Volkswagen Atlas

#1 in Midsize SUVs Overall Score: 8.7 / 10
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$30,500 - $48,490

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Overview

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas ranks 1 out of 19 Midsize SUVs.

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is a brand-new model and VW's largest vehicle and first 3-row midsize SUV. With a long list of standard and available features and an abundance of cargo and passenger space, the Atlas is a top contender in this crowded class.

SEATING


7

MPG


17-18

  CITY


23-25

  HWY

DRIVETRAIN


AWD, FWD

HP


235-276
See full 2018 Volkswagen Atlas specs ยป

Pros & Cons

  • Spacious seating – even in the third row
  • Large cargo area
  • Drives smaller than it is 
  • Bland interior
  • V6 sometimes struggles for power

Notable for 2018

  • All-new model

Volkswagen Atlas Rankings and Research

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas ranking is based on its score within the Midsize SUVs category. Currently the Volkswagen Atlas has a score of 8.7 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 10 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

Scorecard

Overall: 8.7
Critics' Rating: 8.7
Performance: 8.1
Interior: 8.9
Safety: N/A
Reliability: N/A

Rankings

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Pictures

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Review

By Alexa Lardieri June 23, 2017

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is a brand-new model and VW's largest vehicle and first 3-row midsize SUV. With a long list of standard and available features and an abundance of cargo and passenger space, the Atlas is a top contender in this crowded class.

Is the Volkswagen Atlas a Good SUV?

The 2018 Atlas is a good SUV with plenty of room for family, friends, the dog, and cargo. The interior is spacious, and the seats are comfortable and supportive. The infotainment system is easy to use and there are numerous connectivity features for your smartphone. Despite the Atlas' large size, it handles like a smaller vehicle, and the available all-wheel drive is helpful in inclement weather. The V6 engine, however, sometimes struggles for power.

Should I Buy the Volkswagen Atlas?

If you're expecting to be part of the car pool or plan to take long trips with friends or family, you should consider the Atlas. It may have an above-class-average starting price of $33,500, but it comes with a generous list of standard features, including voice recognition, a panoramic sunroof, and smartphone integration. The available features list is even longer and includes navigation and forward collision monitoring.

We Did the Research for You: 9 Reviews Analyzed

We researched and analyzed 9 professional reviews and combined that analysis with information like EPA estimates, performance specs, available safety features, and much more to create one comprehensive 2018 Volkswagen Atlas review.

Why You Can Trust Us

We've been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs for a decade, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. We use that knowledge to craft expert reviews that answer your most pressing car-buying questions. To ensure our objectivity, our editorial staff does not accept expensive gifts or trips from automakers, and all of the advertising on our site is handled by a third party.

How Much Does the Volkswagen Atlas Cost?

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas starts at $33,500, which is above average among its midsize SUV rivals. For that price, however, you get a generous list of standard features. All-wheel-drive models start at $36,790, and the top-of-the-line SEL Premium trim starts at $48,490. For a closer look at each trim and its standard and optional features, check out the “Which Volkswagen Atlas Model Is Right for Me?” section below.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Volkswagen dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Volkswagen deals page.

Volkswagen Atlas Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Volkswagen Atlas or Audi Q7?

The Audi Q7 is a luxury midsize SUV and costs significantly more than the Atlas. It starts at $49,000, which is $15,500 more than the Atlas. Though the Q7 also seats seven, its third row is small and only suitable for children, unlike the Atlas', which is spacious enough for two adults. Its cargo area is also smaller than the Atlas', maxing out at only 71.6 cubic feet, compared to the Atlas' maximum of 96.8 cubic feet. The Q7's interior, however, is more luxurious than the Atlas' and features top-notch materials, whereas the Atlas has some hard plastics. The Q7's V6 engine is also more powerful than the Atlas' V6. Both SUVs have adept handling and drive like smaller vehicles despite their large size. If you can forgo the luxury trimmings, the Atlas provides more room and a similar ride at a much lower price.

Which Is Better: Volkswagen Atlas or Honda Pilot?

The Honda Pilot starts at $30,595 and seats eight. Like the Atlas, it has a large cargo area and a spacious third row with enough room to fit adults. Its seats are comfortable and its cabin is full of high-end materials that you'd expect in a more expensive SUV. The Pilot’s engine produces 4 more horsepower than the Atlas' and has plenty of power to get the SUV up to highway and passing speeds. Much like the Atlas, the Pilot also drives like a smaller vehicle, maneuvering well around turns and on winding roads. However, the Pilot's infotainment system falls short of the Atlas'. The lack of physical knobs and buttons is frustrating and the touch screen can be unresponsive. Additionally, while the Pilot is less expensive, it comes with a shorter list of standard features. You'll need to upgrade your Pilot to get many of the features that come standard in the Atlas. Both the Pilot and Atlas are very good midsize SUVs, but the edge goes to the Pilot.

