2018 Volkswagen Atlas

MSRP $30,750 - $48,740

Ranked #12 in Suv

7.4

Overall Rating

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2018 Volkswagen Atlas Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: September 6, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


Stepping out of its cocoon, Volkswagen has finally adhered to the American mentality with the all-new 2018 Atlas. Unlike typical VWs, the Atlas sports a massive footprint, three spacious rows, and is exclusive to the US market only. The three-row crossover gets the MQB platform from VW. The 2018 Atlas comes in six trims starting from just under $30,750 and ranges under $48,750, for the V6 SEL Premium trim.

VW claims that this SUV has been designed keeping in mind the needs of Americans, and indeed it is. Offering stupendous ride quality and practicality, the only drawback is the lack of power under the hood. It is powered by either a 2.0L inline four-cylinder or a 3.6L V6 engine. Also, the 2018 Atlas welcomes excitingly new technology, both on the interior front and the safety front, with the latest active and passive tech.

See detailed review »

Pros

Huge cabin and accommodating third row

Agile handling for the class

Impressive infotainment system

Great optional 4Motion AWD system

Cons

Not as fast as some rivals

Lags in terms of fuel efficiency, especially with the V6

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

vehicle bio

base price

$30750

bodystyle

4dr SUV

passenger capacity

7

top speed

116 mph

drivetrain

front wheel drive

engine type

displacement

121 cu.in.

horsepower

235 hp @ 4500 rpm

torque

258 lb.-ft. @ 1600 rpm

transmission

8 speed shiftable automatic

chassis

suspension front

Independent front strut suspension w/anti-roll bar

suspension rear

Independent rear multi-link suspension w/anti-roll bar

dimensions

wheelbase

117 in.

length

198 in.

width

78 in.

height

70 in.

curb weight

4502 lbs.

ground clearance

8 in.

capacity

passenger volume

153.7 cu ft.

cargo volume

96.8 cu ft.

towing capacity

2000 lbs.

payload capacity

1213 lbs.

performance

zero to 60 mph

7.2 sec.

standing 1/4-mile

16 sec.

fuel economy

city/combined/highway

22/24/26 mpg

highway range

546.0 mi.

warranty

basic warranty

6 yr./ 72000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

6 yr./ 72000 mi.

powertrain warranty

6 yr./ 72,000 mi.

corrosion warranty

7 yr./100,000 mi.

roadside assistance

Yes


Pictures & Videos


Trims

S$30,750 onwards

Launch Edition$33,750 onwards

SEL$33,840 onwards

SE$35,240 onwards

SEL Premium$48,740 onwards

Colors and Styles

2018 Volkswagen Atlas in Deep Black Pearl color
Deep Black Pearl

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

7.5

Engine and Performance

7.5

Fuel Economy

7.5

Interior

8.0

Exterior

7.0

Safety

8.5

7.4

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

7.4

Overall Rating


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 the 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. The MQB chassis and the efficient 4Motion AWD setup are the only saving grace on the performance front. The rivals of the same include the Honda Pilot, Chevrolet Traverse, and the Toyota Highlander.


7.5/10
Features

7.5/10
Engine and Performance

7.5/10
Fuel Economy

8.0/10
Interior

7.0/10
Exterior

8.5/10
Safety


2018 Volkswagen Atlas Features

7.5/10

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas comes in over 6 trims, namely S, V6 S, V6 SE, V6 SE w/Technology, V6 SEL, and V6 SEL Premium. With a starting price of $30,750, the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is one of the cheapest mid-size SUVs 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, which is outright premium 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
Key Features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto The V6 S includes: The V6 SE includes: The V6 SE w/ Technology includes: The V6 SEL includes: The V6 SEL Premium w/ 4MOTION includes:
  Dual-zone automatic climate control Panaromic sunroof Four USB ports Climatronic three-zone climate control Power tilting/sliding panoramic sunroof 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system
  Volkswagen Car-Net App-Connect 8-inch touchscreen with satellite radio Automatic headlights Remote power liftgate with closing assist Front seats, 10-way power Volkswagen Digital Cockpit
  LED headlights   Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Traffic Alert Lane Keeping assist and automatic emergency braking Adaptive Cruise Control Discover Media touchscreen navigation

