By on April 7, 2017

2018 Volkswagen Atlas grey front quarter off road

For whatever reason, Volkswagen has shied away from the mainstream, large, family vehicle market for decades. When most American parents and spawn headed to Wally World in massive station wagons, Volkswagen offered the Microbus. When minivans became the rage, the sages of Wolfsburg set forth the quirky, rear-engined Vanagon. And through the ‘90s, as the SUV became the default soccer mom transport, the Eurovan continued the tall and narrow van theme.

Certainly, the Routan was a typical minivan — albeit provided by Chrysler — and the Touareg followed a traditional (if pricey) luxury SUV path, but VW hasn’t been a player in the meat of the market. Considering the challenges the company has faced over the last couple years, Volkswagen simply cannot afford to yield high-volume market segments. Besieged dealers need something bigger than a midsized sedan to sell.

Most of all, as noted by Michael Lovati, Volkswagen’s Vice President of Midsize and Fullsize vehicles in North America, “VW needs to regain trust.”

Step one in rebuilding trust is the all-new, American-made 2018 Volkswagen Atlas, which aims squarely at the ever-popular three-row midsize crossover market, especially the beloved Ford Explorer and Honda Pilot.

Does Atlas hit the bulls-eye, or miss wildly?

2018 Volkswagen Atlas yellow front quarter on road

A Crossover the Size Of Texas
Taking a look at the published dimensions, it’s clear Volkswagen benchmarked the Explorer when developing its new three-row SUV. In virtually every significant dimension, the Atlas is quite close, right down to an identical overall length at 198.3 inches. However, the Atlas rides on a longer 117.3-inch wheelbase — 4.5-inches longer than the Ford — which yields better approach and departure angles for the offroading this SUV will never see.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas third row folded

The interior is similarly roomy, though 20.6 cubic feet of space behind the third row isn’t particularly spacious for a week’s worth of luggage for six. Fold that back row down, however, and you can load 55.5 cubes of stuff and things. Or, as the cheeky new commercial notes, other activities can be accommodated.

I was particularly impressed by the third row. While leg room isn’t quite as generous as most minivans, the adjustability afforded by the sliding second row gives most passengers plenty of space. That second row of seats can slide fore and aft over a range of 7.7 inches, giving plenty of options for seating. Again, thank that long wheelbase. Tall folks like myself wouldn’t want to spend all day in the wayback, but it’s not punishing for shorter trips. Kids will be pleased.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas second and third rows

Access to that third row is simple, as shown below. The second row can fold forward with a touch of a lever – even with car seats fitted. Volkswagen is careful to note children shouldn’t be seated in those car seats while folding, else they may become intimately acquainted with the backs of the front seats.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas rear seat access

Outward visibility is quite good; the A-pillars seem especially thin, minimizing blind spots. The eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system — a development of the MIB II system seen elsewhere throughout VW — is improved over the unit I tried in the Golf SportWagen in December. The screen itself is much more responsive, with more defined buttons and fewer phantom button presses.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas dash

Don’t Mess With Atlas
The exterior styling isn’t the most exciting — the wide grille shares plenty with that of the Passat — and the slab-sided styling isn’t adventurous. Interestingly, the character line along the flanks, with squared-off flared humps over the squared wheel arches, is echoed – though inverted – in the shape of the standard LED headlamp reflectors.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas headlamp

Otherwise, the big SUV has the typical dark plastic cladding surrounding the wheel arches, the sills, and the lower front and rear bumpers.

The photos don’t do the yellow paint justice. The Kurkuma Yellow Metallic paint looks magnificent, especially with bright sunshine reflecting off the hood. The furious negotiations between VW reps and the various journalists to be the ones driving the few yellow Atlases was a sight in itself. Alas, your scribe wasn’t so skilled at fighting, resulting in the Platinum Gray Metallic SEL Premium trim shown atop the page.

