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Volkswagen Atlas

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

The Volkswagen Atlas is a new model in the crowded midsize three-row crossover segment, making it the only non-premium German three-row crossover. Competitors include the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, Mazda CX-9, Nissan Pathfinder, Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse, and Dodge Durango.


Although the new Atlas is the automaker's first three-row crossover, Volkswagen tried to sell another three-row vehicle in the form of the Routan minivan from the 2009-2014 model years. The Volkswagen Routan was a rebadged variant of the fifth-gen Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan models.

"As competition has moved forward, the Routan feels a little behind the times," we said in our 2010 Volkswagen Routan SEL Verdict. "What move will VW make when the Routan reaches the end of its product cycle? That remains to be seen. For now, Reynolds sums things up best. 'All in all, it's a better looking, previous iteration Town & Country, which is to say — well, I don't know what.'"

The upcoming 2018 Volkswagen Atlas was first previewed at the 2013 Detroit auto show as the Volkswagen CrossBlue concept. We drove a pre-production mule of the then-unnamed three-row crossover in August 2016.

The Latest Generation

Production of the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas began at the Passat plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee in December 2016 and will go on sale in 2017 for the 2018 model year. Power comes from a turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4 or 3.6-liter V-6. Front-drive is standard with both engines, while Volkswagen's 4Motion all-wheel-drive system is offered with the 3.6-liter unit. The Atlas is offered with Volkswagen's latest infotainment and driver assistance technology.

Why You'd Consider One

The Volkswagen Atlas will appeal to VW fans who need a larger vehicle for their expanding family.

Why You'd Look Elsewhere

The Atlas is late to the party, and there are plenty of other three-row crossovers that have been in this segment for years.


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