We Recommend

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas V6 SE w/Technology is surely an impressive offering considering the $37,340 price-tag. The V6 engine unit with the 4Motion AWD in itself will hook you onto the Atlas. Add to it various other creature comforts, and the best-in-class tech features, and there you have it- a sheer value-based proposition for the price.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Engine and Performance

7.5/10

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

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Engine and Transmission

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas comes over with two different engine options. The base and the standard one is the 2.0L turbocharged Inline-4 engine, which puts out 235 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Then there is the optional engine on offer, which is a 3.6L V6 engine that puts out 276 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. Having said that, the smaller Inline-4 develops almost as much torque as the larger V6.

However, even the more powerful 3.6L V6 with 266 lb-ft of torque can struggle at times pushing this over 4000 pounds VW SUV. 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. 

Models 2018 Volkswagen Atlas 2018 Honda Pilot 2018 Chevrolet Traverse 2018 Toyota Highlander
MSRP $30,750 $30,900 $30,925 $31,030
Engine 3.6L inline NA V6 3.5L NA V6 3.6L NA V6 3.5L NA V6
Transmission 8-Speed Automatic 6-Speed Automatic 9-Speed Automatic 8-Speed Automatic
Power 276 hp @ 6200 RPM 280 hp @ 6000 RPM 305 hp @ 6800 RPM 295 hp @ 6600 RPM
Torque 266 lb-ft @ 2750 RPM 262 lb-ft @ 4700 RPM 260 lb-ft @ 2800 RPM 263 lb-ft @ 4700 RPM

What the Atlas lags for on th performance front, it more than overcompensated for in the interior front. The 4Motion AWD seems more sort of a marketing gimmick, as it too does find it hard to carry the 4000 lb SUV off-road. Coming onto the competition at hand, the Chevrolet Traverse is the most powerful SUV in the segment, with its 305 hp engine and the smooth 9-speed AT. Moreover, it also offers sheer performance for a decent price-tag.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Acceleration

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas equipped with the 2.0L TSI does 0-60 MPH run in just 7.2 seconds, all the while crossing the quarter-mile mark in just about 16 seconds. Moreover, the Atlas powered by the V6 engine is even more slower than the Inline-4 engine, as it takes 7.9 seconds to do the 0-60 MPH run. This is despite the 41 hp and 8 lb-ft increase that the V6 gets.

Models 2018 Volkswagen Atlas 2018 Honda Pilot 2018 Chevrolet Traverse 2018 Toyota Highlander
0-60 MPH 7.2 secs 6.9 sec 7.3 sec 7.0 sec
Quarter mile 16 secs 15.3 sec 15.2 sec 15.6 sec

However, Atlas V6 also weighs 500 pounds more. This explains the ambiguity in acceleration. Still, even the fastest Atlas is noticeably slower than some competitors. The Honda Pilot does 0-60 MPH run in just 6.9 seconds, despite its lower torque figures, thanks to its lighter curb weight.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Ride and Handling

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas now rides on the MQB platform, which is used on many other VW offerings. That there should tell you that the Atlas has covered the ride and handling dynamics effortlessly. The Atlas has a stiff structure, that is able to negate each and every bump and soaks up all of the small impacts. The steering wheel is rather quite responsive, rather than delivering outright feel like the the VW Golf offers. A true-long distance hauler, its potent suspension setup also manages to soak up all the bumps throughout the road. Also, there are plenty of driver-selectable modes perfect for different terrains. This is only further aided by the 4Motion AWD setup.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Braking

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas comes with 13.2-inch brake rotors up front and 12.2-inch brake rotors at the back. This combined with eh 4502 lbs curb weight and plenty of braking aids, bring the whole SUV to a complete stop in just about 115 ft. That’s best in the segment. Apart from raw numbers, the Atlas' brake pedal also delivers best in class pedal response.

