Atlas Shrugged: Volkswagen's Big Crossover Doesn't Have Much Time for Four-cylinders

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

The three-row Atlas was the midsize utility vehicle Volkswagen needed, but the model’s entry-level 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is apparently the engine Volkswagen doesn’t want.

For 2019, the Atlas seems some unusual rejigging occur at the bottom end of the trim ladder. Unless you’re totally stoked with the idea of having the least amount of power going to the fewest number of wheels, you’ll end up paying more.

According to 2019 Atlas order guides seen by CarsDirect, Volkswagen plants to drop the 235 hp 2.0T engine from all but one trim level — the base S model. Last year, SE and SEL buyers could get their hands on a four-banger.

As it drops four-cylinder availability in favor of the brand’s 276 hp 3.6-liter V6, VW has also eliminated the front-drive Atlas S V6 model. This means getting into a six-cylinder requires extra expenditure for all-wheel drive (it’s a $3,200 climb from the $31,890 MSRP of the four-cylinder S). If six cylinders is a necessity but AWD isn’t, you’ll find yourself leapfrogging that model to land on the $36,490 front-drive SE V6.

It’s an odd grouping — you’ll have to spend an additional $4,600 for a front-drive V6, but $1,400 less if you’re in the mood for an AWD V6.

Four-cylinder Atlases were always thin on the ground; the manufacturer made most turbo trims available as factory order only. With this 2019 trim reshuffling, VW can continue marketing the base model’s competitive entry price while boosting the line’s profitability.

A key product for the U.S. market, Atlas sales began in May of 2017. Over the first nine months of 2018, 43,002 American buyers drove home in a new Atlas, with the model representing over 16 percent of the brand’s U.S. volume. Coupled with sales of the smaller Tiguan and its outgoing Tiguan Limited predecessor, as well as the remaining Touaregs populating U.S. lots, SUVs made up 47 percent of Volkswagen’s 2018 U.S. sales.

[Image: Volkswagen]

Steph Willems
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  • CincyDavid CincyDavid on Oct 22, 2018

    Sheesh, I'd LOVE it if my wife's Grand Cherokee got 18 MPG. It gets 14ish in the city and 18 in all-interstate driving. Has a 24? gallon tank so the range isn't horrible. The 360 HP/390 lbs of torque is nice though. I pondered getting an Atlas, wound up getting a deal on a used JGC and went with that. I will say I saw an Atlas R Line the other day in a BEAUTIFUL dark blue with a tinge of green to the color...I'm a silver/dark gray/black car guy but that dark blue was amazing.

  • Cicero1 Cicero1 on Oct 22, 2018

    Great reference to the best book ever written.

  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
  • 1995_SC Can you still get some of the tax credits under the new program?
  • Analoggrotto HyundaiGenesisKia saw this coming a long time ago and are poised for hybrid and plug-in hybrid segment leadership:[list=1][*] The most extensive range of hybrids[/*][*]Highest hybrid sales proportion over any other model [/*][*]Best YouTube reviews [/*][*]Highest number of consumer reports best picks [/*][*]Class leading ATPs among all hybrid vehicles and PHEVs enjoy segment bearing eATPs[/*][/list=1]While some brands like Toyota have invested and wasted untold fortunes into full range electric lineups HyundaiKiaGenesis has taken the right approach here.
  • EBFlex The answer is yes. Anyone that says no is just….. wrong.But the government doesn’t want people to have that much freedom and the politicians aren’t making money off PHEVs or HEVs. So they will be stifled.