Which Is Better: Volkswagen Atlas or Volkswagen Tiguan?

The Volkswagen Tiguan is a compact SUV that starts at $24,995 – about $8,500 less than the Atlas. The Tiguan seats five but has much less cargo space than the Atlas. It has a handsome design with a more upscale interior than the Atlas. The Tiguan also has comfortable and secure handling with available all-wheel drive. Its turbocharged 2.0-liter engine is strong, but it returns poor fuel economy for its class. It also requires premium fuel, unlike the Atlas. Additionally, the Tiguan has few active safety features, below-average safety ratings for its class, and, though it's less expensive than the Atlas, it's pricey for a compact SUV. If you can afford it, you're better off with the Atlas.

Compare the Atlas, Pilot, and Tiguan »

Atlas Interior

How Many People Does the Atlas Seat?

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas seats seven on cloth upholstery. Standard features include 60/40 split-folding second-row seats and 50/50 split-folding third-row seats.

Available features include heated and ventilated front seats, leatherette and leather upholstery, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat with memory settings, an eight-way power-adjustable passenger seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a heated steering wheel, and heated rear seats.

All the seats in the Atlas are comfortable and supportive. The Atlas also has plenty of head- and legroom in every row – even in its third row. Rivals may brag about first- and second-row leg- and headroom, but the Atlas can brag about third-row space as well. It is spacious enough to fit two adults, and thanks to the tilting and sliding second-row seats, it's easy to access. The second-row seats also tilt forward, providing a generous amount of space for passengers.

Atlas and Car Seats

Up to three car seats can fit in the second row of the Atlas, and two can fit in the rear seat. The Atlas' LATCH systems have not yet been evaluated by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety for their ease of use.

Atlas Interior Quality

The Atlas has a simple interior design with plenty of soft-touch materials. Though some hard plastics are used, they're not prominent and don't make the cabin look cheap. Wood and metal accents give the cabin a little style. The smaller Volkswagen Tiguan has an upscale interior with no hard plastics and a handsome design.

Atlas Cargo Space

The Atlas has 20.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind its third-row seats. This expands to 55.5 cubic feet when the third row is folded and 96.8 cubic feet when the second and third rows are folded. This is much more than the Audi Q7's 14.8, 37.5, and 71.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind its third, second, and first rows, respectively. Standard 60/40 split-folding second-row seats and a 50/50 split-folding third row increase cargo-carrying flexibility, and an available hands-free power liftgate makes loading the Atlas a breeze.

Atlas Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The 2018 Atlas comes standard with a panoramic sunroof, Bluetooth, a USB port, satellite radio, a six-speaker sound system, an 8-inch touch screen, voice recognition, and Volkswagen Car-Net App-Connect. This lets you integrate your smartphone into the Atlas' infotainment system through Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink.

Available features include a proximity key, push-button start, four USB ports, an eight-speaker sound system, tri-zone climate control, a remote power liftgate, remote start, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster (Volkswagen's Digital Cockpit), LED taillights, a Fender premium audio system with 12 speakers, and navigation with traffic and weather updates.

The Atlas' touch screen is responsive and has crisp graphics. There are many menus, but they're organized and easy to navigate once you familiarize yourself with the system. Physical knobs and buttons control climate and some infotainment functions. The top-of-the-line model features a 12.3-inch digital cockpit that is fully customizable to display a variety of information directly in front of the driver.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

Atlas Performance

Atlas Engine: Good Most of the Time

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas comes with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that makes 276 horsepower. The engine is adequate for this hefty SUV in most everyday situations. The V6 is paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission, which shifts smoothly. For more power, the Audi Q7's V6 has plenty of punch and immediate acceleration.

Atlas Gas Mileage

Fuel estimates are not yet available for the Atlas. Unlike many Volkswagen SUVs, the Atlas does not require premium gasoline. The Honda Pilot gets an EPA-estimated 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, which is about average for the midsize SUV class. The Volkswagen Tiguan, a comparable compact SUV, gets 20 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway, which is below average for its class.

Atlas Ride and Handling: Drives Smaller Than It Is

Front-wheel drive is standard in the Atlas, and Volkswagen's 4Motion all-wheel-drive system is available. It includes four different driving modes: Dry, Rainy, Snowy, and Rough. Steering is light, but improves when the Atlas is put in Sport mode (which can be selected when in Dry mode). Despite its large size, the Atlas has little body lean around turns and feels like a smaller vehicle. It rides over bumps and dips in the road with little disturbance and feels relatively stable in inclement weather.

Atlas Towing Capacity

The Atlas has a maximum tow rating of 5,000 pounds. With this capacity, you can tow a fully loaded 6-by-12-foot U-Haul or a 20-foot powerboat.

