William Maley

VW News: 2018 Volkswagen Atlas Has A Tough Task Ahead of It

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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.

Source: Volkswagen
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.


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Another vehicle with the appeal of the Routan to sit for 180 days unsold on dealer lots.  VW needs to existentially ask itself if it is serious about the US market.

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Perhaps it will look better in person, but the reaction I can currently muster up is a big 'meh'. There isn't really anything to sway someone away from a Pilot, Highlander, etc. I am glad that they kept the VR6, yet disappointed they didn't advance it in any way possible. I know its days are probably numbered, but this could have been an opportunity to make it relevant again. 

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1 hour ago, A Horse With No Name said:

Another vehicle with the appeal of the Routan to sit for 180 days unsold on dealer lots.  VW needs to existentially ask itself if it is serious about the US market.

 

Why? This vehicle has all the makings one needs to sell well in this segment- clean, albeit conservative, styling, a long list of features, a 3rd row spacious enough for actual adults, and multiple engine choices on top of it. Not to mention it's being built on a great platform.

It is a shame that the 2.0T won't be offered with AWD. That's a lost opportunity there. On a side note, I think we are looking at the next GTI's engine specs in the base model.

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Failure, as stated by others, has all the potential, if they really had done market research here they would not have this dated, conservative Blah look.

Plus the Engines, Really? Are you trying to compete with the D3 or Honda? Anemic at best.

This is not going to win market share or fix their image.

05-2018-volkswagen-atlas-live-1.jpg

10-2018-volkswagen-atlas-live-1.jpg

19-2018-volkswagen-atlas-live-1.jpg

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I think it looks "okay". Nothing flashy or special but that's how VW does things. I'm fine with that simplicity. I'm just not sure how I feel about the engine choices. I know Ford tried to use a 2.0T 4cyl in the Explorer and it was a failure and this seems to be the same thing. It was 240hp/270tq. I can't see this being significantly lighter than the Explorer to benefit from that same power ratings. The jump to the 2.3T and 280hp/310tq is more what's necessary for a 3 row SUV. A n/a V6(nearly an inline6) can't be all that much better... I think it's safe to assume it will be the same as in the Touareg = 280hp/266tq and in that it get's an outstanding 1mpg better combined than an Explorer w/ the 3.5EB.

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57 minutes ago, dfelt said:

Failure, as stated by others, has all the potential, if they really had done market research here they would not have this dated, conservative Blah look.

Plus the Engines, Really? Are you trying to compete with the D3 or Honda? Anemic at best.

This is not going to win market share or fix their image.

05-2018-volkswagen-atlas-live-1.jpg

10-2018-volkswagen-atlas-live-1.jpg

19-2018-volkswagen-atlas-live-1.jpg

Not to mention Quality control out of the Chattanooga plant is abysmal. The people With TDI Passats in my TDI circles have come to pretty much rue the day they bought the damned thing. One of the guys in my local TDI club actually had so many issues with his that he bought a Ford C Max Hybrid and parked his Passat until the day he takes it back to the dealer.

Hell, I have talked to numerous people who are going to use the TDI Goodwill free towing to take their Passat back so they literally don't ever have to drive it again.  In all reality, it seems that there are more legitimate mechanical faults, from squeaks and rattles to sunroof issues and everything in between with the 2012-2016 Passats.

Even the professors I have talked to with Passat gassers here at work seem to despise them.

Edited by A Horse With No Name

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The outside looks boring and bland, but crossover buyers may not care.  The inside looks nice, it is a simple design interior but looks appealing.  The engines are fine, the Acadia has 197 hp base, this beats that by 40 hp, and I doubt Pilot or Highlander buyers know the horsepower rating of their vehicle.  The 280 hp V6 is adequate for the segment, especially with how VW/Audi gear that 8-speed transmission.

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bleh looks, proportion problems in the rear overhang.  Interior seems cheap from pictures.  This is almost Chinese looking, or looks like what a large 3 row CUV from Suzuki might look like on the flanks.

still though i believe this is the sort of vehicle VW needed to bring in new shoppers.

The LOL here is that the Toaureg was a highly desirable and expensive vehicle when it came out.  It was a status symbol due to its robustness, performance, and luxury interior.  

This is a huge 180 from that.

For VW right now, anything like this is a big shot in the arm.  As far as the bleh thing, the new Acadia is sort of a dud too.  So we can't be pot calling kettle black here.

 

best thing VW can do here is price it CHEAP!!!!

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If VW really wanted to drop a bomb in this segment, they should offer a small displacement turbo-V6, and make AWD available on the 2.0T. 

I suspect they limited the 2.0T to FWD to give a compelling reason to step up to the V6. Otherwise, the 2.0T's torque and powerband could make it hard to justify the V6. In reality, I think they just limited themselves to potential customers. VW seems to do this a lot. They could have been doing decent sales numbers on the Touareg this whole time if they just offered a V8 or a FI V6. Aside from the underwhelming powertrain, it's still a great vehicle with exemplary refinement and build quality, and great road manners. If nothing else, they needed to eliminate the heavy incentives and just drop the price 10 grand. 

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The Touareg is really expensive, that was always the problem with it.  It cots as much as a Mercedes GLE and is the same size.  Which one are people going to buy?  The Touareg is smaller than the Acadia, it is actually closer in size to the Equinox and starts at $50k.  It is just too much money for a VW mid-size crossover.  If they price the Atlas competitive with Ford and Chevy, they might sell some.

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9 hours ago, smk4565 said:

The Touareg is really expensive, that was always the problem with it.  It cots as much as a Mercedes GLE and is the same size.  Which one are people going to buy?  The Touareg is smaller than the Acadia, it is actually closer in size to the Equinox and starts at $50k.  It is just too much money for a VW mid-size crossover.  If they price the Atlas competitive with Ford and Chevy, they might sell some.

It will be awhile before they recover from diesel gate.  And the world of automobile buyers is not going to be set on fire by a not particularly attractive or technically competent SUV styled like a Passat.

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Hmmm, seems the part. Seems to be the right size, and looks like something that can and will sell. But with the crossover boom, having a vehicle that fills the 3-row niche is good enough one its own to make lots of dough.

 

Well done VW, you finally have something for someone looking for something like that!

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8 hours ago, A Horse With No Name said:

It will be awhile before they recover from diesel gate.  And the world of automobile buyers is not going to be set on fire by a not particularly attractive or technically competent SUV styled like a Passat.

Buyers have short memories.  Toyota had unintended acceleration and GM had intention switches that were actually causing accidents and killing people, yet people kept buying GM and Toyota product because they had a $249 a month deal on it.  

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2 hours ago, smk4565 said:

Buyers have short memories.  Toyota had unintended acceleration and GM had intention switches that were actually causing accidents and killing people, yet people kept buying GM and Toyota product because they had a $249 a month deal on it.  

 

2 hours ago, smk4565 said:

Buyers have short memories.  Toyota had unintended acceleration and GM had intention switches that were actually causing accidents and killing people, yet people kept buying GM and Toyota product because they had a $249 a month deal on it.  

 

2 hours ago, smk4565 said:

Buyers have short memories.  Toyota had unintended acceleration and GM had intention switches that were actually causing accidents and killing people, yet people kept buying GM and Toyota product because they had a $249 a month deal on it.  

They have long memories when it comes to list resale, and the gassers took a major hit when this whole thing broke.

The real leader in sub prime car loan right now is Nissan, I would imagine that VW will be joining them in that endeavor.

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7 hours ago, regfootball said:

the memories are long when the press keeps bringing up GM diesels

Indeed...methinks with the reliability issues of the gasser models, they really, realy have their work cut out for them.

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