Imagine A GTI Truck
Built in Volkswagen’s Chattanooga factory, the Atlas makes use of the MQB platform that underpins several VWs, including the Passat and Golf. The versatility of MQB is quite remarkable.

That shared architecture was evident as I set upon the rolling two-lanes of Texas Hill Country, where a friendly pickup driver mercifully warned of a speed trap set just over a rise by the local constabulary. The flashing headlamps alerted me to my inadvisable pace, which was stemmed quickly by the excellent brakes. I found myself reminded of other, significantly smaller Volkswagens when the roads turned twisty — the Atlas, while obviously neither a sports car nor a hot hatch, rewards brisk driving with a solid, well-damped platform that turns in beautifully with relatively minimal body roll.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas grey on road

The chipseal two-lanes I encountered did reveal a good bit of road noise. Naturally, the higher-spec SEL Premium with 20-inch tires was noisier than the SE trim, shod with 18-inch rubber. The better pavement on the interstate made a difference from below. Higher speeds — say, over 50 mph — highlighted some wind noise from the A-pillar, though not enough to require a change in stereo volume.

Under the hood is a familiar powerplant: Volkswagen’s venerable 3.6-liter VR6, as also found in the Passat and Touareg. Here, it produces 276 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque, and is up to the task of motivating the 4,502 pound, all-wheel-drive Atlas briskly. Both the VR6 and the coming 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder (235 hp, 258 lb-ft) are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The standard, fuel saving, start-stop feature is perhaps the least intrusive system I’ve yet experienced. Most vehicles tend to shudder to a rattling start when so equipped. Not so in the Atlas, which smoothly, seamlessly starts with barely a sound.

A Texas-Sized Value?
The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas goes on sale in May with the V6 powerplant in both front- and all-wheel drive. Prices range from $32,825 for a V6 FWD S model, equipped with cloth seats, a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. All-wheel drive adds $1,800 to the sticker of the S trim.

A well-equipped SE with Tech trim – which adds remote start, keyless entry with push-button start, three-zone automatic climate control, leatherette heated seats, an 8-inch touchscreen with eight speakers, and a suite of safety features including adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and lane keeping assist — will fetch $38,015 for a front-drive model, or $39,915 with 4Motion all-wheel drive.

The top SEL Premium, available only with all-wheel drive, stickers at $49,415, and is fitted with a factory-installed trailer hitch and raises the tow rating to 5,000 pounds. Full-leather seating is included, as well as ventilated front seats and a 12-speaker Fender premium audio system. The SEL Premium also has a 12.3-inch Volkswagen Digital Cockpit that replaces the driver’s gauge cluster, allowing for driver-adjustable configuration of the display.

Four-cylinder models will be offered later, starting at $31,425 for the S trim, stretching to $40,085 for the SEL package.

All prices include a $925 destination charge.

Considering the significant challenges Volkswagen has faced from regulatory bodies and dealerships, an excellent product is vital to show the brand in a positive light — and to ensure the continued survival of Volkswagen on this continent. VW can’t weather another half-baked family hauler. The Atlas is thoroughly conventional, conservative, and competent, which is precisely what Volkswagen needs.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas grey front quarter on road

[Images: © 2017 Chris Tonn; Volkswagen of America]

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77 Comments on “2018 Volkswagen Atlas First Drive Review – Critical Mass...”


  • avatar
    make_light

    All I can see is Mitsubishi Endeavor. But everything in this class looks like a hairy bar of soap compared to the CX-9.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    Remember the old advertising slogan, “Ask the man who owns one”, well ….

    As a former VW owner – my first vehicle purchase – I would never again consider a VW for purchase, no matter how well reviewed.

    My brother is now in the throws of returning a nightmare 2013 VW SportWagen TDI. Besides the TDI debacle, the car’s suspension was broken on a regular basis and the “fixes” weren’t so much fixes but were expensive+ in both time and money spent.

    Like me, he will never consider buying another VW. And like the Godfather’s Fredo, VW is dead to him.

