2018 Volkswagen Atlas

#26
in Midsize SUVs
2018 MODEL

$30,500 - $48,490

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Detailed Review

The mid-size SUV segment is dominated by American and Japanese products with a conspicuous absence of a German product. That’s changed with the introduction of 2018 Volkswagen Atlas – the first German mid-size SUV for the masses with a starting price of $30,750. It’s no doubt it’s late to the party. So does it have any trick up its sleeve?

Yes – the third row. Atlas third row seats are one of the few in the segment that can accommodate a 6-feet adult with decent comfort. Elsewhere, the interior is extremely spacious and is well built. It’s available with an efficient 2.0L TSI engine but most Atlas comes with a larger 3.6L V6. However, the V6 feels gutless among some competitors.

Also, the V6 fuel economy of 17 in city and 23 on highway is uncompetitive. However, once these are ignored, the Atlas is a genuinely impressive package. While the resale value can’t be predicted now, Volkswagen does offer 6-year/72,000 mile warranty that can be transferred to the second owner.


8.1/10
Features

 

7.2/10
Engine

 

6.6/10
Fuel Economy

 

8.9/10
Interior

 

7.2/10
Exterior

 

8.5/10
Safety

 
 
 

The mid-size SUV segment is dominated by American and Japanese products with a conspicuous absence of a German product. That’s changed with the introduction of 2018 Volkswagen Atlas – the first German mid-size SUV for the masses with a starting price of $30,750. It’s available with an efficient 2.0L TSI engine but most Atlas comes with a larger 3.6L V6. However, the V6 feels gutless among some competitors.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Features

8.1/10

With a starting price of $30,750, the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is one of the cheapest mid-size SUV you can buy. While its base 2.0L TSI is impressive, you have to get the V6 for unlocking AWD if you live in snow-affected areas. Advanced active safety features start pouring in from V6 SE with technology package and the V6 SEL premium tops the range with a price tag of $48,740 – in Acura MDX territory.

Trims S V6 S V6 SE V6 SE w/Technology V6 SEL V6 SEL Premium
MSRP (FWD) $30,750 $32,150 $35,240 $37,340 $41,140 N/A
MSRP (AWD) N/A $33,950 $37,040 $39,140 $42,940 $48,740
Features

The S includes:

  • Dual-zone manual climate control
  • Volkswagen Car-Net App-Connect
  • LED headlights

The V6 S includes:

  • Dual-zone manual climate control
  • Volkswagen Car-Net App-Connect
  • LED headlights

The V6 SE includes:

  • Four USB ports
  • Composition Media touchscreen sound system
  • Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Traffic Alert

The V6 SE w/ Technology includes:

  • Climatronic three-zone climate control
  • Remote power liftgate with closing assist
  • Front Assist

The V6 SEL includes:

  • Power tilting/sliding panoramic sunroof
  • Front seats, 10-way power
  • Adaptive Cruise Control

The V6 SEL Premium w/ 4MOTION includes:

  • 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system
  • Volkswagen Digital Cockpit
  • Discover Media touchscreen navigation

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Engine

7.2/10

"With the exception of a horsepower deficit, the Atlas is a pretty pleasant crossover to wheel around, especially considering its size."-Edmunds

Engine and Transmission

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas comes with two engine options. The smaller 235 hp turbocharged 2.0L Inline-4 develops almost as much torque as the larger V6 – 258 lb-ft. However, even the more powerful 3.6L V6 with 276 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque can struggle at times pushing this over 4000 pounds VW SUV.

Models Volkswagen Atlas Honda Pilot Chevrolet Traverse Toyota Highlander
MSRP $30,750 $30,900 $30,925 $31,030
Engine 2.0L inline four-cylinder, 16V, FSI 3.5L, V6 3.6L V6 SIDI VVT 2.7L 4-Cylinder(DOHC) 16-Valve
Transmission 8-Speed Automatic 6-Speed Automatic 9-Speed Automatic 6-Speed Automatic
Power 235 hp 280 hp 310 hp 185 hp
Torque 258 lb-ft 262 lb-ft 266 lb-ft 184 lb-ft

Regardless of the engine, a silky smooth 8-speed Automatic is the only available transmission. While the base 2.0L I4 is only available with FWD, the 3.6L V6 can be equipped with Volkswagen 4Motion All-Wheel Drive system. The VW Atlas AWD offers excellent traction even in slippery situations and is a worthwhile upgrade for handling inclement weather conditions.

Acceleration

The Atlas equipped with the 2.0L TSI does 0-60 in 7.2 seconds. Surprisingly, the Atlas V6 is slower to 60 taking 7.9 seconds despite having 41 hp more power and 8 lb-ft more torque. However, Atlas V6 also weighs 500 pounds more. This explains the ambiguity in acceleration.