Read more about performance »

Atlas Reliability

Is the Volkswagen Atlas Reliable?

J.D. Power and Associates hasn't rated the 2018 Atlas for reliability yet. Volkswagen has a track record for building vehicles with average reliability ratings.

Volkswagen Atlas Warranty

Volkswagen covers the 2018 Atlas with one of the longest bumper-to-bumper warranties you can get, at six years or 72,000 miles. Volkswagen only covers the Tiguan with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Honda offers the same terms on the Pilot. The Audi Q7 has a four-year/50,000-mile warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Atlas Safety

Atlas Crash Test Results

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas has not yet been tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The Audi Q7 receives the IIHS' top score of Good in every crashworthiness category and is a 2017 Top Safety Pick.

Atlas Safety Features

The Atlas comes standard with automatic post-collision braking and a rearview camera. Available advanced safety features include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, forward collision monitoring with automatic braking, lane departure warning, and front and rear park assist.

Read more about safety »

Which Volkswagen Atlas Model Is Right for Me?

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas comes in five trims: Launch Edition, SE, SE with Technology, SEL, and SEL Premium. A sixth model, the Atlas S, will be available later this year. The SE with Technology trim comes with the best mix of technology, convenience, and safety features, including Apple CarPlay, forward collision monitoring, tri-zone climate control, and a remote power liftgate.

Volkswagen Atlas Launch Edition

The base Atlas Launch Edition starts at $33,500. It comes with a 3.6-liter V6 engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Standard features include a panoramic sunroof, cloth upholstery, a 60/40 split-folding second row, a 50/50 split-folding third row, Bluetooth, automatic post-collision braking, a rearview camera, a USB port, satellite radio, a six-speaker sound system, an 8-inch touch screen, and voice recognition. It also comes with Volkswagen Car-Net App-Connect, which lets you integrate your smartphone with the Atlas' infotainment system through Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink. The Launch Edition is available with 4Motion all-wheel drive for $1,800.

Volkswagen Atlas SE

The SE trim starts at $34,990 ($36,790 with 4Motion all-wheel drive). It comes with base features and adds heated front seats, keyless entry, push-button start, leatherette upholstery, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, four USB ports, an eight-speaker sound system, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

Volkswagen Atlas SE with Technology

The SE with Technology trim starts at $37,090 ($38,890 with 4Motion all-wheel drive). It comes with lower trim features and adds tri-zone climate control, a remote power liftgate, adaptive cruise control, remote start, forward collision monitoring with automatic braking, and lane departure warning.

Volkswagen Atlas SEL

The SEL trim starts at $40,890 ($42,690 with 4Motion all-wheel drive). It comes with lower trim features and adds an eight-way power-adjustable passenger seat, driver's seat memory settings, and front and rear park assist.

Volkswagen Atlas SEL Premium

The top-of-the-line SEL Premium trim starts at $48,490 and comes standard with 4Motion all-wheel drive and features found in the lower trims. It adds a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster (Volkswagen's Digital Cockpit), LED taillights, leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, automatic high beams, park assist, a 360-degree camera, a Fender premium audio system with 12 speakers, and navigation with traffic and weather updates.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Volkswagen dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Volkswagen deals page.

See 2018 Volkswagen Atlas specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is a strong contender in a competitive class. It offers plenty of space for passengers and cargo, a generous list of standard and available features, and excellent handling. The infotainment system comes standard with advanced smartphone integration capabilities and is easy to use. However, the Atlas' cabin features some hard plastics, and the V6 engine can feel underpowered at times.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas is no doubt a bold move for the automaker but one that will most likely pay off in dividends. It's smartly packaged, handles well, offers family-friendly features, and is priced in the heart of the segment. Other midsize crossovers should not rest on their laurels as this segment rookie is not looking for a one-and-done career." -- New York Daily News
  • "The Atlas struts into dealerships this June, fully capable of shouldering the responsibility of transporting families and all their stuff as well as a big chunk of VW's future in America. Like its namesake, this VW is strong enough to handle heavy lifting." -- Car and Driver
  • "A roomy SUV with VW pricing is something Volkswagen has needed for a long time, and the Atlas ticks all the right boxes and more. With a starting price in the low $30,000 range, it seems too good to be true for those used to car-based German station wagons and jacked-up hatches (we're looking at you, Mercedes GLA-Class) at twice this price. The knee-jerk reaction some will have is, 'Where's my twin-turbo V8 and napa leather interior?' Answer: At the Porsche dealership where it belongs. We've yet to experience the Atlas in all weather and road conditions, from twisty back roads to miles and miles of sun-baked interstates. But this SUV already feels like one of the most promising Volkswagens in years." -- Autoweek
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