The much-anticipated full reveal of the all-new and largest vehicle in its lineup 2018 VW Atlas marks a possible change in the tide for the beleaguered German automaker.
Unveiled at the end of California’s iconic Santa Monica Pier in late October, the 7-passenger midsize luxury SUV will be built in America at the company’s Chattanooga, Tennessee, assembly plant. It will be assembled alongside the midsize VW Passat family sedan.
“This is the biggest and boldest Volkswagen we have ever built in the United States,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, CEO of the company’s North America region. “The Atlas marks a brand new journey for Volkswagen to enter the heart of the American market.”
Much seems to be riding on turning public sentiment toward the company in the United States following the diesel emissions scandal in September 2015 when the company admitted it deliberately cheated. In a record $14.7 billion settlement that was finally approved for the 475,000 2.0-liter VW and Audi diesel vehicle owners in the US, owners can either have VW buy back their vehicles or have them modified and receive additional compensation from the company.
Aptly, VW named their new Atlas SUV after the mythical Greek god who held up the sky.
As for the Atlas revealed in Santa Monica, here are some specifics about the all-new Volkswagen SUV:
- 3 inches in length, 77.9 inches in width, 69.6 inches in height
- Engineered from VW’s Modular-Transverse-Matrix (MQB) architecture
- Larger than any other vehicle from VW for sale in the U.S.
- First VW 7-passenger SUV
- Standard front LED headlights and LED Daytime Running Lights, with optional LED taillights
- 7-passenger capacity in three rows
- Easily-accessible third row via innovative folding seat that works even with second-row child seats installed
- Simple driver-centric displays, optional VW Digital Cockpit allows driver to reconfigure how they view vehicle information
- Full suite of connected vehicle services (including standard App-Connect technology to integrate with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink available with the Volkswagen CarNet system
- Optional driver-assistance systems: adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking (Front Assist), blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert, lane departure warning (Lane Assist), and parking steering assistant (Park Assist)
- Optional Automatic Post-Collision Braking system
- Two powertrain choices: standard 238-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injection TSI 4-cylinder engine or optional 280-horsepower 3.6-liter VR6 engine
- Both engines mated to an 8-speed transmission
- Front-wheel drive or optional 4Motion all-wheel drive in VR6 trim
Volkswagen said that fuel economy estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency will be released in advance of the Atlas vehicle launch in the Spring of 2017.
Another point Volkswagen hopes families will find appealing about the Atlas is that the third-row seat accommodates adults. On VW’s website, James Burch, the product manager for the Atlas and Touareg SUVs says, “I’m 6-foot-7 and I fit comfortably in that seat; I would have no problem sitting back there for a drive across town.”