Model 2018 Volkswagen Atlas 2018 Honda Pilot 2018 Chevrolet Traverse 2018 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.) 4502 4074 4362 4244
60-0 MPH (ft.) 115 128 126 126

Plus the brakes are also ventilated, so as to cool itself down after hard braking. The Honda Pilot, on being the lightest, obviously takes the most amount of distance to come to a stop.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Fuel Economy

7.5/10

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas, with its base 2.0L turbocharged engine, is EPA-rated at 17 MPG in the city, and 23 miles to the gallon out on the highway. Now naturally opting for the 3.6L V6 engine, is going to bring those figures down, as the 2018 Atlas now delivers 18 MPG and 25 MPG in the city and highway respectively. This is with the FWD setup.

Model 2018 Volkswagen Atlas 2018 Honda Pilot 2018 Chevrolet Traverse 2018 Toyota Highlander
MPG (city) 17 19 18 20
MPG (highway) 23 27 27 27
MPG (combined) 19 22 21 23
Fuel Capacity 18.6 gallons 19.5 gallons 19.0 gallons 19.2 gallons

Opt for the optional 4Motion AWD setup, and the 2018 VW Atlas delivers 17 and 23 MPG in the city and highway respectively. While that’s worse than what the competition has to offer, even though the competition uses significantly more powerful V6 engines. Moreover, to reduce fuel wastage, the Atlas also comes with a Start-Stop system, that cuts off the engine at the required time.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Interior

8.0/10

The Atlas's interior design is elegant and clean, not unlike the simple modern layout of the upscale Audi brand -KBB

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Seating and Comfort

The 2018 Volkswagen 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.

Both the front and rear row seats have heated and ventilated functions. While the front seats have 6-way power adjustability, the rear ones have 4-way adjustability. This is for the base trims, although the higher trims do offer you 10-way adjustability. The driver is seated in a comfortable position, and will also have great overall visibility.

Model 2018 Volkswagen Atlas 2018 Honda Pilot 2018 Chevrolet Traverse 2018 Toyota Highlander
Passenger capacity 7 8 8 8
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

Some of the interior features on offer are-

  • Three-zone automatic climate control
  • Leather upholstery
  • Second-row captain's chairs
  • Heated and ventilated seats
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • 10-way power-adjustable front seats

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Cargo Capacity

Volkswagen meant for the 2018 Atlas to be practical, and it certainly is. The 2018 Atlas has a 20.6 cu. ft cargo capacity, behind the 3rd row. Fold those seats down, and you get treated with a bigger 55.5 cu. ft of space. The second-row seats too fold in a 60/ 40 manner, which paves way for a massive 96.8 cu. ft of space. This provides plenty of space for all your storage requirements.

Model 2018 Volkswagen Atlas 2018 Honda Pilot 2018 Chevrolet Traverse 2018 Toyota Highlander
Behind 3ndRow (ft. Cube) 20.6 16.5 23.0 13.8
With 2nd row folded (ft. Cube) 55.5 46.8 58.1 42.3
Behind first row (ft. Cube) 96.8 83.9 98 83.7

The Atlas also has a low cargo floor for ease of access, and moreover, the one-touch rear liftgate only adds to the ease of loading and unloading. The Chevrolet Traverse has the biggest cargo room of all, solely because of its longer wheelbase.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Infotainment System

The 2018 Atlas gets the Volkswagen Digital Cockpit, although it is exclusive to the higher trims. The base trims get a decent 6.5-inch touchscreen system, whereas the top-end trims get a larger and much more responsive 8-inch touchscreen setup. The interface is quite good, and the physical buttons present also prove out to be a boon. The infotainment system on the whole is pretty user-friendly and is quite accustomed to its function.

