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What to Like About The Volkswagen Atlas

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VW did well designing the Atlas, not only does it have the sort of clean styling with subtle cues expected from any VW product but it also makes a statement. Part of this is thanks to the hints of Audi seen throughout which get even greater as you delve into color options. It gets even better for the Chinese market which gets some special additions.

I think VW did a solid job on the exterior design of the Atlas; it’s handsome and crisp, and has some nice visual details and tailoring without falling into the easy trap of becoming too fussy or overdone, like so many modern full-size SUVs.

From a distance, the profile is a bit anonymous, and could be any of a number of similar cars, but on closer scrutiny, it gains some distinction. The sharp character line that goes from wheelarch-to-wheelarch is nice, and the wide half-octagon design motif that shows up in the grille and lights feels modern and sophisticated.

It’s not a design that’s going to make you do a comic, sitcom-style double-take, but I think it looks better than most similar full-size SUVs. I also want to donate props to Volkswagen for offering some decent colors, including a real yellow, my favorite car color.
- Jalopnik


Although you will not find a wide range of autonomous-like driving tech like what some car makers have already done, everything else included makes the Atlas feel up with the times. Anyone familiar with what VW and Audi has to offer will feel right at home.

We could probably spend pages and page going on about driving aids and automatic safety systems, but I won’t bore you with that because they both seem to have them all.

I will point out that the Atlas’s adaptive cruise works all the way down to crawling speeds and brief stops while the Pilot cuts out at lower speeds. The Pilot also tends to flash forward collision warnings a little too eagerly – it seems like it’s constantly going off in rush-hour traffic.

Both of these cars offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, but Volkswagen’s mixture of touchscreen and hard buttons make its built-in infotainment system easier to use than the Pilot’s pure touchscreen system, and VW’s new digital gauge cluster is loaded with information and looks nice.

All the buttons and controls are conventional, clearly labeled and it has a volume knob, so that’s an automatic win for ergonomics in the Atlas. Plus, the sound quality with the upgraded Fender audio system is a fair bit better than the Pilot’s.
- AutoGuide

Terrain Control

For a vehicle that was designed to comfortably get an average sized family around, off-road capability wasn't a priority, but VW still managed to make it as capable as anyone can ask for. Regardless of what reasonable range of terrain you will be driving on the Atlas will handle it. TFL compared it to the current Pathfinder:

The Volkswagen Atlas: “A Driving Mode Selection feature, equipped on all Atlas models with 4Motion all-wheel drive, enables the driver to select specific vehicle profiles based on driving conditions. It has four settings: Onroad, Snow, Offroad, and Custom Offroad. Within the “Onroad” setting, additional options are offered: Normal, Sport, Comfort and Individual. These alter operating parameters for drive systems like the engine, transmission, steering and Adaptive Cruise Control, as well as traction-assistance systems such as Hill Descent Assist and Hill Start Assist. The singular user interface is highly intuitive, utilizing both a rotary knob and a push-button. Turning the knob engages the various drive modes, while pushing the button triggers a pop-up menu on the screen of the infotainment system, allowing the driver to fine tune the Onroad mode.”



Fundamentally the Atlas is safe and most potential buyers won't look much further however it has come back from testing with impressive results. IIHS is one institution that did the typical range of testing, in the end it earned a 2017 Top Safety Pick award. Expect even better results as VW rolls out more autonomous-like driving tech.

Volkswagen has announced the all-new, seven-passenger 2018 Volkswagen Atlas, when equipped with available Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist), has earned a 2017 Top Safety Pick award by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

The 2017 Top Safety Pick award is issued to vehicles that have earned “Good” ratings in IIHS crash tests evaluated in five categories: frontal impact moderate overlap; frontal impact small overlap; side impact; roof strength; and head restraints. It must also offer an autonomous emergency braking system (AEB) that earns at least an advanced rating for front crash prevention.

The 2018 Atlas earned a “Superior” rating on the AEB test.

The Atlas is the only vehicle in its class to offer the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which is standard across all trims.


The last but best part is what a lot of us are here for and that is the shear size of its interior that can haul around an average size family and their cargo with little to no issue. Its probably why Volkswagen also sells the Atlas in growing markets like China and India. But to anyone familiar with this segment, the Atlas isn't a big surprise, just an incremental increase.

Since these are family cars, we’ll start with what families need most: cargo space and seating. Above all, this is where the Pilot has made a name for itself, with more interior space than seems possible from its midsize footprint, starting with 16 cubic feet (453 L) with all seats in place, 46 (1,303 L) with the third row down, and a maximum of 82 cu-ft (2,324 L) .

The third-row seats and second-row captain’s chairs also fold separately, so you can mix and match your cargo-passenger configurations. The Pilot has convenient underfloor storage, but the cover can easily be dropped to the bottom for a bit of extra space and maximum height.

Volkswagen engineers clearly wanted to beat the Pilot in the space race, so they went big, and as spacious as the Pilot is, the Atlas outstretches it by 4 inches (about 100 mm) in length and 6 inches (160 mm) in wheelbase. Height and width are about the same, but as you’d expect, the Atlas comes out ahead in cargo and passenger space.

Even with all seats in place, the Atlas is good for over 20 cubic feet (583 L) of cargo space, which means you can schlep around the kids and in-laws and still have plenty of space for the stroller and even a week’s groceries.

Drop the seats and the Atlas stretches its lead even more, with 55 cu-ft (1572 L) behind the second row and 96.8 cu-ft (2,741 L) with all the seats flat, and a bit of extra storage space under the floor where the subwoofer lives. Both vehicles’ seats are easy to fold and raise, so they really live up to the cargo utility part of their mission, but how are humans are treated?
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