Volkswagen needs a real winner to boost its image in the U.S. following the TDI emissions scandal. The automaker is no doubt hoping the three-row 2018 Atlas, launching next spring, will help.
If Volkswagen’s done things right, the SUV will at long last really appeal to the needs of U.S. buyers. At least the name is easy to pronounce, unlike the Touareg and Tiguan. (Let’s hope they have big enough cup holders for America’s super sized drinks in there, too.)
The Atlas will be the largest VW ever assembled in America. The seven-passenger SUV will roll down the assembly line in Tennessee in five different trims. It’s boxy with prominent wheel arches, big lights front and rear, and lots of masculine lines and creases. Standard LED headlights and LED Daytime Running Lights are up front, with optional LED taillights in the back.
Open the doors for three-row seating and space for seven people. VW says it will offer its Digital Cockpit inside, along with a simple driver-centric display. It will also feature VW’s best sound system offering yet – a Fender Premium Audio System with a 480-watt amplifier and 12 speakers. VW’s Car-Net suite includes the App-Connect feature that pairs smartphones with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink technologies.
There will be two gas engine options, a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo or 3.6-liter VR6, but of course no diesel. Both gas options will come mated to an eight-speed transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard four-wheel is optional.
As far as driver’s assistance goes, available features will include: Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert,Lane Departure Warning, which actively helps the driver steer the car back into its lane and Parking Steering Assistant.
Also, VW says the Atlas is the only vehicle in its class to offer the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System. It applies the brakes when a primary collision is detected by the airbag sensors, thus helping reduce residual kinetic energy and, in turn, the chance of additional damage.
The Atlas arrives with a choice of two powertrains: the 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injection TSI four cylinder with 238 horsepower or the available 3.6-liter VR6 engine with 280 horsepower. EPA fuel economy estimates will be released ahead of the launch.
VW will start building it in December and it will hit the road next spring.