If you think the Volkswagen Touareg has great road presence, wait till you see the all-new Atlas. Unveiled recently in California, the Atlas is VW’s latest seven-seater full-size SUV that will take on other family SUVs from Volvo, BMW and Mercedes.
The Atlas is the biggest and boldest Volkswagen ever built in the US. It opens up an important segment for the brand given that midsize SUVs formed a tenth of new car sales in the US in 2015.
The Atlas sits between the Tiguan and the Touareg to form a high-volume range of family SUVs that VW claims has been fully tailored for American buyers.
Based on the modular transverse matrix (MQB) platform, the Atlas is over 5m long and nearly 2m wide. It is indeed larger than any other Volkswagen on sale in the US.
Inside, the Atlas makes maximum use of its dimensions to offer space for seven adults and their luggage. The third row can be reached by a neat folding seat solution.
The Atlas gets clear, driver-centric displays. In addition, the optional Active Info Display (called the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit) allows drivers extensive options for configuring the display.
The SUV gets a host of online and smartphone integration services like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There’s also a premium audio system with 12 speakers and a 480watt amplifier.
There will be a choice of two powertrains: a 2-litre, four-cylinder TSI with 238bhp and the familiar 3.6-litre VR6 engine with 280bhp. Both engines route power through an eight-speed gearbox.
The Atlas can be had either as front-wheel-drive or with 4Motion all-wheel-drive in combination with the VR6 engine. The 4Motion system also has a Driving Mode Selection feature. The Atlas will be built alongside the Passat for North America at VW’s Chattanooga assembly plant. It will also be sold in Russia and Middle East by the end of next year.