    • 0 avatar
      DearS

      VW makes great cars, but I don’t buy new cars with full warranties.

    • 0 avatar
      Whatnext

      Diffr’nt strokes, I’ve owned two VWs since 2011 and haven’t had any mechanical troubles (excluding diesel recall, which I don’t count as a mechanical malady). I’d recommend them to anyone who wants conservatively styled elegant transportation, with good driving dynamics.

    • 0 avatar
      dr_outback

      What suspension issues? VW suspensions don’t have much of an issue besides an issue with the Mark 5 Jetta rear springs that sometimes rust and break due to water being lodged in the lower spring seat.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    “a development of the MIB II system seen elsewhere throughout VW”

    it hasn’t neuralyzed anyone yet, has it? If I drive one I’ll have dark glasses on just in case.

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    Needs more HP for larger towing capacity. Yet this vehicle will be a big player in this crowded market.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    I look to VW for unique product positions that other makes cannot/will not occupy. GTI, Golf, Sportwagen, perhaps even turbo gas Jettas. Those cars are small, relatively affordable, and distinguish themselves from the competition in ways that may make their downsides worth it.

    I don’t know if I’d make that gamble on a $40k 3-row family bus. Probably just get a proven model with satisfactory resale and seats that don’t hurt.

    If this review holds, the Atlas is well implemented. Whether it sells will be a test of the VW brand.

  • avatar
    eamiller

    It’s just so ugly from the front (too much Wagon Queen Family Truckster for me), generic from every other angle. The interior was a huge letdown when I sat in one at the LA Auto Show.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Is there any reason to buy this instead of a Honda Pilot? Usually the response would be “a nicer interior and better high-speed handling.” But this interior looks quite cheap aside from the dashboard and this is not a class of vehicle that would inspire any high-speed hijinks. The Pilot is better-packaged and is likely to be cheaper at similar equipment levels.

    • 0 avatar

      No, it is not a sports car, but it should sit decently at 80 mph and be stable in corners. The PS-AWD in the MDX rarely intrudes that you notice, but it keeps the chassis flat everywhere. The Pilot is nice if you never push it, it is set up for comfort. The MDX can be driven. Hopefully the Atlas won’t forget its parentage.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      The reason to buy this is not to be “another Pilot driver”. Pilot, man, is a minivan with proper rear doors. Pilot also starts north of 30K. And there is nothing exciting in driving it.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        This is also a minivan with swing doors, and there will be nothing exciting in driving it, but it will be smaller inside, even more expensive, and likely less reliable.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          I wouldn’t have to go to a Honda store to buy one, which is reason enough.

          Though in reality, if I were to buy something like this I would just go full stupid and get a Suburban.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Fair point about the Honda store. Although most VW stores are no better.

            The Acura store is much better, though, and will sell you one with SH-AWD and nicer suspension tuning.

            It’s a matter of time before I buy a vehicle in this class, although in all likelihood I’ll buy used. The Atlas is not making a compelling case to me; I don’t like the styling and everything else seems meh. The most attractive at the moment is the MDX Sport Hybrid, once they are thick on the ground. I’m also intrigued by the coming Lexus RX450hL. The Audi Q7 is nice, but only when you load it up with so many options that it costs a fortune.

    • 0 avatar

      I haven’t seen one in person yet, but this one looks bigger behind the third row then the pilot. In fact it in general appears to have a bigger interior but I would have to confirm in person.

    • 0 avatar
      lavaman

      Yep. Pilot trunk and back seat aren’t big enough. I need a second row to fit two rear facing car seats, the third row to fit a teenager or grandparents, and the cargo to fit strollers. This is the only viable choice that I can see short of a minivan or a Tahoe, the latter of which there is no space for in the city, and the former of which my wife is not impressed by.

      I love the CX-9 — awesome driving position reminds me of my Audi — but realistically speaking it’s barely larger than the CX-5 we already have. The extra space in the CX-9 just makes the second row viable; the back is a joke for anyone over 5 feet 5.