Some of the standard infotainment features included with the 2018 Atlas are-

  • An 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Navigation
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
  • Satellite Radio
  • Three USB ports
  • Sirius XM satellite radio
  • 9-speaker premium audio system

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Exterior

7.0/10

Its bricklike shape gives the Atlas a sturdy, off-road-ready appearance and enables a space-efficient interior - Car and Driver

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is a completely new model this year. The three-row SUV has a slightly boxy silhouette, although consisting of clean character lines. The front appealing end is dominated by the VW grille followed by the long broad hood space. The front also houses the symmetrical scooped LED headlights and LED DRLs. The subtle styling language blends into the traffic, without anyone noticing it.

The front is also accentuated by the broad fender flares, which give way to those clean character lines down the side. There is also a skid plate underneath, which adds to the off-roading character. Chrome accents are offered in plenty across the body. While the smaller trims get 19-inch wheels, the top-end trims such as the SEL Premium are treated with 20-inch alloys. Overall, it puts out a confident stance.

Model 2018 Volkswagen Atlas 2018 Honda Pilot 2018 Chevrolet Traverse 2018 Toyota Highlander
Curb weight(lbs.) 4502 4074 4362 4244
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

Some of the exterior features on offer with the 2021 Atlas are-

  • Automatic LED headlights
  • Black 20-inch wheels
  • Windshield wiper de-icer
  • Automated power liftgate
  • Roof Rails
  • Skid plate

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Safety

8.5/10

Despite being a whole new model, Volkswagen has not brought about a lot of changes to the Atlas' safety systems. It still carries forward the same active and passive safety tech in place. Coming to the crash test scores, the 2018 Atlas gets a total of 5 on 5-star rating from the NHTSA and also a Top Safety Pick honor from the IIHS. The well-built Atlas comes with the following safety features in place-

  • StabiliTrak electronic stability control system Airbag system.
  • Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA)
  • Tire Pressure Monitoring System
  • Intelligent Crash Response System (ICRS)
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Lane-keeping assist
  • Forward Collision Warning system
  • Blind-spot monitoring

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Competition

2018 Volkswagen Atlas vs 2018 Honda Pilot

If the performance front of an SUV is all that matters as a deciding factor between these two SUVs, the Honda Pilot is the definite winner. But for a prospective buyer in this segment, the practicality factor including the cabin space on offer is what decides the fate of a family-friendly SUV, and thus the Atlas wins it here, hands down!

The feature list on offer with Atlas is also the best in the business. Although when it comes to reliability, it's Honda all the way, as it has a great resale value too.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas vs 2018 Toyota Highlander

One of the aptest rivals to the Atlas, the 2018 Highlander is certainly a tough competitor. It more or less has a same price tag, yet it is able to get more power from the same V6 engine. Having said that, the Atlas surely is the best in terms of ride and handling dynamics.

Both also have the same towing capacity. The safety tech in the highlander are much more advanced than that in the Atlas. Moreover, on the interior front, the last row in the Highlander lags a bit more in space when compared to the Atlas.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Final Verdict

The new 2018 Volkswagen Atlas has its pros as well as its cons. For instance, there is none in this segment that can match the feature list of that of the Atlas, and 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. Nevertheless, for the price it is offered, the 2018 Atlas is definitely worth it.


2018 Volkswagen Atlas FAQs

What are the warranty packages offered with the 2018 Atlas?

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is offered with a basic Limited warranty of 4 years or 50,000 miles, a Powertrain warranty of a similar 4 years/ 50,000 miles, and a Complimentary scheduled maintenance period of 2 years.

Does the Atlas come with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard?

Yes, the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas comes with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard.

What are the different trims on offer with the 2018 Atlas?

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas comes in over 6 trim levels, namely S, V6 S, V6 SE, V6 SE w/Technology, V6 SEL, and V6 SEL Premium, with prices starting from an MSRP of $30,750.

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