Models Volkswagen Atlas Honda Pilot Chevrolet Traverse Toyota Highlander
0-60 MPH 7.2 sec 6.1 sec 6.5 sec 8.9 sec
Quarter mile 16 sec @ 81.6 mph 15.1 sec @ 91.2 mph 15.6 sec @ 97mph 15.4 sec @ 90 mph
Engine 2.0L 3.5L 3.6L 2.7L
Emission (Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions @ 15K mi/year) 7.3 8.0 8.4 8.0

Still, even the fastest Atlas is noticeably slower than some competitors. The Honda Pilot does 0-60 over a second faster in 6.1 seconds thanks to its higher power output and lighter curb weight. The Chevy Traverse is also significantly faster taking 6.5 seconds for the same run. Only the Toyota Highlander is slower – significantly slower, taking 8.9 seconds to do 0-60 mph.

Ride and Handling

The Atlas rides with excellent compliance and all but the harsh bumps are smoothened out effortlessly. This combined with excellent noise insulation (second only to the whisper-quiet Chevy Traverse) and famed German high-speed stability to make this VW SUV a true long-distance liner.

This does not imply the Atlas can’t handle corners. The driver-selectable Sport Mode sharpens up the steering, throttle, and transmission transforming this German SUV into a machine capable of handling corners well.

Braking

The Atlas comes with 13.2-inch brake rotors up front and 12.2-inch brake rotors at the rear wheels. These can haul the Atlas from 60 mph in 115 feet. That’s best in the segment. Apart from raw numbers, the Atlas brake pedal also delivers best in class pedal response.

Model Volkswagen Atlas Honda Pilot Chevrolet Traverse Toyota Highlander
Brake Front(in) 13.2 12.6 12.8 12.9
Brake Rear(in) 12.2 13.0 13.0 12.2
Curb weight(lbs.) 4222 4288 4713 4165
60-0 MPH (ft.) 115 128 126 126

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Fuel Economy

6.6/10

With the base 2.0L TSI engine, the Atlas delivers 22 mpg in city and 36 mpg on highway for a combined rating of 24 mpg. While that’s better than the competition, the competition uses significantly more powerful V6 engines. The Atlas V6 is significantly thirstier delivering 17 mpg in city and 23 mpg on highway.

Model Volkswagen Atlas Honda Pilot Chevrolet Traverse Toyota Highlander
MPG (city) 22 18 18 20
MPG (highway) 26 26 27 24
MPG (combined) 24 21 21 22

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Interior

8.9/10

"The Atlas's interior design is elegant and clean, not unlike the simple modern layout of the upscale Audi brand. But the best part of the cabin is its versatility." -KBB

Seating and Comfort

The Atlas interior has a typical Volkswagen look and feel with clean elegant lines and intuitively arranged controls. However, what’s more, impressive is the space. While the first and second-row room is up with the segment best, the third row beats all of them outright. Third-row access is easy and once seated, even 6-feet adults will find decent headroom and legroom.

Model Volkswagen Atlas Honda Pilot Chevrolet Traverse Toyota Highlander
Passenger capacity 7 8 8 8
Passenger Volume(ft cube) 153.7 151.7 150.8 144.9
Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg (In.) 41.3/61.5/41.5 39.5/62/40.9 41.3/62.1/41 40.7/59.3/44.2
Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.) 40.4/60.8/37.6 39.9/62/38.4 40/62.2/38.4 39.9/59.6/38.4
Third (Head/Shoulder/Leg (In.) 38.3/54.9/33.7 38.9/57.6/31.9 38.2/57.5/33.5 35.9/55/27.7

Cargo Capacity

Apart from the impressive passenger volume, the Atlas also impresses with its capacious boot. Behind the third row, the Atlas offers 20.6 cubic feet of cargo space. That’s up with the segment best Chevy traverse. Folding third row liberates 55.5 cubic feet of space, again better than all others except Chevy Traverse. Finally, with all seats folded, Atlas offers an impressive 96.8 cubic feet of luggage capacity.

Model Volkswagen Atlas Honda Pilot Chevrolet Traverse Toyota Highlander
Behind 3ndRow(ft. Cube) 20.6 16.5 23.0 13.8
With 3nd  row folded (ft. Cube) 55.5 46.8 58.1 42.3
With All  Seats folded (ft. Cube) 96.8 83.9 98 83.7

Infotainment System

The base Atlas S gets 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and six-speaker audio system. Splurging to the Atlas SE gets you larger 8.0 -inch touchscreen infotainment system and two additional speakers apart from three USB ports and Sirius XM satellite radio. The Volkswagen Digital Cockpit is available exclusively in Atlas SEL premium.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior

7.2/10

"Its bricklike shape gives the Atlas a sturdy, off-road-ready appearance and enables a space-efficient interior. Its large size may be daunting to some, but from behind the wheel it feels more maneuverable than its bulk suggests." -Car and Driver

The Atlas is styled like a typical Volkswagen product with clean lines and an understated demeanor. It relies on proportions to exude a confident stance. However, this Volkswagen SUV also has plenty of muscular details befitting its size. Speaking of size, it spans 198.3 inches in length and 78.3 inches in width. At 69.7-inch it’s just as tall as any other SUV here.

