shredded TDIs.

  • avatar

    276hp seems underpowered to me unless this is much lighter than it looks. The new Traverse is probably bigger and gets over 300hp.

    • 0 avatar

      The VR6 loves breathing, I’m sure a less restrictive intake/exhaust would get you there without a problem. Hell, on first generation models, there are dyno’s of 200 WHP with just those two modifications, on an engine rated at 178 Hp.

    • 0 avatar

      I mean, how fast do want to be going while you’re reaching back, trying to shut up Jayden and Kaya?

  • avatar

    This is the Jetta SE of the SUV genre.

    Volkswagen is over-leveraging its solid, if not reliable, German heritage in the interest of market share….quality will pay.

    This is likely just one of the first fully Globalized VW platforms coming out of their world dominance division…Thinking narrowly….I am not sure are we getting better vehicles out of VW but merely more financially attractive, warranty riding tin cans.

    • 0 avatar

      So…”stands for designing for the American buyer and built in the region” pretty much throws out the “German” argument. This looks to be as American as my sister’s Explorer now. What is the purpose of a VW, if not some semblance of being something from Germany? Maybe that is the only way to rebuild the brand (to completely disassociate with the Vaterland)?

    • 0 avatar

      VW certainly has a checkered past, but the MQB-based products seem to be pretty good (so far.)

      (They had better be, because a pervasive problem across MQB would sink the company, given how much of the product line rides/will-ride on the platform.)

  • avatar

    The base price is a great advertising piece “our price beats the competition!”, but will anyone actually want to buy the base model?

    • 0 avatar

      VW’s base models (S trim) usually are not too bad. Certainly not a good-luck-actually-finding-one-for-retail-customer-anyways penalty trim like Chevy’s L trim or Ford’s S trim.

      Knowing VW the range topping SEL Premium will probably be order only after the first year unless this vehicle really takes off.

      • 0 avatar

        Is everyone forgetting that embarrassing 120hp 2.0L base Jetta they were selling up until, like 2 years ago? Base VWs are plenty stripped. And the mid-trim models still usually come with god-awful vinyl seats.

      • 0 avatar

        I wouldn’t agree with that, I had a loaner base Passat while they were doing a recall on my SEL and it honestly felt like a completely different vehicle. The handling felt noticeably worse (likely 2/2 differences in the tires but I dunno if they modified the suspension any) and the TSi was way noisier than I had expected, and the base transmission much less refined than the DSG I’m used to. The seats also LOOKED all right but they were noticeably less comfortable after a while than the SEL seating. I would never buy the base Passat and I’d honestly be worried that the base Atlas is similarly crappified.

        And honestly without a nice interior and decent handling what’s the point of buying a VW product, it’s just an insanely expensive to maintain version of a Pilot then?

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          The base Passat S I tried a few years ago was a perfect example of why skimping on a few key basics can ruin one’s perception of the entire model.

          Midgrade SEs are quite nice, but the S had these depressing dark speckled cloth seats that lacked adjustability, the basic dashboard materials were fine but the trim was dull grey so the cabin was just a monotone cave. Hard urethane steering wheel. Cheapest looking plastic wheel covers I’ve ever seen.

          The next trim level up did indeed feel like an entirely different vehicle.

    • 0 avatar

      1. How many actually buy the base model (0 options) anything?

      2. How many base model vehicles are in any dealers stock at any given time?

      I assume you keep around a few base model Mazda 3s, Corollas, Sonics/Cruzes, etc for the real skinflints but once you step up from the compact/subcompact category…

      • 0 avatar

        VW doesn’t really do options all that much (maybe one or if especially generous two per a trim). Trim levels period basically dictate how well equipped you want the car with them. Because of that it is usually not too hard to find the base VW trim on the lots (the highest trims are often basically order only).

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    The design looks very dowdy and derivative. I particularly dislike the unflattering and crude wheel flares. And the less said about the front fascia, the better. Apart from a few motifs, it really doesn’t look like any of the other products in the VW portfolio. Much like the current Passat, design definitely takes a backseat for any one of VW’s “designed for North America” products.

  • avatar

    The Atlas could make it to my driveway. My wife loves big and boxy. She really dislikes the wavy curvy SUV’s. We settled on a 15′ Edge 3.5 AWD.

  • avatar

    Shockingly reasonable? The tarred VW brand might be comparable to the Mitsu Outlander (to pick on a weak brand), or the 2.0T Sorento (unfairly).
    With the financial flagellation VW has had to take to recompense for lèse-majesté of the EPA, one could look askance at VW’s capability for maintaining quality (such as it ever was).

  • avatar

    I like a nice conservatively styled SUV, reminds me of a 2010 MKX.

  • avatar

    I’m holding out for the Diesel.

  • avatar

    You misspelled Tennessee.

  • avatar

    They were going for the Kia Borrego look. Or the facelifted B9 Tribeca. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

  • avatar
    Trucky McTruckface

    Yeah, it’s reasonable if you think getting a four cylinder for the price of a V6 Pilot LX is a great deal. And almost no one wants a Pilot LX because Honda purposely equips it so you’ll hate yourself for not paying more.

    I’m sure VW, whose strategy with its USDM products seems to be a rehash of the “Malibued” Westmoreland Rabbits, has ensured that the cheapest Atlas will make a Pilot LX feel like a luxury car.

  • avatar

    Huh. Slap a GM badge on this thing, and nobody would look twice or dispute it.

    VW’s Americanizing efforts over the last 5 years have produced some awful looking cars, and this is no exception.

  • avatar

    This rig is uuuugggglllllyyyy

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