It's about listening to your customers.
If you're in the market for a new Volkswagen Atlas but don't want to pony up the money for some premium features only available in V6-powered trims, then you're in luck. CarsDirect has discovered that VW will soon debut a new trim level above the base S called SE. It will still come powered by the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 235 hp normally reserved solely for the S.
However, the new SE 2.0T will also come with several SE V6 features including heated leatherette seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, proximity entry, push-button start, a larger touchscreen with 8-speaker audio, and other in-demand items.
The base Atlas S lacks these features and buyers who didn't want the V6 were not able to enjoy things like an optional panoramic roof or Technology Package, which includes a blind spot monitor, adaptive cruise control, and remote power liftgate. This will all become available on the new SE 2.0T. Pricing for the base S begins at $31,890 while the new SE will be priced from $35,090, a $3,200 increase.
Meanwhile, the SE V6 can't be had for less than $36,490. Adding a V6 engine essentially costs an extra $1,400. What's particularly interesting about VW's decision to add the SE 2.0T trim is that earlier this year it eliminated every version of the 2.0T except for the base S. The likely reason at the time was to push owners to pay a bit more for the V6, but apparently, that didn't work out quite as planned.
A VW spokesperson, commenting on the decision reversal, stated that "The reason we want to offer these trims on the 4-cylinder is because we believe in this engine. The torque is equivalent to the V6 and is achieved at 1,600 rpms lower in the rev range. It is also slightly lighter, which leads to a slightly faster 0-60 mph time than the VR6 and it has better EPA fuel economy." Compared to the V6, the turbo four does achieve 3 mpg better in overall EPA-rated fuel economy and some even think it feels quicker than the V6. But, there is a downside.
VW is still not offering an AWD option for turbo four. It can tow only up to 2,000 pounds whereas the V6 can tug up to 5,000 pounds. Not everyone requires towing or AWD, and chances are Atlas customers will respond in kind to VW's new trim addition.