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2018 Volkswagen Atlas

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 4/5/2017 Motor Trend Staff

New for 2018

Everything. The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is an all-new model for the 2018 model year. Though the SUV shares its MQB chassis and drivetrains with other Volkswagen Group products, this is the brand's first three-row crossover offered in the U.S.

Vehicle Summary

The Volkswagen Atlas is the German automaker's all-new three-row midsize crossover that, in size, slots above the two-row midsize Touareg and compact Tiguan SUVs as well as the Golf Alltrack and Golf SportWagen in the automaker's people and cargo carrying lineup. The Atlas competes in a crowded segment that includes the Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse, Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota Highlander, Mazda CX-9, and Dodge Durango.


The 2018 Atlas comes standard with a turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 rated at 235 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, while a 3.6-liter VR6 rated at 276 hp and 266 lb-ft is optional. Both engines use an eight-speed automatic transmission. Front-drive is standard with both engines, and the automaker's 4Motion all-wheel-drive system is optional with the 3.6-liter engine. EPA-rated fuel economy hasn't been revealed for the turbo 2.0-liter, but the 3.6-liter is EPA-rated 18/25 mpg city/highway for the front-drive model and 17/23 mpg with all-wheel drive.

With 153.7 cubic-feet of interior volume, the Atlas has impressive interior dimensions for the segment. Other interior features include the automaker's latest touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay Android Auto, and MirrorLink connectivity. A digital instrument panel and Fender audio system are also available.

If you're looking for a sportier look, Volkswagen will offer a ritzy R-Line trim package with unique details.


Active safety and driver assistance tech includes adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, forward collision prevention, lane keeping assist, post-collision braking, and a parking assistant. Other safety features include standard LED headlights and available LED taillights.

What We Think

We haven't yet driven a production 2018 Volkswagen Atlas, but we did have the opportunity to drive a pre-production mule before the Atlas name was announced. About that prototype, we said it felt "big and substantial."

"A broad, flat hood stretches way out ahead," we wrote, "announcing to all (especially the owner) that this ain't no minivan derivative. You can't see the ground right in front of the vehicle, but a 360-degree around-view camera system helps when maneuvering in tight quarters. In highway mode, the VR6 accelerated the B up to gravel-road speeds with reasonable authority—at least with two people aboard."

Cool Fact

LED headlights, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto are all standard.

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