2018 Volkswagen Atlas – Behemoth SUV

I had the pleasure of driving the all new 2018 Volkswagen Atlas. They had a white Atlas SEL VR6 4motion and black Atlas SEL Premium 4motion trim levels available for test drive. Boy was this boy big!

This vehicle is a huge step for Volkswagen. Growing up experiencing family life in two VW Vanagons, I’m really expecting this car to handle a lot of family duties. Since we are having a second child, I’m definitely in the market audience for the new SUV lineup from VW. Ever since the VW Eurovan stopped production, there has been a large void in the VW lineup. The Routan-van from Chrysler does not qualify. Comparing a mini-van with an SUV/CUV? Yes, I believe they attract similar audiences.

Some things going in that I was expecting. Well since I currently own a MK6 GLI, I was expecting the Camry’ization to push into the Atlas. I was actually surprised to see that there are some things VW did to control the prices, but all of them don’t bother me in an utilitarian type of vehicle that the Atlas is. So I’m fine with the material and design choices VW made with the Atlas.

Performance

The Atlas performed as intended. The only motor option at launch is the 3.6L VR6 FWD with optional 4motion all-wheel drive. The car drives smooth and rides well. It rode extremely well over bumps and felt solid on the highway. Definitely build for hauling the whole family.

I tried driving spiritedly, but power wise you are not going to be blown away, but there’s power for getting around but not enough power to convince you are driving a GTI. The power steer is a little over assisted, but I’m guessing could be adjusted with VAG-COM. The turning radius was on point for such a large vehicle.

Features

The new 8″ radio unit is great. It looks perfect in the dash and I think will work with Android Auto/CarPlay. The seating in 2nd/3rd row is amazing!

The 3-zone climate control seems to work well, like that they can be sync.The entry/exit for the 3rd is one of the best I’ve seen. The seating comfort in all seats are excellent. The room in the 3rd is almost on par with the 2nd row. I really like how flat the cargo area is with all the seats folded down.

Luxuries

The door panels are hard plastic, similar to the MK6 GLI. The dash is well appointed. The SEL Premium seats in leather are really nice. The leatherette version don’t look as good. I prefer leatherette honestly. But can’t wait to see the cloth, hopefully it looks good (like a GTI or Golf). The trim tested had the rear window shades, which is a nice touch.

The virtual cockpit dash is cool, but I’m not in the market to pay $45k for this class vehicle. I’m more interested in mid-trim version (aka Launch Edition). I think there are plenty of high end luxury features for those wanting to compete with Pilot, Explorer, Kia. It has some of the luxury features of Audi Q5 with all the safety lane assist/parking etc. But for me in the price point, I’m fine with standard safety features and not the luxury features.

What do I think

I want to wait for a Launch Edition. I want to see the cloth seat option. What are the financing options available?

Would I buy one? Definitely interested. I am also waiting on the new Tiguan LWB to compare. If your family is growing, it might be time to grown your Volkswagen.

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Lon Mok

Love cars, and love European cars more!

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