Test Drive Reviews Volkswagen 

2018 Volkswagen Atlas SEL Test Drive Review

Selling SUVs in the United States isn’t one of the most difficult things for an automaker to do. That’s completely apparent as you see all automakers jumping in on the action across the board and offering everything from a subcompact SUV to a seven passenger family hauler. However, Volkswagen has had trouble selling SUVs in the United States for as long as we can remember. For years, the automaker has been relying on the Volkswagen Touareg and the smaller Tiguan to cater to the SUV market in the United States. Well, sales have been extremely lackluster and Volkswagen is now hoping to turn things around with a seven-passenger crossover.

Known as the Volkswagen Atlas, this seven-passenger crossover is hoping to take on the competition with ample legroom for passengers in all rows, a long list of standard features, and an attractive price tag. Let’s take a closer look at the all-new 2018 Volkswagen Atlas.


The new 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is based on the CrossBlue concept vehicle that was first seen in 2013. Building on the new design language for the brand, the Volkswagen Atlas goes for a more bold and modern design language. The striking front-end is highlighted by a large grille and boxy shaped headlamps.

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas sits on a wheelbase that measures 117.3 inches long, providing for a total length of 198.3 inches. The width of the Atlas comes in at 78.3 inches and the overall height comes in at 70 inches.

When compared to its rivals, the Volkswagen Atlas goes for a more muscular and boxy design rather than a rounded shape – however, that styling pays dividends on the inside.


Yes, the exterior of the Atlas is boxy, but that provides for a very spacious interior cabin. Building on the successful legroom of the Volkswagen Passat, the Volkswagen Atlas makes sure that each passenger in each row has all the legroom they need.

Front row passengers get a total of 41.5 inches of legroom while second-row passengers get to enjoy a total of 37.6 inches. The third-row passengers, which usually end up paying the price, get an outstanding 33.7 inches of legroom. Cargo volume behind the third row comes in at a whopping 20.6 cubic feet and 96.8 cubic feet with the second and third rows out of the way.

Tech-wise, the Volkswagen MIB II infotainment system is standard across the full lineup. The infotainment is housed in a new 6.5-inch capacitive touchscreen display on the Atlas S model. The Atlas SE, SEL and SEL Premium get larger glass-covered 8.0-inch touchscreen display. The infotainment system adds a range of standard tech options including AUX-in/SD card/USB multimedia connectivity, Bluetooth, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Optionally you can add on tri-zone climates control, heated seats, and a 480-watt Fender audio system. One of our favorite optional features is the 12.3-inch instrument cluster display. Taking a page right out of Audi’s book, the screen displays information right in front of the driver in high-resolution.

Overall, the interior of the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is a great place to be. With a long list of standard features and a spacious cabin, the Atlas has a lot to offer over its competitors.


The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is available with two engine choices including a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo and a 3.6-liter V6 engine. Our test model, the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas SEL V6 AWD is powered by the 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 276 horsepower and a peak torque of 266 lb-ft. The engine is coupled to an eight-speed automatic transmission that allows the Atlas to go from 0 to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds with a top speed of 116 mph.

The overall ride quality of the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is extremely smooth and comfortable. Of course, we’re not expecting some high-performance figures here, but as a daily driver, the Atlas definitely delivers a great ride.

Fuel economy for the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas with a V6 engine and AWD setup is rated at an EPA-estimated 17/23 mpg* (city/highway).


Along with the long list of standard safety features, the Volkswagen Atlas can be optionally equipped with a range of driver assist technologies. Depending on the model and trim level you pick, the Atlas can be had with blind spot monitoring, park assist, lane keep assist, rear traffic alert, front assist, park pilot adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree camera view, and much more.


While Volkswagen hasn’t had much success in the SUV segment in the United States, that may change with the new seven-passenger Atlas. The German automaker is definitely making a strong case with a long list of standard features and a spacious cabin. Prices for the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas start at $30,500** for the base S model and can go all the way up to $48,490** for the SEL Premium with 4MOTION. If you’re in the market for a seven-passenger crossover, make sure you visit your local AutoNation-affiliated dealer and test drive the new Atlas today.

*Based on EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.

**MSRP excluding tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

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