First Look: 2018 Volkswagen Atlas

First Look

After years of waiting and wondering, the 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is finally here. The Atlas is VW’s answer to the popular three-row SUV segment in the United States

What’s New

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is engineered on the company’s award-winning Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) structure and its exterior design is very bold and attractive. It is safe to say that you will not confuse the Atlas with any other seven-seater SUV on the road.

“This is the biggest and boldest Volkswagen we have ever built in the United States, delivering the distinctive design and craftsmanship we’re known for, now with room for seven,” said Hinrich J. Woebcken, CEO of the North American Region, Volkswagen.

Dimensions wise, the Atlas is the largest vehicle in VW’s North American model portfolio, measuring in at 198.3 inches long, 77.9 inches wide, and 69.6 inches high.

Up front, the Atlas features LED headlights and LED Daytime Running Lights. LED taillights are optional.


The base engine in the Atlas is a 2.0 L turbocharged and direct injected four-cylinder engine with 238 horsepower. The optional engine is a naturally-aspirated 3.6 L VR6 with 280 horsepower. Both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas models with the four-cylinder engine send power exclusively to the front wheels. Models equipped with the optional VR6 engine come standard with front-wheel drive or can be optioned with 4 Motion all-wheel drive. The 4 Motion includes a Drive Mode Selection system that allows the driver to select specific parameters based on driving conditions.

As of this writing, the EPA has not announced the fuel efficiency ratings.


Inside, the Atlas has enough space to seat seven people and fit their luggage.

Volkswagen officials claim the third-row seats are spacious enough to seat two adults. Occupants can access the third-row by an innovative folding seat design. This design works even when there are child seats installed in the second row.

The standard analogue gauges are well laid out and offer a simple, driver-centric display. For enhanced vehicle information and other configuration options, Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit display is also available.

The Atlas can also be optioned with Volkswagen’s Car-Net system which offers a full suite of connected vehicle services, including standard App-Connect technologies, which can be accessed via any smartphones with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink.

For people who like to listen to music while driving, the Atlas is also available with a Fender Premium Audio system, which includes 12 channels, a 480-watt amplifier, and 12 speakers.

Safety & Security

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is available with a host of optional driver assistance features. It includes Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), 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).

Post-Collision Braking

Currently, the Atlas is the only SUV in the segment to offer Autonomous Post-Collision Braking. The system is designed to reduce the possibility of having additional collisions after the initial contact. The Post-Collision Braking System works by applying the brakes when a primary collision is detected by airbag sensors. This reduces the residual kinetic energy from the collision and thus reduces the chances of additional damages.


The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas will be arriving at dealerships in the spring of 2017. The Atlas will be built alongside the Passat at the Volkswagen Chattanooga assembly plant in Tennessee.

Rahul Raman is the Founder of CARS 360 Mke, an automotive news outlet. He is a regular contributor to Automoblog and the author of our First Look series.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Gallery

Photos & Source: Volkswagen

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