      These things are going to sell.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    It’s priced rather aggressively, and is definitely designed with Americans in mind.

    But that face…oy.

    Also, side note, I don’t think the NMS Passat that we get here and in China uses the MQB architecture. It’s based on a stretched and widened version of the older Mk.5 / Mk.6 Golf, I believe. The factory in Chattanooga is a flex factory, which can accommodate both the MQB-based Atlas and the older PQ35-based Passat

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      I was wondering the same thing about the MQB reference. I think only the Euro Passat is MQB (insert jealous sniping comment here). But I am impressed that the Atlas is; I was expecting it to be on the U.S. Passat platform, and I regard that as good news.

      I don’t care one way or the other about the headlights, but I heartily dislike the dash. It looks like a flat tinfoil stamping, much like the Americanized Passat’s does, and to my eyes it screams cheap.

      Yes, Mr. Lovati, “VW needs to regain trust.” Unfortunately for this year’s sales, and probably for your job security, it can’t do so with one model or one year. I can’t trust this car until it keeps lining up the CR green dots at age 5+, something no VW has ever done.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Yes, the “B8” rest-of-world Passat is based on the MQB architecture.

        As for this mustard-yellow color…I think it would look a lot better on a smaller car like the Golf, Beetle or Jetta. VW did display it on the Arteon concept (CC replacement), though. But I wouldn’t buy a big family-hauler in a color like that.

  • avatar

    I’m going to say this will sell. I up until recently was the target demo for this, suburban homeowner with 2.3 kids, and hauling around soccer teams and home depot junk. My kids are big, and that part of my life has passed, so I’m not buying another family truckster, but the price points look good, the interior appears from the photos well thought out, and it will be not a lexus or honda. Provided they don’t end up with something like the bad coils debacle of a few years ago, and the dealers don’t ADP it or install $500 floor mats, it should be OK. Finally, VW builds to this market in a non condescending way.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    This is another sale eater on Mazda CX9. Similarly priced and if drives as good, I am afraid…

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The Mazda CX-9 wears far better styling than this Volkswagen Atlas. However, while the CX-9 is one of the longer vehicles in this segment, much of that goes to the RWD-like proportions. That, coupled with the sporty D-pillar slope and general prioritization of the second row, means that the CX-9 is more of a 5+2, and definitely not the best option if you need a true family hauler.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah I stopped into the local Mazda dealer the other day the had new and old CX-9’s in the front row. The third row and cargo area seem to have shrunk quite a bit. Shame really because the interior in the front seat area is wonderful.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          The CX9 Signature is $5K cheaper and just as well equipped (excluding the digital cockpit, but including nappa leather, rosewood and real aluminium). Additionally the CX9 is a better design, more fun to drive and more reliable. Interior space is not much different with 14.4 cu ft vs 20 cu ft. Rear row space in the CX9 fits adults perfectly well when I tried it. If you want maximum space buy a minivan (cheaper too).
          Styling wise VW copied Chevy and Honda.

          • 0 avatar

            I like the CX-9 Interior, but I was already turned off by the 4cyl. The 3rd row and space behind it made it a non starter. Doesn’t matter much for me anyways as the next people carrier I buy will be a Durango as that’s my Wife’s preference. I just like to look at all the cars in the class with the critical parent eye. I’m no VW fan either but I have to give credit when they do something right, of course the pricing is a bit high.

          • 0 avatar
            NormSV650

            But the CX9 is so slow….it is the slowest accelerating!

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            Really Norm? It has more torque than this VW V6 and not much less horsepower. I note VW are also bringing going out a four cylinder.

          • 0 avatar
            tekdemon

            The real flaw with the CX-9 is just that Mazda needs to upgrade the seats to offer the same features as competitors. No ventilated seat option while the Atlas/Explorer/Highlander all offer them on their high trims? The passenger seat with no lumbar support?
            Offer competitive seats and enable a little bit of an extra overboost mode when on premium fuel for those occasional passes and it’ll be way more competitive.

