$31,425 2018 Volkswagen Atlas 2.0T's Fuel Economy Basically Matches Smaller VW Tiguan

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

At launch, the lone Volkswagen Atlas available in the United States was the more powerful 3.6-liter V6, a Tennessee-built $34,425 three-row crossover with 276 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is an $1,800 option. The Atlas was rated at 18 miles per gallon in the city; 25 on the highway. City fuel economy for AWD models dropped by a single mpg; highway mpg fell to 23.

Now we know how much money you can save by purchasing the front-wheel-drive-only Volkswagen Atlas 2.0T, which suffers a loss of 41 horsepower but generates very nearly as much torque as the V6 (258 lb-ft) and does so 1,150-rpm closer to idle.

Not surprisingly, a small, modern, turbocharged engine is barely more efficient than the larger, naturally aspirated V6.

According to the EPA, the front-wheel-drive Atlas 2.0T is rated at 22 miles per gallon in the city, a substantial improvement over the V6’s 18-mpg rating. But highway fuel economy ticks up by only one mpg to 26. By the EPA’s estimate, you’ll save just $300 on fuel annually by choosing the 2.0T.

Of course, that’s not the only money you’ll save by selecting the base model Atlas. Volkswagen originally said the V6 would be a $1,400 option on the $31,425 Atlas S. To date, the basic Atlas V6 has been the $34,425 Launch Edition. Promised late availability of the S trim has yet to materialize, though inventory is building up. There are nearly 6,000 copies of the Atlas in Cars.com’s inventory.

With rising inventory comes rising sales. The Atlas went into production in December, according to Automotive News, but after sales began in May, volume has been held quite low. August was the Atlas’s best month so far — 2,807 were sold.

But you can see the tide beginning to turn for Volkswagen’s small utility vehicle lineup. In addition to the 2,807 Atlas sales, Volkswagen of America also reported 2,516 sales of the new 2018 Tiguan and 1,005 sales of the old Tiguan, set to become the Tiguan Limited. That drove the utility vehicle division’s share of Volkswagen’s U.S. volume up to 21 percent in August 2017 from 12 percent a year ago.

Speaking of the Tiguan, the heavier Atlas’s far more powerful 2.0T — the 2018 Tiguan’s makes just 184 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque — is very nearly as fuel efficient. The front-wheel-drive Tiguan is rated at the same 22 mpg city and one-ups the Atlas only with its 27 mpg highway rating.

[Images: Volkswagen]

H/T to Peter!

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.

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  • NeilM NeilM on Sep 15, 2017

    For obvious reasons it's not going to happen now, but the choice engine for the Tiguan was the 2.0 TDI. I drove one with a 7-speed DSG for a week in the mountains of Switzerland and Northern Italy, and it was a hoot. I didn't bother to keep track of fuel consumption, mainly because it didn't consume enough fuel to be worth the effort of recording it. Emissions, well, that may have been another story...

  • Dave M. Dave M. on Sep 15, 2017

    I'm riddled by the model equipment levels on these. The Launch gets a sunroof but little safety (BSD, etc) the pricier SE gets you safety but no sunroof.

  • Jkross22 The contrived, forced, overproduced jokes and antics were fun 15 years ago, but it's been the same thing over and over since. The last few years of Top Gear were heading this direction and the 3 were phoning it in. They should have either done something completely different and tried something new. Instead they played it safe.
  • SCE to AUX "...identified during our rigorous validation process"Not so rigorous, if they ended up on dealer lots. 🙄
  • Ras815 Their naming scheme is almost as idiotic as having a totally separate Polestar brand for EVs that look exactly like...de-badged Volvos. But you can tell it came from the same idiocy.
  • Dukeisduke "The EX naming convention is used for the automaker’s new and upcoming EVs, the EX30 and EX90."Only upcoming when they can figure out the software.
  • SCE to AUX I've always said that consumer/business pressures will reign in government decrees, as they have in the past in places like California. That state has moved the goalposts many times for "ZEV" mandates.But the problem is the depth of politicization of the EPA. Mfrs need continuity and long-term commitment to requirements, not living on a 4-year political cycle of who's in the White House and Congress. Your President - whomever that is - isn't going to be around forever.Ironically, backing off the gas means handing a greater lead to Tesla, Rivian, and Lucid, (and possibly H/K/G). The whiners have begun heavy investments whose ROI will be extended by years, and their EV sales will reduce even further.It's like the coach granting his players less practice time because they're tired, while the other team stays fit - that's how you lose the game.