Model Volkswagen Atlas Honda Pilot Chevrolet Traverse Toyota Highlander
curb weight(lbs.) 4222 4288 4713 4165
Length(in) 198.3 194.5 204.3 192.5
Width(in) 78.3 78.6 78.6 75.8
Height(in) 69.7 69.8 70.7 68.1
Ground clearance(in) 8.0 7.3 7.2 8
Wheelbase(in) 117.3 111 120.9 109.8
Track width(in) F/R 67.2/67.8 66.3/66.3 67.3/67.0 64.4/64.2

Towing Capacity

If the huge cabin and payload capacity of the Atlas is not enough for you, you can tow 5000 pounds trailer with a properly equipped Atlas. The competitors also have similar tow rating with only the Chevy Traverse edging slightly ahead with a towing capacity of 5200 pounds.

Model Volkswagen Atlas Honda Pilot Chevrolet Traverse Toyota Highlander
Capacity (lbs.) 5000 5000 5200 5000
Drive Train AWD AWD AWD AWD

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Safety

8.5/10

2018 Volkswagen Atlas comes with following safety features:

  • StabiliTrak electronic stability control system Air bag system.
  • Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA)
  • Rollover sensor system Rear Vision Camera
  • Child security rear door locks
  •  Passenger Sensing System
  •  Rear seat reminder
  •  LATCH System. Teen Driver.
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System
  •  Intelligent Crash Response System (ICRS)

 

NHTSA Ratings

Frontal barrier crash rating overall

5 Star

Frontal barrier crash rating driver

4 Star

Frontal barrier crash rating passenger

5 Star

Side barrier rating overall

5 Star

Side barrier rating driver

5 Star

Side barrier rating passenger

5 Star

Side crash rating overall

5 Star

Combine side barrier and pole rating

5 Star

Rollover

4 Star

 

IIHS Ratings

Small overlap front passenger side 

N/A

Moderate overlap front

Good

Side

Good

Roof strength

Good

Head restraints & seats

Good

 

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Competition

2018 Volkswagen Atlas SUV vs Honda Pilot

The Honda Pilot is one of the most well rounded midsize SUV with well-equipped, spacious seats and high-quality materials. An efficient and powerful engine pulls the pilot briskly along the road. On top of that, the Pilot comes with Honda’s reputation for reliability and has great resale value too. However, the Atlas comes with a better third row and it’s almost as good in other areas.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas SUV vs Chevy Traverse

The 2018 Chevrolet Traverse blends charismatic styling with plenty of passenger space and cargo capacity. The seats are supportive and higher trims cover them in soft materials. This is accompanied by a plush ride and composed highway manners. Also, the traverse is one of the quietest in the class. That said, the Atlas is nearly in many ways and better in some – like handling.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas SUV Toyota Highlander

The 2018 Toyota Highlander packs an upscale interior, a powerful V6 engine and plenty of advanced active safety features as standard. While its V6 is strong, it’s also available with an efficient four-cylinder motor. However, while the Highlander can seat 8, its third row is significantly tighter than the third row in Atlas.

 

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Final Verdict

After a long time, Volkswagen has a product that’s competitive in the segment. It’s immensely spacious inside with a third row that’s easily among the best in the segment. On top of that, the cabin is impressively quiet even at high speeds and rides of supple suspension.

That the Atlas can also excite you through curvy roads is just icing on the cake. There are shortcomings though mainly in the powertrain department. The V6 does not pack enough punch and is not particularly efficient either. Also, the base 2.0L TSI engine is unavailable with AWD. Still, the Volkswagen Atlas offers a genuinely appealing package and is an easy recommendation if want a family-friendly SUV.

Pros

Huge cabin and accommodating third row

Silky ride quality

Agile handling for the class

Impressive infotainment system

Cons

Its not as fast as some rivals

V6 fuel economy is unimpressive

Base 2.0L TSI is not offered with AWD

What's New?

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is an all-new product. Its first large SUV from Volkswagen after the much pricier Volkswagen Toureg Luxury SUV.


