Meet The VW Atlas: The Seven Seat SUV Aiming To Win American Hearts


For the first time ever, VW has built a model just for America.

Volkswagen is looking to win back the trust of American buyers with its first-ever seven-seater SUV. The Atlas, as we predicted earlier this month, will shoulder the responsibility of rebuilding trust with the American market that Dieselgate destroyed. To do that, VW thought long and hard about what Americans really love. And the Atlas is the result. This is the biggest and boldest Volkswagen we have ever built in the United States," said Hinrich Woebcken, CEO Volkswagen's North America region.

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Delivering the distinctive design and craftsmanship we're known for, now with room for seven, the Atlas marks a brand-new journey for Volkswagen to enter into the heart of the American market." Standing over five meters long, and almost two meters wide, the Atlas is larger than any other Volkswagen on sale in the US. Using the firm’s familiar MQB architecture, the design of the Atlas draws heavily from the firm’s Crossblue concept with a squared off hood, two-bar chrome grille, and a typically boxy profile which sports a single styling crease along the side and over the wheel arches.

A clean back end features optional LED taillights connected by a single Atlas-embossed chrome bar and twin exhausts integrated into the bumper. VW says the Atlas has space for seven adults and their luggage, with the all-important third row easily accessed via a clever folding second row seat that can even be used with child seats installed. Driver-centric displays include VW’s optional Digital Cockpit boasting configurable instruments and a sophisticated 12-speaker Fender sound system. In the center console, VW’s Car-Net suite allows smartphones to be paired to Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink via its App-Connect feature.

A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 238 hp and a 3.6-liter VR6 rated at 280 hp are the available powertrains, both of which come paired to an eight-speed automatic with 4Motion all-wheel-drive available with the meatier VR6 unit. The AWD system comes with a Driving Mode Selection allowing it to be configured based on driving conditions. Driver assist features include Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning, and Autonomous Emergency braking, while Automatic Post-Collision Braking System is a first for this class. The system will ensure that after the airbags are deployed upon collision the brakes are activated to reduce the damage.

The Atlas will be built at VW’s Chattanooga plant alongside the Passat. After debuting next month at the LA Auto Show, the Atlas will launch in the spring and cross swords with the likes of the Ford Explorer, Dodge Durango, Toyota Highlander, Chevrolet Traverse. Pricing, says VW, will be “designed to draw customers attention in the family SUV segment.”