Volkswagen has never understood the U.S. marketplace since the first Beetle. Their vehicles were either too expensive or didn't fit the needs of a buyer. But the company hopes with their new 2018 Atlas crossover, they can make end roads into the U.S. market and begin fixing their tattered image.
The Atlas is basically the production version of the CrossBlue concept that debuted at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show. Details such as the long grille, flat-topped wheel fenders, a crease along the side, and sloping rear window are here. If you didn't know this was Volkswagen, you would swear it was a Jeep Grand Cherokee. Using a stretched version of Volkswagen's MQB modular platform (yes, the same one used in the Golf), the Crossblue measures 198.3 inches long, 77.9 inches wide, and 69.6 inches tall. To put this in perspective, the GMC Acadia is about 4.7 inches shorter and 2.5 inches narrower than the Atlas.
Inside, the Atlas features three rows of seating for seven people. Volkswagen is quick to point out a clever folding mechanism for the second row that allows someone to enter the third row with a child's seat in the second. As for technologies, all Atlas trims will get Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink integration. Optional will be Volkswagen's Digital Cockpit which swaps the standard instrument cluster for a reconfigurable screen and a 12-speaker Fender audio system.
At launch, the Atlas will come with two engine options,
- Turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder with 238 horsepower
- 3.6L VR6 with 280 horsepower
No torque figures were given for either engine. An eight-speed automatic and front-wheel drive comes standard for both engines. 4Motion all-wheel drive is only available for the VR6. 4Motion will offer various drive modes for various road conditions. A hybrid model is expected down the road.
Volkswagen says the Atlas will be available at dealers next spring and will be built at the company's Chattanooga, TN plant. Pricing will be announced before then.
Press Release is on Page 2
VOLKSWAGEN UNVEILS THE 2018 ATLAS, AN ALL-NEW SEVEN-PASSENGER SUV BUILT IN AMERICA FOR THE MODERN AMERICAN FAMILY
The Chattanooga-built Atlas arrives with a full slate of available driver assistance and technology features, a massive interior and a choice of two powertrains
- Largest Volkswagen ever assembled in America
- Five trim levels, priced for the heart of the competitive SUV market
- Available interior features include innovative Volkswagen Digital Cockpit instrumentation
- Two engine options: four-cylinder TSI® turbo or the available powerful VR6®, both with eightspeed automatic transmission
- Seating for two adults in the third row, with innovative access system
- Based on the award-winning Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) architecture
- Optional 4Motion® all-wheel-drive system on VR6 models or standard front-wheel-drive
Santa Monica, Calif. – The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas, unveiled tonight on the Santa Monica Pier at the end of historic Route 66, launches a new chapter in the company’s American history. Built in Tennessee, the seven-passenger Atlas offers class-competitive levels of technology and spaciousness combined with hallmark Volkswagen driving dynamics and attention to detail, all at a price designed to draw customers’ attention in the family SUV segment.
“This is the biggest and boldest Volkswagen we have ever built in the United States, delivering the distinctive design and craftsmanship we’re known for, now with room for seven, ” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, CEO of the North America Region, Volkswagen. “The Atlas marks a brand new journey for Volkswagen to enter into the heart of the American market.”
Engineered from Volkswagen’s award-winning Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) architecture, the Atlas draws on the latest Volkswagen design DNA to create a bold new look in the SUV segment. At 198.3 inches long, 77.9 inches wide, and 69.6 inches high, Atlas is larger than any other Volkswagen on sale in the U.S., yet it retains classic proportions and clean lines that create a sense of timelessness and precision. Up front, standard LED headlights and LED Daytime Running Lights combine for a unique visual signature, with optional LED taillights to complete the look.
Inside, the Atlas makes maximum use of its dimensions to offer space for seven adults and their luggage. The third-row can be easily reached by an innovative folding seat solution, one that works even with child seats installed in the second row. Simple, driver-centric displays enhance the feeling behind the wheel rather than distracting from it; while the available Volkswagen Digital Cockpit allows drivers to reconfigure how they view vehicle information.
The available Volkswagen Car-Net® system provides a full suite of connected vehicle services, including standard App-Connect technology that offers integration with the three major smartphone platforms—Apple CarPlay™, Android Auto™ and MirrorLink®. The vehicle also features an available Fender® Premium Audio System that is the most sophisticated yet seen in a Volkswagen, with 12 channels, a 480-watt amplifier and 12 speakers.
The Atlas offers available driver assistance features that had been previously been reserved for premium SUVs, at an affordable level. These include: Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC); Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking (Front Assist); Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert; Lane Departure Warning (Lane Assist), which actively helps the driver steer the car back into its lane; and Parking Steering Assistant (Park Assist).
Also, the Atlas is the only vehicle in its class to offer the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System. This builds on the premise that a collision is rarely a single, instantaneous action, but rather a series of events that follow the initial impact—the most significant of which can cause additional collisions. The Automatic Post-Collision Braking System addresses this by applying 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. Either engine routes power through an eight-speed transmission to help maximize engine efficiency, and the Atlas can be configured either as front-wheel-drive or with available 4Motion all-wheel-drive in VR6 trims. The 4Motion system has a Driving Mode Selection feature that allows the driver to select specific parameters based on driving conditions. EPA fuel economy estimates will be released ahead of the launch in the Spring of 2017.
The Atlas is built alongside the Passat at the Volkswagen Chattanooga assembly plant, the result of an additional $900 million investment by Volkswagen in the facility. The Chattanooga plant is the only automotive manufacturing facility in the world to receive Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) program.