          • 0 avatar
            Whatnext

            It is ridiculous for you to claim that the CX9 is more reliable than the Atlas, when the VW hasn’t even gone on sale yet! And, as it is highly unlikely you’ve driven both, how can you state the CX9 handles better?

  • avatar
    dwford

    The real question is: who is this for? The typical VW buyer doesn’t seem to be the huge CUV type. And the typical 7 passenger crossover buyer has quite a few established names to choose from, and would likely be wary of the scandals, the hipster VW image and the questionable build quality reputation.

    • 0 avatar
      kcflyer

      my thoughts exactly. We own an Enclave. When it’s time to replace it I will look at several large SUV’s that can seat at least 6 and tow at least 5,000 lbs . I won’t likely give VW a serious look. I like the looks of their cars and the Atlas isn’t offensive but I just don’t trust them enough to buy one.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s the same reason they all build one, their customers have kids and go somewhere else.

    • 0 avatar
      cgjeep

      There are lots of 3 year VW lease holders that have positive VW experiences. Assuming nothing bad happens in the next 3-4 years I can see my wife wanting one. She has a Sport Wagon now and we’ll need something bigger as the kids grow. Plus I bet VW offers attributes leases on them.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      VW cannot survive in the US selling to Subaru’s market alone. If they want volume they have to expand.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      they are trying to lure people who aren’t typical VW buyers. That’s their survival strategy.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    What a hideous colour. One last photo out the front windshield before that shove into the swamp.

  • avatar
    GermanReliabilityMyth

    Nice color. Nice front end/grille. Nice overall. Just not my type of vehicle or price point. Hopefully this pans out for VWoA.

  • avatar
    EX35

    I know it costs a bit more, but we love our 2017 Armada. It’s amazing how well a modern “truck” weighing 6000lbs can handle and isolate the driver from NVH. MPG obviously sucks but we suck it up given the capabilities.

  • avatar

    So, to tow what a $28k TrailBlazer could’ve or $26k F-150 can, I have to spend $49k?

    Why would I buy this over, say, anything else, which I could easily afford?

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      If towing capacity is your main criteria, then you probably won’t buy one of these. I doubt it will cost VW many sales. I hardly ever see anyone towing with anything other than a pickup.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      You’ll notice that the heated gas pedal warms your feet while you drive, while the…gently massages your buttocks.

  • avatar
    Robbie

    Let’s take the Chrysler route. What can possibly go wrong..??

  • avatar
    redapple

    worst – name – in – a – while

  • avatar
    newenthusiast

    So, my question is this:

    In terms of size (198.3″ L x 77.9″ W x 69.6″ H), this is VERY similar to the Audi Q7 (disclosure: I own a Q7), which is 200″ L x 78″ W x 69″ H.

    Why did it take sooooooo long for a VW branded 7 seater to appear when VAG had one already in the corporate umbrella? Is the fact that its on a different platform the reason it took so long to develop? Its even got AWD…so I don’t get it.

    Beyond that, its the right size and price to compete with the Explorer/Traverse/Highlander.

    But the ‘unreliable’ perception is still the biggest obstacle VW branded vehicles need to overcome.

    • 0 avatar
      Rocket

      In a word … cost. The Audi MLB platform is in a completely different league. I don’t think they could take enough content out to make it remotely competitive with other mainstream brands. The Touareg and Q7 share a platform, so what you’re describing is a 3-row Touareg, which starts north of $50k. Plus, isn’t the third row in your Q7 pretty unusable?

      As a Touareg [TDI] owner myself, I would never buy one of these. I checked them out thoroughly at the NAIS, and compared to the Touareg it felt cheap. Perfectly competitive with the Highlander/Pilot set, but not for me.

      • 0 avatar
        newenthusiast

        I have found that for car pooling the kids and their friends, the third row has been fine. The seats themselves are comfy, but leg room is typically not good for adults.

