It's been a long time coming, almost four years since the CrossBlue concept was unveiled and now we have the Atlas, Volkswagen’s newest competitor in the seven-seat SUV segment.
Size wise, the Atlas is a good 9.5 inches longer than the Touareg and the third row can be easily accessed and comfortably seat full-size adults. Not something that most of its rivals can claim. But it does have a hefty claimed curb weight of 4,502 pounds. Perhaps this is the cause for its low fuel economy figures as it has an estimated EPA mileage of just 17/23 mpg city/highway in the AWD six-cylinder Atlas.
The base model has a starting price of just $31,425 and power is sent to the front wheels via 235 hp 2.0-liter turbo-four engine with 258 lb-ft torque, which should be able to handle the heavy Atlas.
But according to Motor Trend, most buyers will decide to go with the 3.6-liter VR6 variant. Priced at $35,915 for front-drive and $37,715 for all-wheel drive, the VR6 can produce 276 hp and 266 lb-ft. That’s enough to accelerate the Atlas from 0-60mph in around 8.0 seconds.
There’s not manual option as it only comes with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Produced by Aisin, the transmission shifts smoothly, but there is a sizeable gap between second and third gears. The Atlas makes up for that with its excellent ride quality, cornering grip and a quiet cabin that was designed with primary ergonomics in mind.
Unfortunately, the three row SUV segment is already pretty crowded and the Atlas is arriving late to the party, so Volkswagen will need to properly market their entry into the segment.