Features



Styles

 2018 Volkswagen Atlas in Tourmaline Blue Metallic color  2018 Volkswagen Atlas in Titanium Beige color  2018 Volkswagen Atlas in Reflex Silver Metallic color  2018 Volkswagen Atlas in Pure White color  2018 Volkswagen Atlas in Platinum Gray Metallic color  2018 Volkswagen Atlas in Kurkuma Yellow Metallic color  2018 Volkswagen Atlas in Fortana Red color  2018 Volkswagen Atlas in Deep Black Pearl color
Tourmaline Blue Metallic

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

8.1

Engine

7.2

Fuel Economy

6.6

Interior

8.9

Exterior

7.2

Safety

8.5

Comfort

8.8

Driving

9.5

8.1

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


 2018 Volkswagen Atlas S

S

power
235 hp @ 4500 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
24 combined

$30,500


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
S 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A) Starting at $30,500 MSRP (22/24/26) 235 hp @ 4500 rpm, 2 L, I4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
8-speed automatic front wheel drive 7 NA

 2018 Volkswagen Atlas V6 S

V6 S

power
276 hp @ 6200 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
19 combined

$31,900 - $33,700


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
V6 S 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 8A) Starting at $31,900 MSRP (18/20/25) 276 hp @ 6200 rpm, 3.6 L, V6, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
8-speed automatic front wheel drive 7 NA
V6 S 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 8A) Starting at $33,700 MSRP (17/19/23) 276 hp @ 6200 rpm, 3.6 L, V6, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
8-speed automatic all wheel drive 7 NA

 2018 Volkswagen Atlas V6 Launch Edition

V6 Launch Edition

power
276 hp @ 6200 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
19 combined

$33,500 - $35,300


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
V6 Launch Edition 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 8A) Starting at $33,500 MSRP (18/20/25) 276 hp @ 6200 rpm, 3.6 L, V6, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
8-speed automatic front wheel drive 7 NA
V6 Launch Edition 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 8A) Starting at $35,300 MSRP (17/19/23) 276 hp @ 6200 rpm, 3.6 L, V6, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
8-speed automatic all wheel drive 7 NA

 2018 Volkswagen Atlas SE

SE

power
235 hp @ 4500 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
24 combined

$33,590 - $35,690


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
SE 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A) Starting at $33,590 MSRP (22/24/26) 235 hp @ 4500 rpm, 2 L, I4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
8-speed automatic front wheel drive 7 NA
SE w/Technology 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A) Starting at $35,690 MSRP (22/24/26) 235 hp @ 4500 rpm, 2 L, I4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
8-speed automatic front wheel drive 7 NA

 2018 Volkswagen Atlas V6 SE

V6 SE

power
276 hp @ 6200 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
19 combined

$34,990 - $38,890


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
V6 SE 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 8A) Starting at $34,990 MSRP (18/20/25) 276 hp @ 6200 rpm, 3.6 L, V6, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
8-speed automatic front wheel drive 7 NA
V6 SE 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 8A) Starting at $36,790 MSRP (17/19/23) 276 hp @ 6200 rpm, 3.6 L, V6, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
8-speed automatic all wheel drive 7 NA
V6 SE w/Technology 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 8A) Starting at $37,090 MSRP (18/20/25) 276 hp @ 6200 rpm, 3.6 L, V6, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
8-speed automatic front wheel drive 7 NA
V6 SE w/Technology 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 8A) Starting at $38,890 MSRP (17/19/23) 276 hp @ 6200 rpm, 3.6 L, V6, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
8-speed automatic all wheel drive 7 NA

 2018 Volkswagen Atlas SEL

SEL

power
235 hp @ 4500 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
24 combined

$39,160


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
SEL 4dr SUV (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 8A) Starting at $39,160 MSRP (22/24/26) 235 hp @ 4500 rpm, 2 L, I4, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
8-speed automatic front wheel drive 7 NA

 2018 Volkswagen Atlas V6 SEL

V6 SEL

power
276 hp @ 6200 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
19 combined

$40,890 - $42,690


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
V6 SEL 4dr SUV (3.6L 6cyl 8A) Starting at $40,890 MSRP (18/20/25) 276 hp @ 6200 rpm, 3.6 L, V6, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
8-speed automatic front wheel drive 7 NA
V6 SEL 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 8A) Starting at $42,690 MSRP (17/19/23) 276 hp @ 6200 rpm, 3.6 L, V6, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
8-speed automatic all wheel drive 7 NA

 2018 Volkswagen Atlas V6 SEL Premium

V6 SEL Premium

power
276 hp @ 6200 rpm
fuel
Regular unleaded
mpg
19 combined

$48,490


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
V6 SEL Premium 4dr SUV AWD (3.6L 6cyl 8A) Starting at $48,490 MSRP (17/19/23) 276 hp @ 6200 rpm, 3.6 L, V6, regular unleaded
See Full Specs
8-speed automatic all wheel drive 7 NA