2018 Volkswagen Atlas Interior Review

Scorecard

Interior: 8.8

The 2018 Volkswagen Atlas' interior has soft-touch materials but isn't completely free of hard plastics. However, there are woodlike accents that dress up the Atlas' minimalistic design. The seats are comfortable and spacious all-around, and the infotainment system is easy to use.

  • Where a GTI is dripping with personality, the Atlas just isn't. Our test car's interior was a sea of black plastic and vinyl with Volkswagen's trademark no-nonsense interior design. The primary ergonomics are excellent, the touch points (steering wheel, armrests) are padded, and the seats themselves are all-day comfortable, but many trim pieces use hard, ungrained, cheap-feeling plastic." -- Motor Trend
  • The cabin is the hub of any midsize SUV, and VW's Atlas uses the same simple, elegant styling that you would expect if you're familiar with Volkswagen's current model lineup. There are attractive flourishes, such as metal- and wood-like accents, and pleasant soft-touch materials up top, but with harder plastics below." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • But for all its positives, the Volkswagen Atlas is not perfect. Similar to its exterior, the interior design is equally unimpressive. Dressed in all black, our test model's saving grace was a smattering of silver accents and a wood-grain dash insert. Opting for a lighter interior tone will literally improve liveliness." -- New York Daily News

Seating

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, an eight-way power-adjustable passenger seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, driver's seat memory settings, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel.

There is plenty of head- and legroom no matter where you sit in the Atlas, and the third-row seats are comfortable, even for adults. The second-row seats slide backward and forward to increase legroom and allow for easy access to the third row. The seats also tilt forward, even when a car seat is installed. Additionally, all seats are supportive and comfortable.

The Atlas has three full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors in the second-row seats and two upper-tether anchors in the third row.

  • "While many vehicles in this segment have third rows that are useful for only the smallest children, but this is not the case here. We're happy to report that even adjusting the front and second rows for a near-six-foot frame, the third seat offers plenty of head, leg and shoulder room for an average adult to get plenty comfortable. Should the third row not be needed, it folds down to increase luggage space and allows the second row to slide rearwards, giving almost limousine-like legroom." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Volkswagen likes to call the Atlas 'family-sized,' but that term has more truth to it than most marketing speak does. The Atlas distinguishes itself from the rest of the class with a large, versatile seating area." -- Cars.com
  • "And it's huge by VW standards. The Atlas is 9.5 inches longer than the Touareg, and its rear seat does something few of its competitors do: It fits full-size adult human beings. This isn't a seven-seater just on paper, and accessing the rearmost two seats is fairly easy, thanks to a middle row that slides and tilts forward." -- Motor Trend

Interior Features

Standard features include Bluetooth, automatic post-collision braking, a rearview camera, a USB port, satellite radio, a six-speaker sound system, a 6.5-inch touch screen, and Volkswagen's Car-Net App-Connect with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink.

Available features include keyless entry, push-button start, a panoramic sunroof, an 8-inch touch screen, four USB ports, an eight-speaker sound system, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, tri-zone climate control, a remote power liftgate, adaptive cruise control, remote start, forward collision monitoring with automatic braking, lane departure warning, front and rear park assist, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster (Volkswagen's Digital Cockpit), LED taillights, automatic high beams, park assist, a 360-degree camera, a Fender Premium audio system with 12 speakers, and navigation with traffic and weather updates.

The infotainment system is easy to use with well-organized and intuitive menus. The touch screen is responsive and reacts to smartphonelike gestures such as swiping and pinch-to-zoom. Knobs and buttons control climate and other infotainment functions, and a 12.3-inch digital cockpit displays information such as speed, radio stations, and navigation directly in front of the driver.

See 2018 Volkswagen Atlas specs »

  • … the available 8-inch infotainment touchscreen is sleek and provides clear readouts but its flat glass surface is easy to smudge. And with no haptic feedback when selecting menu items, frustrated fingers will only fumble about while driving. Thankfully, when equipped with Volkswagen's digital cockpit, all the touchscreen information can be transferred to directly in front of the driver with all settings adjustable using the multi-function steering wheel." -- New York Daily News
  • And there's the digital cockpit, only offered in the topline SEL Premium model, which replaces the standard gauge cluster. This all-digital 12.3-inch display lets you customize your display and provides excellent visibility. It can also be part of an expansive customization based on the driver. It's far beyond the typical driver memory seat idea: here, it includes what radio station presets each driver prefers, climate control settings, navigation view, how you have the digital cockpit set up and what drive mode you like. According to VW, there are over 100 different items that can be set up for up to four drivers. We wish the Atlas had a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel instead of the manual setup, as it would be nice to add that to the list of customizable parameters." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Also standard on the Atlas SEL Premium is a 12-speaker Fender Premium Audio system rated at 480 watts and equipped with a 12-channel amplifier. We've been impressed with Fender audio systems in past Volkswagens and the Atlas' is perhaps the best effort yet." -- Automobile Magazine

Cargo

The Atlas has 20.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third of row seats, 55.5 cubic feet with the third row folded, and 96.8 with the both rows folded. This is more space than most rivals have. Standard 60/40 split-folding second-row seats and 50/50 split-folding third-row seats increase cargo-carrying versatility. A hands-free power liftgate is available and 17 cup holders ensure there's room for everyone's coffee, soda, juice box, and water.

  • "With butts in all the seats, the Atlas has 21 cubic feet of cargo space, while most competitors are in the teens." -- Car and Driver
  • "On the inside, the Atlas offers nothing but space. Plenty and plenty of space. With a footprint similar to the Ford Explorer, the Atlas offers a whopping 96.8 cubic-feet of capacity when the second- and third-row benches are folded flat. The Explorer has only 81.7 cubic-feet of total rear cargo, and low 80s was the segment highpoint until, well, the Atlas showed up." -- New York Daily News
  • The cargo area is spacious, and a power tailgate is available, but the third row is manual-fold only." -- Kelley Blue Book

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