        Its starting to get tight, but using it this way is not a primary function. It usually stays down and is my daily driver and family weekend hauler to wherever us and our toys are going (which we do a lot….100k+ miles in 4.5 years. Mine is on the old platform).

        I knew the Q7/Touareg/Cayenne were all related, but I don’t really understand the differing costs of platforms, especially when they are so similar in size. I only really started to try and learn about stuff about cars in 2014 or so, in the hopes of keeping my cars longer and lowering maintenance costs.

        I get that the three I’m talking about are supposed to have FAR more upscale interior content and quality vs a typical mainstream SUV, but I didn’t think that there was so much different underneath.

        I’m with you and also don’t think anyone would have bought a 3-row Touareg in the US, anyway. (Maybe some eccentric people would have gone for a 3-row Cayenne, given how bat-**** crazy it drives for its size,and how much more customization via options Porsche allows vs Audi and VW). So I get why VW needs one. I just figured de-contenting an existing, paid-for platform was quicker and more profitable.

        But VW hasn’t exactly approached the North American market in a way that we think makes sense in a long time.

    • 0 avatar
      EX35

      I never understood why VW doesn’t up its b2b warranty to 5 years to compensate for the perception.

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        The answer it is very simple. They can’t afford a 4 year 50,000 warranty because too many cars would come in for repairs. The problem is, a Hyundai-like warranty 5/60 bumper to bumper is the only thing that would make VW be on the radar of more Americans. Otherwise, it will stay what it is now. A company that barely treads water in USA.

        • 0 avatar
          EX35

          maybe VW should make cars that wont make the company go broke with warranty claims.

          • 0 avatar
            Carrera

            I agree with you but unfortunately reliability is something that has always eluded VW. Sure, there are some exceptions but overall, we all know that VW is always fighting with Fiat-Chrysler for the bottom spots.

      • 0 avatar
        tekdemon

        They actually upped the warranty on the Touareg to 6 years 100,000 miles, but that’s a much more expensive vehicle.

        For what it’s worth, VW tends to give out extended warranties for the more common failure points on their vehicles. They don’t just extend the whole warranty but sort of do things piecemeal. My Passat TDI has individually extended warranties on the turbo, the DEF heater, and the heater core for the climate control system for example. These parts all have a 10 year and 120,000 mile warranty on them now. Of course if you’re one of the first people to experience such a failure out of warranty you may have a headache fighting with VW but once enough people experience failures they’ve been relatively good about admitting that it was a lousy design and extending warranties.

        Obviously it would be nice if VW vehicles were slightly more reliably designed to begin with instead of needing to wait for them to come up with crazy warranty schemes but they do seem to step up when there’s a major and frequent flaw. My heater core really did go out outside of the factory warranty and they fixed it under the extended warranty without issue and the local VW dealer is a good one that gave me a loaner and everything.

  • avatar
    Lichtronamo

    I saw the Atlas at the Chicago Auto Show. The exterior looks better in real life than photos (as do most VW/Audi). And the interior, although conservative, had a higher quality look/feel to it that either the Pilot or the Explorer – a class above similar to the Golf/GTI. The interior is also much better packaged than either the Pilot or especially the Explorer. The view out is expansive and there is plenty of room all around the driver and passegers. A solid effort – hopefully they get some traction in the market with this one!

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    “Kids will be pleased.”

    That interior is lovely but why would buy something so nice and then deliberately put children in it?

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      There really should be a childproof interior option. Just line the whole thing with spray on bedliner, seats and all.

