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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good afternoon all,
I just picked up a 2022 Termaline Blue Atlas for my wife two weeks ago. I drive a 2017 GTI and we are both VW fans. I have been reading some of your members posts and am getting mixed reviews on towing and towing capacity. I am not a towing expert but I was under the impression a 5k towing limit would also include all passengers and cargo inside the car plus the trailer and its cargo correct? Not to exceed 5k combined? I have seen the debate with weight distributing hitches and non / air bags or stock rear suspension. Owners manual states not to use a WDH. I also feel some of the members may be pushing their limit or far over with some of the comments I have read. I live in the mid west but we do have relatives out west. The wife and I have been looking at KZ branded travel trailers for a family of 5. 3 Little ones all under 10 and the two of us. The KZ Escape 191BHK (Dry 3,470), the 201BH (Dry 3,610) and two of the cheaper lighter KZ Sportsman Classic's 181BH and 191BH. The 181BH Sportsman Classic is 2,980 dry and the 191BH is 3,420. I am still up in the air for a truck as my next vehicle but till then we are trying to figure out of this could be done safely with the Atlas. On Paper if we kept the packing light per trailer and dry tanks it looks like it could be done maybe? Looking for some advice go for it or forget it and go buy a used Diesel Toureg as a third and primary tow vehicle with 7,700 lbs towing. Appreciate any advice thanks in advance !

Respectfully,
PointmanUSMC
 

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Welcome to the family!

We own a 2019 V6 AWD Atlas, a 2007 3.6 Touareg (same engine as Atlas), and a 2008 Touareg V8 FSI. We have not towed with our Atlas BUT I can make a few comments as we have towed extensively at the Touareg’s absolute max ratings and with the same 3.6 VR6 as the Atlas for part of the time.

1) Understand ratings: towing rating, payload rating, GVWR, GCWR, and max tongue rating.
A) The towing rating just just that how much a vehicle can pull as along as the other ratings are at or below.
B) The Payload rating is how much a vehicle (the Atlas and separately the Trailer you are pulling can carry over their axles (their are even max front and rear Axel ratings if we get really technical). Payload includes all the things including people and tongue weight although I believe assumes a full tank of gas. Some state it makes an allowance for the driver but I never count this just to be safe (when adding things up I add myself)
C) GVWR max weight your vehicle can weight. This is curb weight plus payload.
D) GCWR is the max weight permissible for the tow vehicle AND trailer (again loaded or “wet”)
E) max tongue weight is the amount of downward force on the hitch. This is factored into payload as stated above.

I would make a spreadsheet from the owners manual and detail out your specific models informations and start adding things on paper to see where you are at.

2) If towing near the max of most SUV models you are likely already near max payload based on the tongue weight. However a lighter trailer will allow for more items in the vehicle. For example our TT is (again I tow with a Touareg not the Atlas so remember that) 6,00” dry and has GVWR of 7,700 lbs.Loaded (believe it or no) we are at 7,500 lbs as we haul too much crap around.Tongue weight is 770 lbs and we run WD. Actual rear Axel weight is increased by 550 lbs as the remaining weight is transferred to the front axle the payload is such that we use a chaser vehicle (family of 6 so we wouldn’t fit in the Touareg anyways.)

3) We have RVd for over 10 years now all in our Touaregs and pulled with both. The 3.6 is a sufficient engine and that will not be a problem in the Atlas at all…full stop…don’t worry about that. Rather focus on the ratings and the weights. Understand them and make sure you are at or under. From what I have read and what I have seen airbags are great. At the Atlas’s max rating of 5,000 lbs which should have like 500 lbs on the hitch I would still use WD but I would use it on a VERY low setting because it is really only good to avoid porpoising and aid in being stable in rough roads.

Frankly VW knows more about towing than I thought they would going into this 10 years ago and from what I have read the Atlas is a pretty good TV (tow vehicle) although we have greater needs.

As always I don’t know everything and if I missed something and someone else sees please correct and or add I am tired and my fingers are cramping up (phone).

cheers
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the welcome and the update Chillax. I have been reading more into towing capabilities and my wife found this handy site as well. "towcalculator.com" It is disappointing the Atlas didn't tow as much as the previous generation Toureg. I was looking at those for myself a few years back when I purchased a GTI. This was what lead me to think about purchasing a truck or larger SUV like a Suburban or Yukon XL. Till then I was trying to figure out if and what we could safely tow if anything for a family of 5 in an Atlas. Popups yes and some small travel trailers maybe. It just gets real close to max towing capacity and payload as you mentioned. You want to always factor in a 10% margin for safety as well. That is another -500lbs. I have looked at tons of small travel trailers and think 85% or more of them still aren't great for anything 5000lbs and under towing with anything useful on board. Batteries for the trailers propane food gear etc. Not to mention payload of passengers and supplies inside the Atlas. If we could roll back the clock I wish VW kept a rule that their midsize SUV always be able to tow 7000lbs plus. Dodge Durango as ugly as it is tow's 7800 or 8700 one of the two. With a Hemi v8 of course. Not everyone wants an American car. Still I feel VW is punishing us for the Diesel Gate scandle. They have to push off their hardship or a massive fine onto the people buying their products. This Atlas is our third VW and we are still VW fans but not sure for how long if they keep hitting the consumer. Looking forward to reading more of the post from members. Have a great day all.
 
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