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

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
atlas shrugged volkswagens big crossover doesnt have much time for four cylinders

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]

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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.

  • ToolGuy VW (marque not group) and Tesla very nearly switched positions on a YTD basis.
  • RHD Inexpensive gasoline appears to be a thing of the past. ILO is correct - we have enough sunlight, wind and emerging ocean wave energy to power the entire country and then some. Clean air is nice, and being free of the whims of OPEC, geopolitics and hugely profitable oil companies will do all of us a world of good.
  • Raymond Segura Can you tell me where I can get the rear bumper for 69 impala?
  • Art Vandelay some of the crazy numbers I get. Percentages look bigger with any fluctuations with low volume makes and brands leaving the market will see massive month over month changes. But what’s with Buick? I still see the occasional ad on TV and yet the drop is disproportionate even compared to all the other GM brands.
  • Master Baiter "There is no mandate for consumers to buy EVs, not in any country or state. That’s made up."Right. And you are not mandated to purchase a toilet that only uses 1.6 gallons/flush. You could choose to not have a toilet--just go in the woods, like the bears do.
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