      On the other hand, it baffles me that people let their children destroy the interiors of their cars. If my brother or I so much as snuck an animal cracker into our parents cars, I probably would not be here to type this! No eating, no drinking, sit there quietly watching the world go by or there WILL be (and were) consequences. The back seat was NOT a long reach in a old 911 or a Grand Prix. Not that we spent too much time in the car – our parents were too busy earning a living to be carting us hither and yon.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    The outside styling seems ok, nothing exciting but nothing polarizing or revolting. Almost like a long base Jeep GC. I haven’t sat in one but the interior seems ok. The v6 is tried and true, but the 4 cylinder probably too taxed for its mass. VW definitely needs an ace up its sleeve to compete with Pilot, Highlander, Santa Fe, Explorer and that ace could be a bumper to bumper 5/60 warranty. If not, they will just languish by the thousands on car rental lots and enjoy steep depreciation for resale.

  • avatar
    RHD

    The styling is pretty clean (much better than what the Koreans or even Toyota are putting out), but those wheels make it look like a Hot Wheels toy.
    VW’s challenge will be to actually lure buyers from so many established and strong competitors. And this WILL depreciate like crazy, especially since the warranty will be history by the time of the first trade-in.

    (I can already hear Jeremy Clarkson – “It’s a Mark 6 Golf, sized for Americans!”)

  • avatar
    tekdemon

    The 4 cylinder SEL is $9000 cheaper than it’s VR6 variant?! VW really has to cut this nonsense out, I remember when they did this with the Passat as well where the VR6 powered SEL trim was insanely optimistically priced and never sold at all. Since AWD is just a $1800 option what’s the justification of asking for $7200 more to get the VR6?! It actually sounds like it’s a fairly nice vehicle for larger families, though I still think they ought to try to bring an emissions compliant and reliable TDI powerplant back to really make the Atlas stand out.
    Hell, maybe they should make some TDI powerplants in the US to smooth over the image damage.

  • avatar
    EX35

    What’s the chances this thing lasts 75k without having to go to the dealer for a repair?

  • avatar
    Michael Haz

    No thanks. I’ve owned four VWs, and each one turned out to need higher-than-expected maintenance.

    The last one was traded on a different brand after it occurred to me that I knew far too much about the service writer’s vacations, kids in little league, move to a newer home, etc, than I had any interest in knowing. I had spent so much time in the service writer’s office that we were on a first-name basis. That was the last straw.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Do you mean unexpected repairs, or actual maintenance like a timing belt service?

      • 0 avatar
        Michael Haz

        Non-scheduled repairs. The VW was purchased new, adult driven, and maintained per the schedule on the owner’s manual.

        It had cooling system failures, electrical failures, HVAC fan failures, broken seat track, transmission problems, dashboard control failures, etc. In the final two months of ownership is needed to be towed to the dealer twice.

        And this was a car with only 120,000 miles on the odo, in a household where cars are carefully maintained so they last 300,000 miles or more.

    • 0 avatar
      SammyB

      Well, if you seen how they were built you would understand why. Nuff said.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    I like it.

    Its handsome, not a blob like Highlander/Explorer/Pathfinder/etc. It looks well proportioned and it wears it well.

    I hope Ford’s next Explorer will be similar.

    But, hey, the Flex is my current favorite 3 row crossoverish whatever, and not because its a Ford, although you would be forgiven for thinking so. It’s because its the least objectionable of its breed *to me*.

    I realize the Flex is a love-it-or-hate-it affair, but I don’t think the Atlas is. At least I hope it’s not to the buying public.

    I would much rather be staring at this in a traffic jam than a newer Explorer or Pathfinder.

    • 0 avatar
      rpmnow

      I agree. I think Atlas’s clean body design is a refreshing plus. I’m by now quite tired of how so many companies (most) seem to remain intent on following the trend of making vehicles look like anthropomorphic insects from science fiction movies and I’m more than ready to see design return to simpler, more honest styling, where form more closely follows function. I like an SUV, especially, to be a little more truck-like, as were the Bronco, the older versions of the Explorer, the older square front Pilot, etc. – and now somewhat the Atlas.

  • avatar

    Needs a V8.

    Or maybe a W12?

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    If the floor height is close to the old Pacifica, it’s going on my shortlist.


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